Cornbread (or keep your skillet good and greasy)

1 Feb

We are having cornbread with supper tonight, a staple in our house. I can’t make cornbread without thinking of a friend’s description of his mother’s cornbread — “It could choke a horse.” This is not that kind of cornbread. I first came across this basic recipe when I was baking in a local restaurant, and have since tweaked it to meet our tastes (and pantry). Tonight it has some shoepeg corn and chipotle powder in it, to compliment the mojo chicken (baked in mojo criollo) and honey-spiced carrots. It’s moist and light and now even better than ever since I found the best cornmeal around.

There is a farm a county or two to the west that grows and grinds their own corn. At first I thought the really good cornbread was a fluke, but it’s not. It’s the cornmeal. Milk and Honey Farm sells locally (at the Cobblestone Market by Krankies in season) and at their farm. Check them out if you want some top notch cornbread, corncakes, corn muffins, polenta, you name it. While you’re there, get some of the Porto Rico sweet potatoes. You won’t believe a plain baked sweet potato could be so stinking good.

HoneyBea Farm Cornbread (adapted from Moosewood Cookbook)

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup honey
3 tbsp butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix buttermilk, egg and honey in another container. This is best baked in a cast iron skillet, so pull out a 9 or 10 incher and use it to melt your butter, swishing the butter around to grease the pan. Mix wet into dry and add butter last. Pour into pan and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes, depending on your oven.

You can add onions, peppers, sun dried tomatoes, corn, cheese, herbs, spices, and even some sausage crumbles. Just some ideas from our experience, but you go crazy!

On the off chance that you don’t stand around the stove eating the entire pan, it’s good in the morning with apple butter. If you get distracted and let it sit out overnight, cube it, toss with a little olive oil and herbs and bake up some killer soup croutons.

One satisfied customer

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5 Responses to “Cornbread (or keep your skillet good and greasy)”

  1. Katie February 2, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

    So cute!!!!

  2. Melanie February 9, 2012 at 12:10 am #

    Do you have tips for those of us who are cast iron skillet impaired? I have one, I think I season it properly, but every time I use it I end up with a burnt mess on the bottom. Should I be using shortening instead of vegetable oil?

    • tuckarella February 9, 2012 at 1:47 am #

      Never use soap on your cast iron, if you can do without. Rinse it under hot water, scrub with something like a Dobie if necessary, wipe it dry or dry it on a low burner, and re-oil until it has a good sheen. I just use olive oil. Coat it well with oil and bake it for a little while in the oven whenever it needs a boost. Of course, you could always just lard fry some chicken in it. A couple of batches of that and your pan should be good and slick. Not to mention your belly full and hubby happy.

      • Melanie February 20, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

        Mhmm, I took your suggestions and fried pork chops in it last night! My cast iron looks glorious today šŸ™‚

      • tuckarella March 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

        Mmmm…Pork chops…Fried pork chops…Mmm…

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