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Cafe Terra Cotta Corn and Pepper Spoonbread

This Southwestern version uses dried chiltepins, a tiny and fiery wild chile native to the area and traditionally used by tribes in southern Arizona. According to chef Donna Nordin, pequin or other small dried chiles such as chile japones, serrano seco or chile del arbol make acceptable substitutes.


  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried chiltepin
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish


  1. Bring water, salt, butter and white pepper to a simmer.
  2. Slowly add cornmeal and continue to simmer, stirring, until it is very thick and coats the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes.
  3. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Beat in remaining ingredients and pour into a greased 9 x 12-inch baking dish.
  5. Bake until set and browned, 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Garnish each serving with chopped cilantro.

Yield: 8 servings

Heat Scale: mild to medium

Source: Contemporary Southwest: The Cafe Terra Cotta Cookbook

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