Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sweet Potato Spoon Bread with Goat Cheese

I crumbled more goat cheese on top. Thank goodness to for big bulk logs of this stuff!

I had no idea what spoon bread was until I made this dish. The cookbook is got the recipe from, didn't have pictures so I really had to guess. It was the ingredients that made me want to try this one out.

Apparently, red-fleshed sweet-potatoes are mistakenly referred to, and labeled as yams. I went to the store and bought what was labeled as "sweet potatoes" but really what I should've bought were yams. No biggie, because it still turned out delicious!

Heidi Swanson's recipe calls for goat cheese (which I love!) and that is what appealed to at first glance. I loooooove how the cheese gets all creamy when baked. The tanginess of the cheese and the sweetness of the potatoes are a perfect balance. The recipe calls for shallots, which I don't use very often. I don't know if it's just the nature of shallots or if the particular shallots I bought were really strong tasting, but I found they added almost a pungent bitter, acidic taste. I would definitely replace this with onions, or just reduce the number of shallots in the future.

Melty goat cheese = good! Not-quite-set middle section = not good...
Next time, I shall use a larger casserole dish so the spoon bread will be thinner.

I baked mine for about 35 minutes but found the middle to be not quite set. The sides of the dish were perfect, and the goat cheese had browned beautifully, though.

Yellow sweet potatoes tasted fine for this spoon bread but I can see why this recipe would call for red ones. Next time, I will ignore the supermarket labels and buy the right potato!

Sweet Potato Spoon Bread
Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson


3 medium - large red-fleshed sweet potatoes, baked (labeled as "yams")
1/3 cup unsalted butter (I used olive oil)
4 large shallots, sliced into thin rings
6 ounces fresh goat cheese
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used 1/4 cup cornmeal, and 1/2 cup spelt flour)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
I cup boiling water
3 large eggs, beaten
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (omitted)

Preheat oven to 350F, position a rack in the middle of the oven, and grease a 2 quart casserole dish.

Prick each sweet potato with a fork a few times, then wrap them in foil. Prick foiled potatoes, this time to let steam escape. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Cool until they can be handled, then use a big, wide spoon to scoop the flesh in to large bowl. Increase oven temp to 425F.

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat, then stir in the shallots. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are golden and the butter has browned, about 9 minutes.

Whisk or blend the goat cheese with a fork until fluffy and light; you may need to add 1 or 2 tbsp of water if the cheese is on the dry side. In a large bowl, combine the flour, onion powder, salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Add a splash of the boiling water and stir to make a paste. Continue adding water a bit at a time until it is all incorporated, and don't worry if the batter is a bit lumpy. Add the sweet potatoes and mash. Stir in the sauteed shallots and all of the butter in the pan, then stir in the eggs in sections.

Put two-thirds of the potato mixture in the prepared casserole dish, and top with dollops of the whipped goat cheese. Finish with dollops of the remaining sweet potato mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until goat cheese begins to colour and the potatoes have set.

Simple Spelt Bread - no wheat, no yeast!

I halved the recipe and baked it in a 9x5 pan, and it made a pretty flat loaf.

The availability of non-wheat flours has really improved over the years. I remember having a friend in high school who had a wheat allergy, and how she had to go to specialty stores just to get bread. Although I can easily buy wheat-free bread, the price is pretty steep. I don't know if making it yourself is that much cheaper but hey, at least it's fresh.

I like this recipe because there is no yeast, and you can use a more natural sweetener like molasses or honey, and best of all, it only calls for about a tablespoon for 2 loaves.

I do still long for wheat breads like baguette, foccacia, rolls, pizza dough and just plain ol' sandwich bread. Unfortunately, this spelt bread is nothing like any of them, but as long as I can't eat wheat, I don't really have a choice. I do however, think this bread tastes better than some of the stuff they sell in stores. I'm really glad I found this recipe by Jean Roberts.

Instead sesame seeds, I used millet, which you can see peeking out from the crack.

This loaf has a thick, hard crust, and the bread itself is quite dense. It was really hard for me to cut through but that seems to be the case with most wheat-free breads. I won't be able to use this bread to make sandwiches but I think I'll top it with stuff (pesto and chicken) and have it open-faced. Maybe sprinkle a little goat cheese on top and put it in the toaster? I'm curious to see how it would taste if I made french toast with it. Maybe the milk/egg mixture would soften the crust up a bit?

Super-thick, hard crust.

From Jean Roberts on All Recipes. (makes 2 loaves). I halved the recipe to make 1 loaf.


  • 8 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds (I used 1/4 millet)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 1/4 cups milk (I used 2 1/8 cups soy milk)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the spelt flour, sesame seeds, salt, molasses, baking soda and milk until well blended. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Placing a tin of the same size over the top of the loaf while baking gives it a lovely crust.