Friday, March 12, 2010


Rachel here: In my book, corn bread is one of the great things to eat. Obviously it's not fancy, but it sure is delicious and, fresh from the oven, few things are quite as certain to put a smile on my face. I made the recipe I'm posting below for the first time this week to compliment my pork, black-eyed peas and greens (posted earlier in the week). It was insanely easy to prep and start to finish took me 30 minutes. It's pretty basic and definitely would lend itself well to variations (for instance, next time I think I might sprinkle a bit of demerara sugar on top or add some cheese and bacon to the dry mix). While it didn't blow my mind, it definitely hit the spot and, for its ease, the recipe gets a major thumbs up. Shock of shocks, I grabbed the recipe out of my go-to ("The Best Recipe" by Cooks Illustrated).

Golden Northern Cornbread
serves 9

1 c. yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 tspn. baking powder
1/2 tspn. baking soda
4 tspn. sugar
1/2 tspn. salt
2 large eggs
2/3 c. buttermilk
2/3 c. milk
2 T. unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing pan

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease a 9-inch metal pan (the recipe calls for a square pan, but I just used a pie plate and all was well). In a large bowl, whisk together the yellow cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Form a well in the middle of the bowl by pushing the dry ingredients to the side in a circle. Crack the eggs in the whole in the middle of your fry ingredients and stir them lightly (the recipe calls for the use of a wooden spoon but I just used a spatula and, again, everything turned out fine). Add the buttermilk and then the milk. Stir all of the wet ingredients and then mix everything in the bowl together until just combined. Add the melted butter and finish mixing. Pour the batter (it's a wet batter, just so you know) into your pan and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes on a wire rack before serving. Enjoy!

Janet here: Sadly, the family I cook for prefers its cornbread from the Jiffy box rather than something homemade. As son S said after I made the Barefoot Contessa's jalapeno cheddar cornbread, thinking I would be sitting through dinner listening to rave reviews, "Cornbread is not meant to be messed with." So there it is.

At any rate, I will tell you that this recipe is mighty tasty and the next time I'm having people over who have corn bread taste buds, I will mix up another batch of this and S will obviously not be among those sitting at the dinner table.

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
makes 12 large pieces

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted plus extra to grease the pan
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated, divided
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts plus extra for garnish (3 scallions)
3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers (2-3 peppers)

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs and butter. With a wooden spoon, stire the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don't overmix. Mix in two cups of the grated cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile heat the oven to 350 degrees. Greast a 9 X 13 X 2-inch baking pan. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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