Friday, June 13, 2014

Sweet Southwest Cornbread... with a little kick

Tonight’s quick bread was meant to be a sidedish, but it stole the spotlight from the bowl of red (chili) it accompanied. Moist and sweet, a bit cheesey with just a hint of chile tang, this crunchy, light-crumbed cornbread didn’t require any butter or honey to be a “just one more, please” bite of delight. Sound the bell, there’s a new winner topping the Best Cornbread Ever list!

I baked this batch in a preheated 9-inch cast iron skillet, just because I love an extra-crispy edge. A standard 8x8-inch baking pan, metal or glass, works equally well to produce a tasty cornbread. Muffin tins or a heavy popover pan are two other suitable choices. Pick your favorite, but certainly give this recipe a try. Your "I don't care for cornbread" family members and friends might become cornbread lovers after their first reluctant nibble. Honest, it's just that good.

Sweet Southwest Cornbread with a Kick
Based on the Soup & Bread Cookbook, Beatrice Ojakangas, 2013

Makes 9 generous squares in a cast iron skillet

1 stick (6 Tablespoons) butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup chile pepper (poblano or jalapeno), deseeded & diced
2/3 cup Jalapeno Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup green onion, diced
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup coarse-ground yellow cornmeal
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a cast iron skillet or lightly coat an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.

Wet ingredients: Use a large mixing bowl and stir together the melted butter and sugar. Whisk in the beaten eggs and milk. Add the chiles, cheese and onion and stir until mixed.

Dry ingredients: Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, blending thoroughly.

Add the flour mixture to the eggy batter and stir until smooth and well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake on a center rack in the preheated oven until a toothpick or tester poked into the center of the cornbread comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cornbread rest a few minutes, until the edges pull away from the pan. Cut into 9 squares and serve warm.  

Note: a few leftover squares made a great base for sautéed sweet peppers and onions at breakfast. 

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