"Cornmeal Bread" (aka "Cornbread" or "Johnny Cake") is a typical American speciality. This quick bread is in fact a savory cake that is traditionally baked throughout the US...
Long before the Europeans settlers arrived, this corn staple was made by the Native Americans. The very fists cornbreads were called "Pone", a name deriving from the Algonquin word "Apan".
There are as many recipes as there are people baking this bread, but nobody knows why the recipes from the Southern States differ so much from the ones that can be found in the Northern States. In the north, "Cornbreads" contain significant amounts of sugar and flour, yet the ones in the south use only very little amounts of both. Another difference resides in the fact that the North will rather use yellow cornmeal and the Southern afficianados will prefer to use white cornmeal. In fact, a wide range of influences are at the origin of the different "Cornbreads" that abound in the US; endless variations and countless recipes can be found...
"Cornbread" can be baked, fried and very rarely steamed. It is eaten as an accompaniment to chili, alone with milk or as a popular side dish with soups.
This all-American staple even has it's own yearly festival during which a "National Cornbread Cook-Off Champion" is nominated (see recipes)! The "National Cornbread Festival" is held every year in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee.
The basic recipe for this bread comes from Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigo's "Ultimate Bread" book, but was adapted by myself. I took their classic "Cornbread" recipe and added some spices in order to make it a "Tex Mex Cornbread" which would remind us of scrummy foods like picadillo, burritos, chilli con carne, etc....
This "Tex Mex Cornbread" is marvelously flavorful and it's punchy taste will make you travel like no other "Cornbread" you've eaten so far! It is airy, moist and fluffy, but the slightly crunchy aspect of it's crust adds a pleasant texture contrast. Abso-lute-tely wonderful!!!
30g Unsalted butter, melted
150g Fine yellow cornmeal
150g Plain white flour
2 Tsp Baking powder
1/2 Tsp Baking soda
1 Tbs Castor sugar
1/2 Tsp Garlic powder (optional)
1/2 Tsp Onion powder (optional)
1/2 Tsp Paprika powder (optional)
1/2 Tsp Ground cumin (optional)
1/2 Tsp Ground coriander (optional)
1 Tsp Dried oregano (optional)
1 1/2-2 Tsp Salt
Pepper, to taste
2 Eggs (~50g), beaten
130g Cheddar cheese, grated
50g Cheddar cheese, grated, for the topping (optional)
2 Jalapeno chillies, deseeded and chopped (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F).
2. Grease a 23cm (9 inches) round, deep metal tin with melted butter.
3. Stir the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt and pepper together in a large bowl, until thouroughly combined.
4. Make a well in the center.
5. Whisk the eggs, buttermilk and milk together in a separate bowl and stir in the melted butter (30g).
6. Pour the mixture into the well, then use a spatula to gently fold all the ingredients together to form a wet batter.
7. Add the grated cheese and chopped chillies. Fold in very gently.
8. Place the metal tin in the preheated oven until very hot.
9. Spoon the batter into the hot, buttered tin and sprinkle with the 50g grated cheese.
10. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden and well-risen or when a metal skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
11. Turn out of the tin and leave to cool slightly on a wire rack.
12. Cut into wedges and serve warm.
If you want to bake a classic cornbread, then don't add any of the ingredients that are "optional".
You can replace the Jalapeño chillies by any other red and/or green chillies.
If you don't have any cheddar cheese, use parmesan cheese as a replacement.
Don't over mix, otherwise your bread will be heavy.
You can also bake that cornbread in a heavy cast-iron skillet.
The cornbread is ready when the edges shrink from the sides of the tin/skillet.
Eat your cornbread straight away or keep it in the fridge, wrapped in foil, for no longer than a day, because this bread tends to dry very quickly.
Eat warm with salted or unsalted butter. It is also fine when eaten cold.
This cornbread is also very fine when served as an accompaniment to "Chilli Con Carne", stews or soups (Gazpacho).
(Indian Corn -Pic by www.creativegalleries.com)
(Corn Mother -Pic by www.majesticview1.com)