Updated: Mar 16
Living in the South it's practically a requirement that you like cornbread and biscuits. I think this is possibly an opinion subject for debate. My husband is not a southern boy, and I am still working on retraining his taste buds, but my boys are southern born.
Since we moved to the LowCountry, I have embraced the local food, and slow paced way of living. People are less formal here, which I love. It honestly reminds me of my childhood, when we had an unexpected guest or two pop by for dinner or lunch.
My oldest son asked once, "Mom, why are we having guests almost every day?" The answer is simple: I love to spend time in person vs the new normal virtual way of interacting. It is a joy to eat, drink and chat with visitors. I think life is too short to not share a common meal together. Isn't it?
OMG, there's so much excitement when I pull the skillet cornbread out of the oven. The aroma is incredibly inviting and beacons anyone who walks by the house to come and taste this exceptional cornbread.
Another love of mine is learning about local food directly from the locals because they tell a story or two about a dish, and how they prepare it in their family.
But I noticed that nowadays the younger generation; use the new convenient quick way of cooking (from a box, can, jar, etc.). I often hear something like this:
" My mom used the Jiffy Golden Yellow cake mix, etc."
Hearing about a person's mother or grandmother making a recipe purely from scratch and made with love, is almost completely lost in America.
But, everyone who knows me understands that taking short cuts and harming my health is not my thing. So today, I want to share with you my way of making cornbread from scratch.
This easy and quick recipe is a mixture of Northern and Southern style cornbread. Made truly from scratch and with love, this cornbread is very moist, soft, has a slightly grainy texture, with a crispy buttery crust. It's truly a hearty savory treat with a touch of sweetness.
Reasons Why You Should Make This Cornbread
Super easy to make, takes no time from start to finish.
Few staple ingredients needed
No mixer required
Excellent flavor, and this the only cornbread recipe you will ever need.
Can suit those on a gluten free diet
What's So Good About Cornbread In A Cast Iron Skillet?
When you pour the cornbread batter into a very hot skillet, you help to seal the cornbread and develop a nice crust. I love to use bacon grease or butter to create exceptional flavor.
Using a hot skillet sears the edges and caramelizes the crust creating pure deliciousness while preserving the softness in the center. So, yes, preheating your skillet is a must!
Skillet Cornbread With Different Flavors
Here are a few ideas for you to create even more intense flavor so that you won't get bored with this wonderful cornbread base.
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup of chopped scallions
1/2 cup goat cheese and 1/2 cup dried cranberries
1-2 finely chopped jalapeños, for lovers of heat
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
A few strips of crumbled bacon
1 Tablespoon dried or 3 Tablespoons of fresh herbs, such as rosemary or sage. This makes a wonderful Thanksgiving side dish!
A Little Conversation About The Ingredients
As I mentioned earlier, it's a pretty straightforward recipe that anyone can make without special skills or equipment. Only a few ingredients are required. Each ingredient has to be of good quality and if you are using bacon grease to prep your pan, please choose uncured with no additives.
What about the cornmeal, the star of the dish?
Corn unfortunately is a very controversial ingredient these days. As much as we love corn, especially fresh corn on a cob, I'm not letting my family eat any corn. Corn like soy produced in the US is 95% GMO, and that's a big red flag for me so I avoid it as much as possible. In my opinion, it is fine to occasionally eat only organic corn.
Regarding cornmeal, I prefer to make my own.
My husband gave me a mill for Christmas, this one, and I am obsessed with it. Freshly ground flour for my breads creates a very nice nutty aroma, and nothing can beat the freshness. The big plus is that my flour now contains no preservatives. I love to grind cornmeal from heirloom corn kernels for my polenta and I use them to make popcorn too. Grinding flour is easy and always fresh. If you aren't yet ready to grind your own, there are some organic cornmeal products on the market and here is one of my favorite brands.
Why do you want Stone Ground Corn vs regular corn grits?
Corn kernels (different from the sweet corn that we eat on a cob) are ground into a coarse meal between two stones. When metal grinders are used, for commercial brands, most nutrients like the hull and germ are removed, and the meal emerges fine-grained but without much flavor, plus lots of additives are put into the meal to prolong its shelf life. True stone-ground cornmeal retains some of the hull and germ. Its texture is coarser and gives a more real corn flavor to baked goods. It also is more perishable, and without preservatives it will get rancid quickly, so storing it in the refrigerator or freezer is a great idea.
Cornbread loves the freezer, so feel free to bake ahead of time and it will keep for up to 3 mounts. Making ahead is a great way to save time!
Let's do it...
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
Serves: 8 people
3 cups of stone ground cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour (gluten free if you like it)
1/4 cup of bacon grease or butter
1/3 cup of honey
3 cups of kefir (buttermilk or regular plain yogurt)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder (I recommend aluminum free)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Place into the oven a 12-inch cast iron skillet with bacon grease or butter for 10-15 minutes.
4. In another bowl whisk together all wet ingredients: eggs, honey and kefir.
5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing together with a spatula, but only until it's fully combined. If you prefer to add any extra ingredients to create different flavors, add those at this time.
6. Pour the cornbread batter into the hot skillet and place back into the hot oven for 30-35 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and let cool for just 5 minutes, and then flip the bread onto a cooling rack. Slice and enjoy, while it's still warm.
I hope you will give it a try soon!