Spoonbread Jalapeno Mac and Cheese

Over the holidays at a party I ate a mac and cheese that used crumbled cornbread as the breadcrumb topping. I was really thrown off at first, but as I ate it I loved the idea and was excited to play with the flavors when I got home. I thought of making a mac and cheese and then topping it with a cornbread batter that would cook and form sort of a mac pot pie, but in the end I decided to incorporate the cornbread right into the mac and cheese. I used a spoonbread recipe as the base so it would be moist and soft, and mixed in lots of pasta and cheese. It came out amazing! Way better than I expected! I will definitely be making this as a BBQ side in the future.
Cooked pasta, 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, and some cornmeal. Then you add buttermilk, butter, eggs, sour cream, cheese, and honey. Also chopped pickled jalapenos. Pour into baking dishes and bake at 350 for about 35 minutes. Top with scallions and more jalapeno. Then dig in! So good! Creamy, cheesy, and a perfect mash-up of mac and cheese and cornbread flavors. The scallions and jalapeno are also key to help cut through the heaviness of the dish.

Spoonbread Jalapeno Mac and Cheese

  • 2 cups Elbow Mac
  • 3/4 cups fine cornmeal
  • 1 stick Butter melted
  • 1 1/2 cups Buttermilk
  • 2 Eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar and jack cheeses
  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapenos
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • scallions and jalapenos for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Boil the pasta about 2 minutes less than the package says, in well salted water.
  3. In a large bowl, add the cornmeal. When the pasta has about 30 seconds left, take 1 cup of the boiling pasta water out of the pat and whisk it into the cornmeal. Add the pasta directly from the pot to the cornmeal mixture using a hand strainer. Mix well. Add the melted butter and stir to combine. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the buttermilk to the bowl and stir to combine. Add in the eggs and mix well. Stir in the sour cream, cheese, honey, and jalapenos.
  5. Lastly stir in the baking powder. Pour the pasta mixture into a large baking dish and bake for about 35 minutes until the center just slightly jiggles when you shake the pan.
  6. Top with the scallions and jalapenos and serve.