Cooking cornbread in a cast-iron pot appropriately assures a crusty edge to this classic rustic quick bread. The flowerless batter with no sugar is baked, then slathered with butter and eaten alone or alongside a pile of purple hull peas. It’s delicious any way you serve it!
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My husband, Steve, grew up eating cornbread every noon and night meal from his grandmother’s table during his stays in east Jones County, Mississippi. Like biscuits at breakfast, cornbread was the bread of choice for lunch and dinner. I, on the other hand, did not eat cornbread very often. Cajuns would rather have their cornmeal fried and served in a cereal dish floating in coffee milk. It’s called Couche-Couche, A Cajun Delicacy, but not for breakfast only.
While living with Steve’s grandparents when we first married, I was able to see firsthand the food my husband grew up eating. I quickly learned to enjoy their style of chicken and dumplings and Mamaw’s Sunday dinners of fried chicken with lots of fresh vegetables, and of course, cornbread.
A meal of peas and cornbread with fried okra, Mamaw style, is something we crave from time to time. It’s a simple and easy supper after a long workday. While learning to make cornbread, I went through lots of trial and errors. Mamaw didn’t have a recipe, and those box mixes fell apart after baking.
This kept happening until I found a recipe from an old Southern Living cookbook. We were trying to eliminate most flour and sugar from our diet at the time, and this recipe fit the bill. It got rave reviews from family and friends, so I knew it was a keeper. Since then, I have made a few adjustments to it.
Secrets To A Good Cornbread
There are a few secrets to its success, though. First, you need a well seasoned black cast-iron skillet. (See this Southern Living article to learn how.) Then, pour a little extra virgin olive oil into it and place it in a cold oven.
Shut the door and preheat the oven for 450 degrees, but don’t leave the skillet in there the whole time it’s preheating, or the oil will get too hot and start smoking. Then it will smoke up your kitchen and set off your alarm, and while you’re trying to turn it off, your husband will call to say he got a text from the security people. He’ll ask if your ok and if supper will still be ready, and while you’re talking with him, the security people will try to beep in to ask if everything is all right and since it is they will say they’ll call the fire department to tell them there is no need to go to your house. To that, you’ll reply thank you and that you’d appreciate it . . . yeah, it went, I mean, it could go something like that!
Back To The Recipe
After adding the dry ingredients, make a well in the center and pour in the eggs and buttermilk. Stir together to mix. Pull the heavy pan out of the oven and make sure the oil coats all the surfaces while being careful not to burn yourself. Then pour the cornbread batter into that hot skillet. This gets the edges cooking before the bread gets into the oven, starting the process of a beautiful, crisp, crusty edge.
After the cornbread is cooked, loosen the edges with a knife, turn it over, and put it back into the skillet or onto a serving platter.
In the skillet and upside down, Mamaw would do to her cornbread to stop it from cooking and getting too brown while keeping the bread warm. Or, you can slice it in half and butter on both sides before serving, maybe not if you are watching calories and those sort of things.Print
Cooking cornbread in a cast-iron pot that is properly prepared assures a crusty edge to this classic rustic quick bread. It’s flowerless, sugar-free, and delicious.!
- 2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Using a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, pour 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil into the middle of the pan.
- Place it into the center of a cold oven, close the door and turn on the stove to preheat to 450°.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
- Scramble eggs to break up the yolks in a small bowl and then pour into the well of dry ingredients.
- Pour the buttermilk and the rest of the olive oil in after the eggs and stir wet and dry ingredients just enough to thoroughly combine.
- Take the skillet out of the oven before it reaches 450° and the pan is hot, but not smoking.
- Pour batter into skillet and bake in the 450-degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Serve hot and store any leftovers in an airtight container.
- Be careful when handling heavy hot pans, so you don’t burn yourself.
- Cut bread in half crosswise and butter both sides before serving.
- This recipe divides easily in half to feed a smaller crowd.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Breads
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 slice
This cornbread recipe can be an excellent start to your cornbread dressing or a necessary side dish with My Sister’s Cowboy Stew or this 3 Bean Sweet-Heat Chili. Also, it’s so easy to memorize this recipe, making meal prepping a happier experience for yourself.
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“In a world that contains tragedies, we must realize that they’re vastly outnumbered by blessings.”David Jeremiah