Monday, November 22, 2010


So it comes to mind that for making the Thanksgiving dressing, you have to have a pan of cornbread.

I do apologize for the oversight, after receiving an email that inquired if it would work out well if one were to use storebought cornbread.

I am so, so sorry... I honestly did not realize that there was such a thing as store bought cornbread.

I genuinely had taken for granted the whole cornbread thing.

 It's like the biscuits... throw things into a bowl, then into the oven and voila... cornbread.

As I do understand that simply will not work, and lest folks have to use storebought cornbread, I took myself off to the kitchen to see if I could come up with a plan.

While I suspect that my homemade cornbread is slightly different every time, I did measure as I cooked, and the results were my 'usual' cornbread in taste and appearance, and that is the recipe that I'll share with you now.

Notes of importance for this southern cornbread:

~ Cornbread in these parts is NOT sweet... never, never, never does sugar or any sweetener go into cornbread.  If you want sweet cornbread, buy a jiffy mix and make it up, but for goodness sake, do not use sweet cornbread in cornbread dressing.

~ Again, much like my biscuits, I use self rising flour and corn meal.  And again, I'm rather picky.
I use the Southern Biscuit self rising flour (mainly because it's perfect for biscuits and I'm not gonna have several kinds sitting around).  And I use yellow self rising corn meal.... not cornmeal mix, not any kind of white meal... it bears repeating, .... yellow.... self rising corn meal.  I use Adluh brand, because it's made here in South Carolina.  For this holiday, I happen to have cornmeal ground at a stone mill... it's even better.

~ You're gonna bake this in an iron skillet.  An 8 inch skillet or a 9 inch skillet will work well.  A good, old fashioned, properly seasoned iron skillet. With any other pan, you'll not have the proper crust. Before mixing up the cornbread, you're gonna fire up the oven to 425 degrees and get that dry skillet nice and hot... and then, at the moment that you mix the buttermilk into the meal/flour mixture, you're gonna whip that skillet out of the hot oven, pour a good glug (couple or three tablespoons) of a good oil (olive, corn, vegetable) in and swirl it around to coat the pan.  Yes, it looks like a lot... you'll understand it, when the batter hits and sizzles.

~ I use full fat buttermilk... again, that's what I try to keep in the house.  I use, maybe, one half gallon a month.  The no fat version of buttermilk does not make for an excellent baking ingredient.  Nor does the low fat version.  The 'whole milk' buttermilk is very thick and rich and you need the richness for an excellent quality recipe.  This is not up for debate at my house.  If you choose to use the no fat version, you certainly still have cornbread, but it's fullness of flavor and texture are compromised.  This is not where I cut calories or fat.

~ Note that you can tinker with the proportions of meal to flour.  If I'm serving a very simple down to earth meal, I often opt to increase the cornmeal quotient and decrease the flour measure for a more tooth, crunchy, corny bread.  If served with a meal that I'd normally serve dinner rolls with and for whatever reason (likely that I did not start the yeast rolls raising in time) I decide to make corn bread, I up the flour portion and decrease the meal portion, for a more 'bread like' texture, with just a little of that nutty cornmeal crunch.

Last but not least, invest in learning to make the cornbread.  After a few go rounds, you'll not need the recipe... just pour and mix and toss it in the oven and then, for the rest of your life, you have the means to add comfort to soups and stews and simple vegetable plates in the form of cornbread perfection.

Printable version of the recipe:

Cornbread, plain and simple

(Ok, so it wasn't last... a note to my darling daughter... If I recall, I had to do the "measure as I make recipe" for you some time during your medical school days.  If I'm way off here in the proportions, please make a notation.  I'm hoping by now, you're just tossing things in bowls and skillets when you need cornbread.)
((oh, my... I've spoken with her and it seems that she's not making cornbread these days because her skillet made it's way 'home' with me at some juncture.  It makes me a very happy mama that she knows better than to make cornbread in anything else! ))

I'll be looking for that skillet now...

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