Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Southern Corn Bread

Cold weather hit us yesterday and today and I am lovin' it (I even saw a few flurries this morning!)  With Thanksgiving looming, I knew I had to have some corn bread on hand for my dressing and with a cold, gray day, there's nothing like beans and corn bread (unless you're in grade school).  I remember walking home from school (yes, we walked) on a rainy day, opening the door, and smelling beans.  Yuck!  However, when we sat down to dinner, they really were good.  Mom served the beans straight up, but I now serve them over rice.

I've tried different recipes through the years until I found this one in "The Joy of Cooking."  It so reminded me of the cornbread my Mom's mom use to make.  This isn't a sweet version thanks in part to the additional of bacon fat.  Boy, does this take me back to Apache, OK and sitting around that great big dining table with lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins.

As far as the beans, I ran across an herb combination which I love: bay leaf, dill weed, celery seed, and S&P.  I use pinto beans and cook as usual (cover with water {amount depends on how soupy you like your beans}, bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer.  Cook about an hour and a half or two hours and when beans are about 30 minutes from being done, add seasonings).  We always use pepper sauce on our beans.  And cole slaw or Brussels sprouts really rounds out this dinner.

SOUTHERN CORN BREAD (makes one 8" square baking dish, 12 muffins, or a 9" or 10" cast iron skillet)

1 Tbsp bacon fat
1 3/4 cups cornmeal, preferably stone ground white
(1 Tbsp sugar if using yellow)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450F. 

Whisk together in a bowl the cornmeal, sugar (if using), baking powder and soda, and salt.

Whisk together until foamy in another bowl the eggs.  Whisk in the buttermilk.

Add to the dry ingredients and whisk until just blended.  Place the skillet or pan in the preheated oven and heat until the fat smokes (about 5 minutes).  Pour in the batter all at

Bake until the top is brown and the center feels firm when pressed, 20-25 minutes.  Served immediately from the pan, cut into wedges or squares.

Leftovers can be wrapped in aluminum foil and rewarmed in a low oven or cut in half and toasted in a toaster.

Recipe Source:  "The Joy of Cooking," 2006, p. 632
Put bacon fat in skillet, baking dish or muffin tins and place in preheated oven until the fat smokes, about 5 minutes.

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