Cheddar Cornbread

Clearly the Game Day Chili needed an accompaniment.  Since the theme for today’s football food was TexMex cornbread was the natural choice.  I’ve not always been a fan of cornbread.  I used to think of it as dry and crumbly.  And mostly we had it with brown beans, which I despise.  In more recent years I’ve discovered some truly wonderful variations:  broccoli cornbread; bacon jalapeño cornbread; and cheddar cornbread.  Notice that I’m partial to savory cornbread.  I really don’t get cornbread with a bunch of sugar or cornbread served with maple syrup on it.  I don’t make it enough to be able to throw it together without a recipe so I started with Ina Garten’s Cheddar Dill Cornbread and left out the dill.

As far as I am concerned the only proper way to cook cornbread is in a screaming hot cast iron pan with butter or bacon fat melted in the bottom.  Heating the pan to 450 degrees while you heat the oven and then pouring the batter in is how you get the fantastic crusty bottom.  The butter makes it taste good.  Ina’s recipe doesn’t call for this, but trust me.  I also prefer more cornmeal and less flour so I changed the ratio to 1:1.  My other variation, other than leaving out the dill, was adding some sautéed onions.  I made one error though.  When I mixed up the batter it didn’t seem as loose as I’m used to so I added some more milk.  Maybe a little too much.  It didn’t hurt the flavor at all, but the texture was a little heavier than I planned.  I’ve adjusted the amount below to where I think it should be.  I probably used 1 1/2 cups. Next time I might not add cheese to the top either.  I know it sounds ridiculous to suggest that there could ever be too much cheese, but I don’t think the extra cheese was necessary and it added to the heaviness.  Just a thought.

One note about mixing the wet ingredients.  The melted butter may be pretty hot.  Either set it aside to cool a little or add the milk to it before you add the eggs.  If you add the beaten eggs to the hot butter you’ll have scrambled eggs.  not what you’re going for here.

Good? Flavor, very good. Texture, so-so.
Easy? Yep. Mix, mix, combine and bake.
Good for company? Great for a football crowd. Good reviews tonight.
Special shopping? Nope.

The proportions here are for half of the original recipe.  That’s only tricky in the egg department.  The original calls for 3 XL eggs.  I beat 2 L eggs and used most of it.  Click on the recipe title to link to the original on foodnetwork.com.

Cheddar Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tbsps sugar
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 stick butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
  • 4 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided

Directions

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don’t overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a large cast iron skillet in the oven.  When the oven is fully heated add 2 Tbsps butter to the skillet and put it back in the oven until the butter melts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

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