This morning, on our way to church, we discussed Thanksgiving side dishes–in our family, everyone gets to choose a favorite side. That way, you’re guaranteed to have a least one of your favorite things on the table, in addition to the turkey. The Girl chose stuffing, which was not a surprise, though she asked if I would make a double batch–such is the depth of her love. The Hubs chose green bean casserole. Again, not a surprise. (My recipe for a fresh version of your canned-soup-based favorite will be coming later this week.) The Boy pondered this question, then said “Could we try something new this year?”
“Of course,” I said. “I’m always up for trying new things. What would you like to try?”
“I’d like to try having pizza instead of turkey,” he said.
Once we established that the main dish was non-negotiable, The Boy relented and chose cauliflower.
“Roasted, with some garlic and parmesan and olive oil?” I said. “Or, like, baked with cheese sauce?”
Neither. Just plain, raw cauliflower.
So I’ll make sure there’s a tray of crudites on our Thanksgiving table, just for him. Later, though, when a fellow Sunday-school teacher asked me for new side-dish suggestions, I told her about my favorite Thanksgiving side: Corn Souffle. This recipe is based on a version my sister used to make every year, though of course it’s been customized, in typical Foodie fashion. My version includes a little more cheese than hers does–and the cheese is Monterrey jack, not cheddar. Also, my sister’s version didn’t include garlic or green chilies, and she didn’t separate the eggs or beat the egg whites before folding them into the batter. Her version was always delicious, but mine is a little less like a corn pudding and more like an actual souffle.
I always use a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix, which is slightly on the sweet side. If you have a favorite brand, or if you’d prefer to use your own cornbread recipe, that will work too–any recipe that results in an 8″ x 8″ square pan of cornbread will give you the right proportion of dry ingredients. Just leave the wet ingredients out and use the proportions listed below instead.
1/2 cup margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. chopped onion
8 1/2 oz. box of cornbread mix
3 eggs, separated
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies
1 can (17 oz.) whole kernel corn, or 2 cups frozen kernels, thawed
1 can (17 oz.) creamed corn
1 1/2 c. shredded Monterrey jack cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 2-quart souffle dish or casserole dish with non-stick spray and set aside. Melt the butter in a skillet, then add garlic and onions. Saute for 4 or 5 minutes, until the onions start to soften.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornbread mix, egg yolks, green chilies, whole corn, creamed corn, and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Blend well, then add the onion and garlic mixture. Set this bowl aside.
In another large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. (When you lift the beaters, peaks should form and hold their shape.) Gently fold the egg whites into the cornbread batter with a rubber spatula. Fold just until the egg whites are no longer visible. The batter will be lumpy, but that's okay.
Pour the batter into the prepared souffle or casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is browned and the center is firm, not jiggly. Cool 5 minutes before serving.