October 6, 2016

Fiesta Cornbread


This is an easy, one-dish meal using lots of homegrown ingredients. Just serve with a salad.

Fiesta Cornbread

For the cornbread

Preheat a 10" cast iron skillet at 425°F (220°C) with 1/4 cup of your favorite fat or oil.

Mix:
1.5 cup cornmeal (I used homegrown, home ground)
0.5 cup unbleached white flour (makes the cornbread less crumbly)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp chili powder
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk, yogurt, or kefir

Pour into hot skillet and bake till half done (about 10 minutes).

Recipe note: Baking cornbread in a preheated cast iron skillet is the Southern (best!) way of making cornbread. This technique makes a delicious cornbread with a crispy crust. If you use a regular baking pan, add the fat to the batter.

For the topping

Brown in another hot skillet:
handful of chopped onion
handful of chopped green pepper
ground meat (ours is usually chevon)
salt & pepper to taste

Have ready:
canned chili beans (can use any cooked dry bean. Leftovers are good here)
grated cheese
chopped fresh tomato

Remove half-baked cornbread from the oven. Top first with beans, then browned meat mixture, then the cheese, lastly the tomato. Finish baking (until inserted knife comes out clean).

Slice into wedges and serve immediately.

Recipe note: I like to preheat the beans before spooning them onto the cornbread batter. I find cold beans slows the baking of the top of the cornbread.

For those of you who would prefer precise amounts for the topping ingredients, I apologize. This is one of those recipes where you just use what you've got to taste. More or less of any topping ingredient is absolutely okay!

Fiesta Cornbread © Oct 2016 by Leigh 
at http://www.5acresandadream.com/

14 comments:

  1. Having come from Texas, I didn't know that people baked cornbread in anything BUT cast iron! I have crazy shaped pans, sticks, you name it. I don't get to use them much because my kids don't like cornbread! Sigh...

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    1. I grew up in the Midwest and I rarely remember having cornbread. If we did have it, it was a jiffy mix baked in an 8x8-inch square baking pan. It got served at school with chili, but it was waaaay too sweet.

      Dan really liked this recipe, but ordinarily he's not a huge fan of cornbread either, Of the grains we grow corn is the easiest to process, so it ought to be the bread we eat the most. He prefers wheat bread so I mostly make that, but if we were strictly living off our land, we'd eat less starches and more protein, fruits, and vegetables.

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  2. What type of grinder do you use to make your cornmeal? We harvested 5 gallons of blue and green colored corn [Green Oaxacan and Black Mexican] This recipe is going to be put in play for supper...thank you.

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    1. Fiona, I have two grain grinders. The one I usually use is my Wondermill (links go to my blog posts). It's electric so it's fast, plus it makes more of a corn flour than meal. The other is my manual back up grinder, the Country Living mill. It also makes excellent flour and meal. I would recommend both of them.

      I love the idea of colored corn for cornmeal! That would be truly festive.

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  3. We're not crazy about cornbread in our house, but this recipe is very tempting! (At first glance, I thought it was Strawberry Shortcake!) I've ground our Painted Mountain corn into corn meal (or flour) and it makes muffins, cornbread, etc. a little on the grayish side (:o/) but we like the flavor better than other ground corns.

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    1. All that red! I have to agree with you about corn flavor. Nothing beats homegrown no matter what the color.

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  4. That looks very yummy! Must get cast iron skillet!

    I've been baking bread for church using the no knead method. It calls for a cast iron dutch oven which I don't have. Instead I've been using my terra cotta flower pot turned into a mini oven (got the idea from Alton Brown for his prime rib recipe). It works nicely, but still keeping my eye out for the dutch oven at the thrift store.

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    1. That's a very good idea about the flower pot. I'll have to try that! (Although I do have a nice dutch oven. :)

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  5. Funny Leigh, my mom made cornbread the same way, from a Jiffy box. (Raised in Chicago) then we took a trip to Southern Indianna and my mom's sister showed me how to make cornbread the "HillBilly Way" (her words) in a cast iron pan. We coat it liberally with our pigs lard first for that crispy crust. I've never done the topping thing though. Looks great and I'm sure Keith will love it.

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    1. Lard! That would make an excellent crusty cornbread. I usually use bacon or sausage grease. The thing I like about this recipe is that it's flexible and makes a one-dish meal.

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  6. One of my favorite FAST meals on a cold winter day is chili (using canned beans) topped with homemade cornbread batter and put in the oven to bake. The cornbread will absorb some of the sauce from chili, so I add a little extra sauce to the chili than if I were not using cornbread. I'm not a fan of the "crust" everyone else likes on cornbread, so this suits me just fine. The top still browns nicely. And I only have a dutch oven and a mixing bowl to wash.

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    1. Cornbread topping! I really like that idea too. I especially like the one-dishness of these kinds of meals.

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  7. Never thought of adding something to cornbread halfway through baking. Saving your instructions to try when my hens start laying again. Thanks Leigh.

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    1. I used to put the topping on before baking, but I like it better this way. It ensures that the batter is all baked and makes for a gooier topping. :)

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