Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Cornbread – how I love thee



When I’ve been to the US, cornbread has been one of my favourite things to eat. It’s not at all eaten here, nor are really any other kinds of sweet bread. I made sure I had cornbread as often as I could when visiting, but sadly, I never learnt how to make it myself. Indeed, I had some vague notion that you could only make it from mix. (It says something about the people I’m generally staying with when I’m visiting – neither has been big on from-scratch-cooking.) Anyway, so I usually bought a couple of boxes of mix to take home… but there’s always an end to that.

So, when I was cooking for Thanksgiving, I read Nigella’s recipe in Feast for Cornbread stuffing with orange and cranberries. It included, naturally, cornbread. From scratch. I had my doubts, but whipped up a batch for the stuffing. It. Was. Perfect. Perfect. Incredibly super-delicious! Sadly, most of that batch actually had to go in the stuffing, but there was enough to spare one big slice for me, and a small one for Per. (Who is much less of a fan than I am, so I felt it was fair.) I liked it so much I had to make a second batch to serve just as cornbread muffins, with the rest of the meal. And now I want to make it over, and over again. I can’t believe it was so easy!

This is a recipe I really need to share – thank you Nigella, this is *it*!

Nigella’s cornbread (from Feast)

175 g polenta (or cornmeal – this was a real revelation for me. Cornmeal is not available here, but polenta certainly is. You can use *that*?? was my first thought.)
125 g plain flour
45 g sugar
1 fat pinch of salt (as Nigella aptly puts it – I use salted butter, so I use a little less)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 egg
45 g melted butter (she specifies unsalted, but salted worked perfectly)
250 ml full fat milk (I’ll try it with a less fat milk next time, since I never have full-fat in the house.)

Mix the dry ingredients. Beat the egg a little bit, and mix with butter and milk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mix lightly. And that’s it! Pour into a suitable mold – I made the first batch in a regular springform pan since it was just going to get crumbled for stuffing anyway, and the second batch in muffin tins. Bake at 200 degrees Centigrade for 15-20 minutes. The cornbread should be golden, and start pulling away a little from the sides.

5 comments:

sammy said...

I was given a great cornbread recepi by a methodist minister who got it from an old pennsylvanian lady. Let me know if you want it. ;)

Anne said...

Oh Sammy, I'd love that! Now that I've gotten rid of the dumb idea that cornbread is difficult to make, I'm dying to try more recipes!

The Malcontent said...

Anne,

As a long-time cornbread fanatic, I bake my bread in a small, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. You put the skillet in the oven while it is preheating. Once the oven is to temperature, take the skillet out, put a little shortening in it (which should melt right away), then pour your batter in and pop it in the oven. It makes a tremendously delicious crust. Give it a try, if you have the hardware.

Anonymous said...

you can buy cornmeal in Holland & Barrett (sold as Maize meal)

Cody Salcido said...

it was pretty awesome.