As I mentioned in the last post, I recently spent an entire day testing cornbread recipes. If you live in the south, that's what you want to accompany your chili on Superbowl Sunday ( haha, we Southerners love us some cornbread!) Heck, even if you live in other parts of the country, it's what you should make to go along with your chili tomorrow.
The question is, what kind of cornbread should you make? Plain? Sweet? Cheesy? Cake-y? The possibilities are endless.
Here are several recipes for your perusal before the big game tomorrow. All three are a snap to make and come together in no time whatsover. One is fairly plain and delicious in its simplicity, while the other two are more dense and studded with cheeses and jalapenos. Any of them would be a terrific addition to your Superbowl spread alongside your chili. Even if you don't live in the South!
CASSEROLE CORN BREAD (adapted from Prudence Hilburn's "A Treasury of Southern Baking")
1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup sour cream
1 egg (I use extra-large)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Generously grease an 8-inch round cake pan that is at least 1 1/2-inches deep.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cornmeal and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir to mix then add the sour cream, egg and vegetable oil. Stir to combine. Batter will be thick.
Place prepared pan in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes, until it is hot. Remove from oven and turn dough into the pan. Use a spatula to spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes, then turn out of the pan. Serve warm with lots of salted butter.
* This is a lovely, cake-like bread which is light and delicious. If desired, you could add chopped red or green peppers, chopped scallions or chopped jalapenos to taste to the dough before baking.
* If you like a more pronounced cheese flavor, sprinkle the top with additional Parmigiano-Reggiano prior to baking.
* One of the secrets to baking cornbread is to preheat your pan before adding the batter and baking. We think it produces a better crust.
Fox Brothers Bar-B-Q is a well-loved institution here in Atlanta. Unfortunately for me, we only live about 5 minutes from the place. I can't pass it without a craving for their fried pickles (keep driving, Liz). In addition to their barbecue, they are also known for "The Tomminator" which is a mess of Tater Tots smothered in Brunswick stew and topped with lots of gooey melted cheese. Gotta love that, even if I would have to shoot myself if I ever indulged in it.
FOX BROTHERS BAR-B-Q JALAPENO CORN BREAD
3 cups self-rising corn meal (not corn meal mix)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 oz. (1 pkg.) cold cream cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup creamed corn
3 eggs (I use extra-large)
1/4 cup melted butter
Juice from one large orange
3 jalapenos, finely minced
Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch rectangular baking pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine corn meal, flour, sugar and salt. Add cream cheese and toss to distribute evenly, rubbing it in lightly with your fingers.
Place the prepared pan in the oven for 5 minutes to preheat.
In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, creamed corn, eggs, butter, orange juice and jalapenos. Pour this into the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Turn into the hot pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until lightly browned and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes. Turn out onto a baking rack and cool before cutting and serving.
Serves 10 - 12
* This is a denser, moister cornbread than the first recipe. I love the chunks of cream cheese that are scattered throughout!
* Oh, and a word about jalapenos. I remove the seeds and the ribs before mincing as they contain most of the heat. If you have a tougher palate, feel free to leave them in, but beware of the consequences!
Virginia Willis is a national treasure, as far as I am concerned. She's an expert in all things Southern, she's an amazing cook and cookbook author and she has a wonderful line of products which she sells through "My Southern Pantry." (Treat yourself to some of her pecan-smoked sea salt when it becomes available). When I came across her recipe for cornbread, I figured it would be a winner. Indeed it was.
JALAPENO, CHEDDAR AND BACON CORN BREAD (adapted from Virginia Willis' "Bon Apetit, Y'all")
1/4 lb. bacon, diced
1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
3 eggs, beaten (I used extra-large)
1 (15-oz.) can creamed corn
3 jalapenos, minced
1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
Place bacon in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook until bacon is crispy and fat is rendered. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon to paper towels to drain. Turn off heat and set pan aside.
In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and eggs. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring just to blend. Fold in the creamed corn, jalapenos and cheese. Stir in the melted butter and fold in the reserved bacon.
Place the reserved pan with the bacon drippings in the oven and heat for 3 to 5 minutes until hot. Remove from oven and pour in batter. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool then serve directly from pan.
* Virginia serves this with honey butter, but I think it's so good that it doesn't need any butter at all. Your choice.
* The addition of bacon to this was my idea and not a part of her original recipe. Feel free to omit it; instead grease the pan with butter. Nonetheless, I think everything is better with bacon!
* You could also use this batter to make muffins. I, however, love the idea of serving it from a cast-iron skillet. Just another one of those "southern-things," I suppose.
So there you have it. Whew, I'm done now. This may be my longest post EVER. Whether you like football or not, happy baking, have a great evening and don't forget to watch those Superbowl Commercials. Cheers!