Friday, December 13

Cast Iron Cornbread

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Tennessee’s famous Cornbread Festival is coming up this month, so get your skillets in top condition. Grab your cast iron and go to town (South Pittsburgh) with these recipes sure to dazzle.

Pimiento Cheese Cornbread

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimiento peppers, drained
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a greased 9- or 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to heat while the desired temperature is reached. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cheese, peppers, milk, egg and oil, stirring until moist. Pour the batter into the preheated skillet. Bake 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Immediately transfer to a serving plate and cool 5 minutes before slicing.

Bacon-Dripping Cornbread

Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups plain cornmeal
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a greased 9-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to heat while the desired temperature is reached. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Add the buttermilk, eggs and drippings. Stir only until all ingredients are mixed well. Pour the batter into the preheated skillet. Bake 25 to 27 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool 5 minutes in the skillet. Transfer to a serving plate and cut into wedges. Serve hot.

Eggless Cornbread

Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups plain cornmeal
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a greased 9-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to heat while the desired temperature is reached. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk and butter. Stir until evenly moistened. Pour the batter into the preheated skillet. Bake 25 minutes, then cool 5 minutes in the skillet. Transfer to a serving plate and cut into wedges.

Hot-Water Cornbread

Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients:
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups plain cornmeal
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Vegetable oil or melted shortening for frying
Instructions:
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine the cornmeal, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Pour 1 inch of the oil in a large cast-iron skillet and place over medium heat.

Add ½ cup of the boiling water to the cornmeal mixture, mixing thoroughly. Add more water as needed to maintain a thick consistency (similar to really thick cooked grits). Take tablespoons of the batter and flatten in the palm of your hand. With a slotted spatula, lower into the hot oil. Fry 4 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

Sage Cornbread Muffins

Yield: 12 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1½ cups self-rising cornmeal mix
  • 1½ teaspoons dried sage
  • ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Generously grease a 12-cup cast-iron muffin pan and place in oven to heat while the desired temperature is reached. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, sage and poultry seasoning. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk, butter and egg, mixing well. Evenly spoon the batter into the preheated cups. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.

Spiced Cornbread

Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup plain cornmeal
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions, green parts only
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (2-ounce) jar diced pimientos, drained
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place an 8-inch greased cast-iron skillet in the oven while the desired temperature is reached.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, onions, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, chili powder and cumin. Make a well in the center and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the yogurt, egg, oil and pimientos. Add to the cornmeal mixture and stir just until moistened.
Pour into the prepared skillet and bake 22 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately transfer to a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot.

Garlic Chive Corn Sticks

Yield: 18 sticks
Ingredients:
  • 1¼ cups plain cornmeal
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a greased corn-stick pan in the oven while the desired temperature is reached. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, garlic powder and chives. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk and oil. Add the egg mixture to the cornmeal mixture, stirring just until moistened. Spoon the batter into the preheated pan, filling two-thirds full. Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Cast Iron Tips

SEASONING

The purpose of seasoning cast-iron cookware is to prevent rust from forming and to create a nonstick cooking surface. This is sometimes called “curing.” It is accomplished by using oil to fill in the microscopic pores that you can’t see or feel in the surface of the cookware.

To season a cast iron skillet, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a large jellyroll pan on the bottom rack of your oven. Wash the cast iron in hot, soapy water, then rinse and dry it well. Apply a very thin, even coating of vegetable oil or melted vegetable shortening to the inside of the cast iron. Place the cast iron upside down on the center rack directly above the jellyroll pan. After 1 hour, turn the oven off and allow the cast iron to cool in the oven. Repeat twice more, beginning with the thin coating of oil step.

Do not use any flavored oil, such as olive, sunflower, peanut, etc., or you will “flavor” the cast iron!

Don’t forget the lid! One reason you season cast iron is to create a moisture barrier so rust cannot form. So while you are seasoning the cookware, season the lid as well.

Seasoning is an ongoing process. The more you use cast iron, the more it is seasoned.

REMOVING RUST

My grandmother used to tell me that she removed rust by putting the cast iron in a fire to burn it off. You can remove it by using a fine grade of steel wool and old-fashioned elbow grease. Once the rust is removed, season the cookware immediately.

CLEANING

Forget the dishwasher. After cooking, wipe out the cookware with a paper towel or clean it with a stiff nylon brush and hot water if necessary. Do not use soap or any harsh detergent because these strip away oils and will remove the seasoning.


Ask Chef Tammy

Dear Tammy,

Regarding the February 2019 “Stock Up” article, it says not to use papery peels of onions. Why is that? I usually only exclude things like potato peels (makes broth starchy) or things with strong flavors like garlic, peppers and mushrooms. Thanks for your insight!

Kyle

Dear Kyle,

Great question! The reason I don’t include the papery skins from onions when preparing homemade stock is the difference it makes in the clarity of the end product. Plus, it tends to hold onto dirt, particularly the rooty bottoms, and I don’t want to wash that. If you prefer to include that in your stock, just make sure you wash it well beforehand.

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About Author

Tammy Algood

Tammy Algood develops for The Tennessee Magazine recipes that feature farm-fresh Tennessee food. Those fresh, local ingredients will always add cleaner, more flavorful foods to your table. We recommend visiting local farms and farmers markets to find the freshest seasonal produce. For more information about our recipes, contact Algood at talgood@tnelectric.org.

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