Food

Carla Hall’s Southern Spoonbread

What are your family’s signature recipes? Celebrity chef Carla Hall swears by a classic spoonbread dressing (or stuffing). “The lightness of a spoonbread with the flavors of a dressing makes this dish perfect for the holidays. It’s a timesaver, too, since the baking dish goes right from the oven to the table,” she says. Here’s how to make it…

Spoonbread Dressing
From Carla Hall’s Soul Food

Oh. My. God. Did I just create the best dressing ever? (That’s ‘stuffing’ to you Northerners.) Why yes, yes, I did. You’re welcome. I got all the flavors of classic dressing — onion, celery, sage — and suspended them in a creamy one-pan cornbread. With this recipe, I’ve saved you the step of baking a whole loaf of cornbread just to crumble into a side dish. Anything I can do to make your home cooking easier and tastier, I’ll do. This just saved you a whole lotta time during the holidays and it’s gonna get you a whole lotta praise.

Recipe: Spoonbread Dressing
Serves 8-12

You’ll need:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 onion, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon salt-free poultry seasoning
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup fine yellow stone-ground cornmeal
1 can sweet corn niblets, drained
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350F. Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to generously grease a shallow 3-quart casserole, Dutch oven or baking dish. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just tender, about 4 minutes. Add the poultry seasoning and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Add the milk, sugar and 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Continuously whisk the mixture while you pour in the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream. Keep whisking while the mixture bubbles rapidly until the cornmeal has absorbed all the liquid and is thick and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the corn and baking powder. Cool, stirring often, until lukewarm. Don’t let the mixture clump.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until pale yellow and very foamy with no liquid remaining. Add one third of the beaten eggs to the cornmeal mixture and stir to loosen the cornmeal mixture. Add half of the remaining eggs and fold gently until incorporated, then repeat with the remaining eggs. Spread evenly in the prepared dish.

Bake until golden brown and set without any jiggling, about 25 minutes. When you press the top, it should spring back. Serve hot or warm.

Thank you so much, Carla! Your new cookbook is beautiful.

P.S. More delicious recipes, and what do you make for family dinners?

(From the book Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration by Carla Hall and Genevieve Ko. Copyright © 2018 by Carla Hall. Published on October 23, 2018 by HarperWave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission. Thanks to Franny Eremin for helping with this series.)

  1. Caroline Barnard says...

    Can anyone British explain what this is to me? Because it looks like… an omelette? :’D

  2. Candace says...

    What are the chances that I could just replace the can of corn with frozen corn? I never have canned corn in my pantry…

    • Franny Eremin says...

      I think you definitely could, Candace!

  3. neenz says...

    Is the ingredient list missing sage? when should it be incorporated? dry or sauteed? HALP.

    • Franny Eremin says...

      Hi Neenz! The sage flavor comes from the poultry seasoning. :) xo

  4. Marit says...

    As a German I have no idea what you eat with this (delicious looking) dish? Meat? Turkey? Salad? Please help me!
    Thank you!

  5. Kath says...

    Stuffing is cooked inside the bird, dressing is cooked outside. The end.

  6. jeannie says...

    Sounds delicious and so comforting. On my menu for Christmas!

  7. Erin G says...

    Hooray for a gluten-free dressing/stuffing! That is all.

  8. Andrea says...

    Carla Hall is a brave, brave woman for suggesting a change to anyone’s stuffing/dressing tradition! My Mom may well knife anyone who suggests replacing the One True Dressing with anything else.

    • I think this recipe is for the northerners among us, because you’re right…no self respecting southerner would entertain a new dressing! I won’t even eat dressing at someone else’s thanksgiving unless I bring along my own, made from my grandmommy’s recipe.

  9. Denise says...

    This does sound delicious but at first I was super confused thinking it was a salad dressing of some kind. HAHA. Thanks for clarifying it’s a stuffing for Northerners & PNWers as well! I’m going to make this to go with a stew this weekend. I have all the items on hand, when does that ever happen?

    • Andrea says...

      Dressing is for anything cooked outside of a bird. Stuffing is what is stuffed inside. My mom is a rebel and calls it dressing, even though she cooks it in a bird and lives in the PNW.

  10. kate says...

    I want to make this for dinner tonight and eat it straight out of the pan. (btw, I think there’s a little typo with the Kosher salt!)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you!

    • Kate says...

      I’m guessing the celery needs to be finely diced, not the salt ;)

  11. shannon says...

    Wow, we have most of the ingredients for this at home already! This reminds me of “corn casserole” which my aunt always made for family gatherings. I think I will make this and have some baked beans on the side. Two hearty side dishes = dinner to me!

    • Yes, we call it corn casserole in my Southern family.

    • raq says...

      also came here to call it corn casserole.. which is very different from the stuffing we make

    • Mary Beth says...

      Lifelong midwesterner here and yes it is corn casserole! This was a staple of childhood family meals. A spin-off on this involved a Jiffy cornbread mix, a stick of melted butter and 2 cans of corn, one creamed. Sometimes I really miss the 1970’s…

    • Rachel says...

      “Two hearty side dishes = dinner to me!”
      I wholeheartedly agree.

    • Danielle says...

      I took the midwestern corn casserole to Thanksgiving this year. It is always a hit! I joke that it’s great in a pinch because you can get all the ingredients at Target. My family made a slightly “fancier”version that had onions, sour cream and dill. My grandma called it Corn Souffle. Still uses Jiffy though!
      https://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/sweet-onion-corn-casserole-176255

    • shannon says...

      You nailed it!! I’m from Ohio ❤️

      Mary Beth, that sounds exactly like our family’s corn casserole. A whole stick of butter … no wonder it is delicious!

  12. j says...

    love carla hall! follow her on instagram — once you do you will see we need a week of outfits from this awesome lady

    • A Martin says...

      OMG YES!! I LOVE the way she dresses!

  13. Talor says...

    This both sounds and looks amazing. And pretty simple. I love that its made up of pantry/staple items so you don’t have to search for random ingredients to make it. Definitely going to try this!

  14. Christine Lee says...

    I’m already going through Thanksgiving dinner withdrawals. I will be making this!