Friday, January 07, 2011

Out of the frying pan ...

... and into the stomach. I'm partial to cornbread, but have issues with what the little "Jiffy" boxes produce, fine when mixed into scalloped corn but otherwise a little like eating ground cardboard. And the bigger (and more expensive) mixes taste fine when prepared, but seem a little pricy for what you're getting.

And it's so easy to make your own, so why not? I think a skillet is the only appropriate place to bake cornbread, but others will differ. It helps here to have a good 10-inch cast iron skillet older than I am that has always has been carefully maintained. You can use an 8-inch baking dish if you must I'm told (I've never done it that way).

This is the recipe I use. It's too sweet for southern taste and too dense for others. But I like it. It also has the advantage of using only everyday ingredients. So you don't have to go out and buy a carton of buttermilk or sour cream, then some weeks later realize that you've let what you didn't use in the first place go to waste.

You can, if you like, add other stuff to it --- crumbled cooked bacon, browned chopped onion, even corn (but no extra liquid, please; its runny enough as is). Don't over-mix it either. The fewer strokes used to blend the ingredients the better.

4 tablespoons butter (or bacon drippings if you like)

cup and a half of cornmeal

half cup flour

one and a half teaspoons baking powder

teaspoon salt

half cup sugar

2 eggs

cup and a quarter of milk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put fat into skillet and skillet into oven to get good and hot (if you're using butter, keep an eye on it --- bubbly and a little browned but not overly brown). Do the same if you're using a baking dish.

2. Combine the dry ingrediets. Combine eggs and milk and whisk briefly. Stir milk-egg mixture into dry ingredients using only as many strokes as needed to combine.

3. Remove hot skillet from oven, pour batter into skillet and return to oven. Bake about 30 minutes. If you're insecure or unsure, stick a toothpick in after 30 minutes to test. And that's it.

If your skillet has been treated properly over the years, nothing will stick. Please remember that a cast iron skillet gets very hot in the oven and stays that way for a while. Don't try the oven business with any type of skillet other than old-fashioned cast iron (you won't like what happens if you do).

1 comment:

Ed said...

One ingredient I like to add is a chopped up jalapeƱo. Not too spicy but definitely a nice kick.