Skillet Cornbread

When we lived in Mexico, cornbread was one of the things we missed from our lives back home. We had never given cornbread much thought; we gobbled it up happily when it happened to be served with chili, or, as my mother served it, with plenty of butter and honey drizzled on top. It wasn’t until we couldn’t make it in Mexico, since there wasn’t proper cornmeal, and where even baking powder was somewhat unusual, that we began to obsess over it.

I thought it would require very special training, with lots of cornmeal-soaking, arduous stirring, and careful baking, to achieve that brown crust, and moist, light inside. I was mistaken. It’s dead-simple to make, and you’ll be happy to have it around.

Skillet Cornbread
From “The Pioneer Woman Cooks,” by Ree Drummond

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup skim milk mixed with 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening

Method:

Preheat oven to 450. Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Add milk, buttermilk, baking soda, and egg, and stir until combined. In a small bowl, melt 1/4 cup of shortening in the microwave, and slowly add to the batter, stirring constantly. In a cast iron skillet over high heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of shortening. Pour the batter into the hot skillet, and spread it out to even the surface. Cook for one minute, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown with crispy edges. Slice into squares and serve.

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the junk food blog "Spork & Barrel," and "Brocavore," a blog about food trucks and street food culture. His contributions include Serious Eats, Down East, Eat Rockland, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post and his food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater. Finally, he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.

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