Food

Corn Bread

April 2, 2014

imageTo celebrate what I hope will be the last little bit of snow this winter, I made a big ole pot of chili.  The only thing I like better than a big bowl of chili is a big bowl of chili with a side of corn bread.

Corn bread is simply a quick bread (one made “quickly” with baking powder or baking soda as a leavening agent as opposed to a “regular” bread which uses yeast and takes… wait for it… longer) that incorporates corn meal into the list of ingredients. All cornmeal is made from dried kernels of corn. There is no difference between white and yellow corn meal other than the color of the corn it was ground from.

Corn bread has been around since the first settlers learned how to make it from the Native Americans and it can be baked, fried or even steamed, but that’s when it becomes more of a pudding than bread. It can be made as one large corn bread in a pan, in a skillet to be cut into squares or wedges or baked in special tins or muffin pans to create corn cakes or corn muffins. Johnnycakes and hush puppies are second cousins to corn bread and equally as delicious.

Not surprisingly there are very different versions of the perfect corn bread based on regional preferences, sort of like food fight version of North vs. South. Different proportions of sweet and savory and add-ins make for some interesting discussions but the propensity for sweeter corn bread seems to be north of the Mason/Dixon line while the saltier savory is south. All the recipes that have cheese in them are obviously dairy but any that have just milk or buttermilk can be made pareve by using rice, almond or soy milk. You really won’t be able to tell the difference.

The following recipes are great with a heaping helping of chili but also pair well with fried chicken, fish, a bowl of soup or just as a quick snack when you need to whip up something a little different. In my opinion, corn bread is best served straight out of the oven, slathered in butter or margarine with honey drizzled over the top because, well, it just tastes better that way. The following recipes are guaranteed to make a corn bread lover out of the uninitiated and remind those of you who haven’t had it in a while what you’re missing.

CORNBREAD TEX MEX STYLE (dairy)
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (8 ounce) can creamed corn
1 large onion, chopped
2 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 inch square baking pan. In a bowl, combine the eggs, oil and buttermilk. Whisk to combine. Add 1 cup shredded cheese, creamed corn, onion, red pepper and jalapeños. Mix to combine and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Stir the egg mixture into the dry mixture. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serves 6 to 8.

PASTRAMI CRUSTED CORN BREAD
1/4 lb pastrami or kosher breakfast beef
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups almond, rice or soy milk
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 cups corn kernels (frozen or fresh)

In a skillet, cook the pastrami or kosher breakfast beef until crisp. Save the grease in a bowl and drain the on paper towels. When cool, crumble into pieces.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 baking pan with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the grease. In a bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, salt and baking powder. In another bowl combine the milk, eggs, honey, and butter and whisk to combine.  By hand, stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture. Fold in the corn. Pour batter into skillet. Sprinkle the crumbled pastrami or breakfast beef over the top of the batter. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden on top. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8 to 10.

Modified/Submitted by Randy Macosi Sidmons NY, NY source unknown

SWEET AND HOT CORN BREAD (dairy)
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
4 tablespoons oil
11 to 15 ounces tex/mex fiesta-style corn, drained
1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped jalapeño peppers (drained, from a jar not fresh)

Heat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9X9 baking pan. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and oil and whisk to combine. Add the corn, cheese, and chopped peppers to the egg mixture and mix to combine. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, BE CAREFUL to just mix to combine, do not over mix. Spoon the mixture into the greased pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes until lightly golden browned on top. Serves 6 to 8.

My files source unknown

SAUSAGE CORN BREAD (meat)
1 pound kosher sausages, cooked, save the drained grease
1 cup chopped red onion
2 eggs
2 cups soy or rice milk
1 cup sifted flour
2 cups cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup drained canned corn, fresh or frozen that has been thawed

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9X13 pan. In a skillet, sauté the onions in the 2 tablespoons of grease until lightly browned but not mushy. In a bowl, combine the eggs and buttermilk and whisk until smooth. Add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar and beat until smooth. Stir in the corn and onions and 2 to 3 more tablespoons of the grease. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the cooked sausage over the top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until the top is golden. Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting to serve. Serves 8 to 10

Modified from yummly.com

CORNBREAD CUSTARD (dairy)
2 tablespoons of melted butter
4 tablespoons corn meal
4 cups corn
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
6 slices white bread, cut in cubes
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, optional
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Grease a 9X13 baking pan with the melted butter and sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of the corn meal over the bottom. Shake the pan so that the corn meal covers the bottom and slightly up the sides. Place the eggs in a large bowl and beat them. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of cornmeal over the top. Cover with wax paper and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but over night is fine. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the center is set and a knife comes out clean. Serves 6 to 8

GLUTEN FREE CORNBREAD (dairy or pareve)
1 cup white rice flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or  margarine
2 beaten eggs
1 cup milk or non dairy substitute
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a pan or skillet with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.  In a bowl combine the rice flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix to combine. In an another bowl combine the eggs, milk, and 1/4 cup butter. Add the egg mixture to the rice flour mixture and mix to combine. Pour batter into the skillet or baking pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm.

Modified from www.dailydishrecipes.com

© Eileen Goltz corn bread 14a