Cornbread for Fall. Why Not?

It doesn't get easier than iron skillet cornbread when searching for a starchy accompaniment to fall and winter's trademark soups and stews. Cafe Drake HRV's current version of the Southern dinner staple delivers a slight tang from the buttermilk underscored with a smokey hint of chilies and sweetness from onions. The recipe below will fill a 7 or 8" skillet and yield 4-6 servings and can easily be doubled.

Begin by adding 1/4 cup vegetable oil to an iron skillet and placing the pan in the oven while you pre-heat it to 425 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl combine: 1 cup self-rising cornmeal, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 t. chipotle chile powder and 1/4 cup grated onion. Stir a few times to mix all well but don't overwork the batter.

When the oven has heated to 425 degrees, carefully, with heavy oven mitts, remove the iron skillet and pour the oil into the cornmeal batter. Stir once or twice and immediately pour all back in to the skillet. Return quickly to the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Note: Although the cornbread is quite mild, you can achieve the same smokey flavor without any heat by subbing smoked paprika for the chipotle chile powder. You will however need to use self-rising cornmeal for this recipe; you can find it in the baking section of large, well-stocked supermarkets.


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