Whenever I think of good hybrids, the first thing that comes to mind are designer dogs, bred purely to fill the high standards of cuteness our society currently has. They are:
Goldendoodles (Golden Retriever + Poodle = ridiculously cute genius type)
Labradoodles (Labrador + Poodle = super friendly genius type)
Puggles (Beagle + Pug = the smallest pile of cuteness ever)
Maltipoos (Maltese + Poodle = super smart small animal)
My recent hybrid obsession isn’t dog related at all. Surprisingly, I know. It’s a food hybrid and it’s been around for a really long time, and is about as American as baseball and Bruce Springsteen. Word on the street is that it was actually served morning, day and night at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Home. Fancy. It’s called:
Spoon Bread (Grits + Cornbread = homey, comforting, awesomeness)
Since I love both grits and cornbread, it’s sort of an ideal dish for me. And because I would never dream of having grits without cheese, I thought it’d be a smart move to add cheddar and bit of chives for a punch of color and texture.
You start with pretty much making grits. Pouring your milk into your saucepan with few tablespoons of butter.
You bring it up to a boil; once it hits boiling you bring the flame down and whisk in your cornmeal, stirring constantly. It’s going to thicken and become pretty smooth.
That’s when you take it off the flame and add your baking powder and salt. I tempered my eggs just to be on the safe side and added them that way. I encourage you to do the same.
I then added some chives for pretty color. It’s the right thing to do.
And some cheddar. It’ll become all beautiful and cheesy.
Now, I’d suggest you to try the batter to see if the salt amount is alright and adjust accordingly. If I could do this again, I’d add a lot more cheddar. But it’s up to you. I just love cheese so there you have it.
Pour the batter into your casserole dish and spread it around evenly. Make it pretty. Then pop it in the oven for 30 minutes, checking on it every so often until it’s all golden brown and pouffy.
And then you’ll be met with the a super moist cornbread/grits mixture that will have this amazing brown, crusty top.
I see myself making this dish over and over, adding all sorts of things to it, or even taking away the chives and cheddar.
It’d be great for breakfast with a fried egg on top, or even as a main course with a side salad. Or as a side dish for Thanksgiving or a big Sunday dinner. The possibilities are endless for my new hybrid obsession.
Cheddar Chive Spoon Bread
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen Parties
I added the cheese and chives as a way to spice up an already great dish. So if for some reason you don’t want to add cheese or chives, or don’t have it on hand, then simply skip it. This spoon bread is amazing as is.
3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons of chives, chopped
Salted butter for accompaniment
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Great an 8 by 8 inch square pan with butter or cooking spray. Heat the milk and butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until the mixture begins to boil. Decrease the heat to medium-low and slowly sprinkle in the cornmeal, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens…a lot. About 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat; whisk in the baking powder and salt. Note: Since the mixture was hot, I was really timid to add the beaten eggs as is so I tempered them. To do so, add a bit of the cornmeal mixture to the bowl of your beaten eggs and whisk. This will bring the beaten eggs up in temperature. Then add them to the cornmeal mixture, whisking constantly.
Then fold in the cheddar cheese and chives. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, spreading it evenly with a spatula.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden and puffy. (The bread will deflate somewhat as soon as it comes out of the oven.) Cut into squares or just serve with a spoon. Serve with salted butter. Holy yum!
Side note: This dish is best eaten once it comes out of the oven. It’s life span isn’t long, but it’ll be gone in now time so all is okay.