A Tried-and-True Recipe: Sweet Corn Spoonbread

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Sweet Corn Spoon Bread recipe by Tyler Vanderzee
Photo by James Stefiuk
Tyler Vanderzee of NanaSteak

By Tyler Vanderzee of NanaSteak

“Originally from Nebraska (the Cornhusker State), I have seen corn prepared many different ways. When I moved to North Carolina in 2008, I was introduced to southern spoonbread. Every time I had it though, it only seemed like a moister cornbread. After many tries, I came up with a recipe that was light and fluffy, more like a corn soufflé. In the summer, I like to get my corn from Brinkley Farms at the Durham Farmers’ Market. Take advantage of the season to stock up. You can easily clean the corn off the cob, saving the cob to make stock and freezing both for use over the rest of the year.”

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (corn stock is best)
2 Tbsp. rendered bacon fat (substitute butter if desired)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. fresh thyme, picked and chopped
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground pepper
2 cups polenta or Brinkley Farms grits (Available at Durham Farmers’ Market)
3 cups sweet corn, frozen or fresh
2 cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 eggs, separated
tsp. cream of tartar

Heat oven to 375 F. 

In a 4-quart pan, combine stock, fat, butter, thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper. Bring ingredients to a boil and add polenta slowly while constantly whisking. Reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes. 

Remove polenta from heat to cool while you combine the corn, milk, flour, egg yolks and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Mix polenta with corn and milk mixture then gently fold in whipped egg whites a third at a time. 

Place mixture in buttered 9×13 pan, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Spoonbread is ready when toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. 

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Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee is the assistant editor at Durham Magazine. Born and raised in Winston-Salem, she attended UNC-Chapel Hill and double majored in broadcast journalism and German. She enjoys good beer, ice cream and morning runs.

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