I snaffled the black-eyed beans recipe from my local corner store when I lived in Sydney. Delicious as it is, it’s even better with warm golden spoon bread to soak up all the juices. This recipe for spoon bread comes from Sadie’s cousin, Annette, who lives in Golden, Colorado, hence the name (it also looks quite golden from the colour of the polenta and cheddar).
- 170 g (1 cup) polenta (cornmeal)
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 185 ml (¾ cup) milk
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 long green chilli, chopped
- 180 g (1½ cups) grated aged cheddar
- 50 g butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 4 corn cobs, kernels removed
- 100 ml pouring cream
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 400 g (2 cups) dried black-eyed beans, rinsed
- 1 bunch English spinach, stems discarded, leaves roughly chopped
- ½ lemon, juiced
- extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
I favour the real thing, but you can use 500 g canned creamed corn for the bread if you would like.
To make creamed corn, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until very soft. Add corn and cream, cover, then cook, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes or until very soft. Add nutmeg and season with salt (and some sugar if corn needs it). Remove from heat. If corn is starchy, give it a pulse in a food processor. Cool completely.
Preheat oven to 160°C. Combine polenta, bicarbonate of soda and ½ teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Stir in milk and oil, then fold in eggs, chilli and creamed corn. Scoop half the batter into a greased 2.5 litre casserole pan or baking dish, scatter with half the cheese, then top with remaining batter. Scatter over remaining cheese.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.
Meanwhile, to make black-eyed beans, rinse beans under cold running water, then transfer to a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes to par-cook. Drain, rinse, then return to pan with just enough water to cover. Bring to the boil over high heat. Add spinach, season with salt and pepper, then reduce heat to medium and cook for a further 10 minutes or until beans are tender (add more water if necessary).
Transfer beans to a serving bowl and drizzle with lemon juice and oil. Serve with warm spoon bread for mopping up the juices.
Photography Alan Benson. Food preparation Asher Gilding. Styling Michelle Crawford.
As seen in Feast magazine, April 2014, Issue 30.