Monday, February 1, 2010


Cornbread is a classic with many useful applications.  It's great for campouts, picnics, brunch, church chili cook-offs and watching the big game.  It can go sweet or savory and the basic batter seen below can take on additional ingredients (cheese, bacon, other veggies, blueberries, etc.).  Our latest tweak on this recipe occurred last Thanksgiving when, instead of cornbread stuffing, we added  sautéed celery, onions, garlic and additional seasonings you would find in cornbread stuffing and hit it with a little turkey gravy.  It was incredible!  It was everything we love about stuffing and nothing we don't.  Now dubbed as "stuff-out", we expect this to be a family tradition for years to come.   

3/4 c. unsalted butter
1/3 c. sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 c. milk
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. yellow cornmeal (preferably stone ground)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. canola or corn oil
1/2 c. frozen corn kernels, thawed

The Method:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare 10-inch cast iron skillet or glass baking dish by spraying lightly with canola oil.  Baking parchment paper may be cut-to-fit and laid down in the bottom of the dish, though this step is not necessary if you have a clean, well-seasoned surface on your cast iron.   

Add 1 Tbsp. of canola or corn oil to a sauté pan on medium heat.  Add thawed corn kernels to pan and add a few pinches of salt.  Sauté for 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside. 
Cream together butter and sugar in electric mixer.  Add the eggs, one at a time allowing a few seconds for each egg to be incorporated into the mix before adding next egg.  Decrease mixer speed and add milk and corn kernels.  In a separate bowl, add flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine.  Add dry ingredients to mixer and mix on low speed until incorporated but still somewhat lumpy (don't over-mix).

Pour batter into center of cast iron skillet.  Bake for 24-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Place skillet on a cooling rack and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.  Invert skillet and dump cornbread onto cooling rack.  If baking parchment paper was used, peel paper layer away.  Flip cornbread from cooling rack to cutting board and cut into wedges. 

Optional but recommended: Cut each wedge in half with bread knife or other serrated knife.  Place cornbread halves on grill, cut side down on direct high heat for 2-3 minutes.  Apply butter, honey, fruit spread or other favorite spread and enjoy.   

Food for Thought:
A little extra work makes a big difference.  Two additional steps here greatly improve the taste and texture of this cornbread: first, the addition of corn that has been sautéed and sweated to remove some of the moisture prior to adding to batter and second, finishing the cornbread on the grill.  It is wholesome crumbly, corny deliciousness. 

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