Since writing my last recipe, I began a new (full-time) job! It’s been an all around super-exciting and awesome life move. With my focus shifted outside the kitchen, it’s meant far less time experimenting, photographing, taste-testing, and updating the blog. So, to make this happen, I blocked out time on my calendar, put the gate up so the puppy wouldn’t come in for scraps, and got to work. Some people have yoga or running, I have my kitchen. Though, after all the cheesy cornbread, I really should have yoga or something…
With less time on my hands, I’m really a fan of one-pot cooking. Technically, this is a skillet plus a bowl (and a whisk, cutting board, knife, and maybe a spatula) but it’s still easy on the dishwashing. Even though winter is slooowllly beginning to ebb away, I’m still craving hearty, warm dishes that fill stomachs and souls. You could bake this up with some chili, slather it with honey butter, or spread a jam or chutney on it for breakfast.
I made a few iterations of this recipe and I can say that having everything prepped in advance will be a HUGE time and sanity saver. The longest bit of prep is mincing up the jalapeño. Make sure you don’t swipe at your eyes after. Ugh. Or don’t be like me, and wear gloves.
Once you’re passed chopping and grating it’s just bringing together a bunch of ingredients in one bowl. I know I’ve sung of my love of butter before – the way it tastes, the way it makes everything better, and the way it smells when it’s melting into the pan. Ari, does not love those things. But even a butter hater got down with this bread. I particularly love browning butter for a deeper and nuttier taste. I read many cornbread recipes and tried different techniques, but it was Melissa Clark’s recipe in the NYTimes, with her browned butter, that I couldn’t ignore. Pieces of the recipe changed in iterating, but the brown butter stayed.
Cornmeal is one of the ingredients in my kitchen that sticks around for long periods of time. It’s usually what I find when I’m sorting through half-empty bags of flour, behind the corn starch, probably balled up with the bag of chia seeds. I was really happy to find this particular bag, so I’m showing it off! It reminds me of warmer weather and shopping at the Union Square Farmer’s Market (where I got it last fall).
As an experiment, since I know many of my friends don’t have cast iron cookware, I spooned the batter into a silicone mini muffin tray and holy hell, these were fantastic! So if the idea of cheesy, spicy, cornbread goodness inspires you – know that you don’t need fancy kitchen equipment to make it. I only experimented with two version but I have a feeling this could be done in anything bake-able.
If you do love the idea of the skillet, the perfectly cooked edges and bottom, and be able to cut your bread into slices, then get on it! I’m really into being able to crumble up the cornbread into whatever I’m eating it with (vegetarian chili here) to ensure perfect ratios in each bite. It’s the simple things.
- 3-4 jalapeños, seeds and ribs removed, minced
- 1½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1½ sticks of unsalted butter
- ½ cup honey or maple syrup or agave
- 2 cups buttermilk
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 1½ cups cornmeal
- 1½ Tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1½ tsp kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Prepare the jalapeños and cheese, and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. I love to brown it but you don't need to. I think it's worth an extra 5 minutes.
- Pour the melted butter into a bowl and let it cool for a minute. Don't wipe the pan - you've now greased your baking dish!
- Whisk in the buttermilk, sour cream, and honey (or syrup, or agave).
- Whisk in the eggs.
- Whisk or stir in the jalapeños and cheese.
- Whisk in all the dry ingredients until the batter is mostly smooth. Some lumps are ok!
- Pour the batter into your skillet to about ¾ full. If your skillet cooled off while you were gathering ingredients, warm it back up by placing it in the oven or over a flame. Anything extra batter can be baked in muffin tins or other baking vessels.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is golden brown. If you find yourself needing significantly more time, cover the top with foil and continue baking.