A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Southern Cornbread

I was never much of a fan of cornbread until I moved to South Carolina and learned about Southern cornbread. It's not cake-y at all -- no wheat flour, only cornmeal -- and has no sugar. It's crusty and crunchy and basic, as well as super-easy to make.

My recipe is modified slightly from traditional recipes in that it contains yogurt instead of buttermilk. I don't keep buttermilk around, but I always have some yogurt, so it's worked out this way.

I like coarse yellow cornmeal. Anson Mills is my favorite, but it's expensive, so lately I've been using Adluh and liking it fine. Sometimes I blend grits and cornmeal.

I should add that much of the cornbread I've eaten down here is not like this. I've had some very, very sweet homemade cornbreads, and plenty of people don't seem to like gritty, all-corn cornbread. But to me it's the only way.

Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of lard, bacon grease, or butter in a large cast iron skillet. Place in oven and preheat to 425 degrees.

Whisk together in one bowl:
- 1 and 1/2 cups cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 scant teaspoon salt

Whisk together in another bowl:
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk

Combine without overmixing. When grease in skillet is sizzling hot, pour batter in and return to oven. Bake about 20 minutes and eat immediately.

Tonight I also added kernels from two ears of sweet corn we parboiled and froze last fall. It tasted a little freezer-burnt to me, but Lawson didn't think so, so I guess it was okay. Fresh sweet corn would be better.

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