Butter melting on a slice of Perfect Cornbread
As I was sitting down to eat my breakfast slice of cornbread, I realized that I did things backwards in regard to my last post, Pea Salad for a True Southern Repast (7-20-17). I should have posted this post, Sizzle Perfect Cornbread - No Stick Guarantee , before I did the Pea Salad. I hope my mix up did not cause culinary distress. Afterall, wonderful cornbread is the cornerstone of any good Southern meal and the Pea Salad classic delicacy.
Any good Southern cook worth her weight in Crisco can stir up a fitting pan of cornbread, worthy of all the purple hull peas, fried okra, butter beans, sliced tomatoes, fried eggplant, cooked squash and new potatoes that might have the honor of residing on the same plate with this crispy delicacy. But there are new cooks rattling the pots and pans every day. This recipe is for the new cook of any region seeking an authentic quick bread to serve with soup, beans or meat and three. Or maybe the experienced cook who can't get the cornbread to pop out of the skillet without sticking. If it starts out in a packet or a little blue box, it is only an imitator hoping to achieve greatness.
I have mentioned Perfect Cornbread previously, Pea Salad for a True Southern Repast 9-1-13. The original recipe came from a cookbook that looks like a checkerboard tablecloth which was a wedding present of my Mother's. This is the only recipe I ever use. I don't mess with perfection. I learned the secret to good cornbread at my Mamaw's knee. It's all about the sizzle, two sizzles to be exact.
1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup of shortening
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup of milk
Yes, this recipe does have sugar in it. Now I am a die-hard Southern cook, except in this case, but a little bit of sugar only sweetens the pie and will get you lots of compliments. Infact, I have never made it without.
Add 1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
to a large mixing bowl and mix well.
Prepare 1/4 cup shortening.
Add shortening to a cold cast iron skillet.
Put your cast iron skillet on the stove over a good heat, a bit more than medium.
While the shortening is melting in the skillet,
Add 1 cup cornmeal to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Add two eggs and 1 cup of milk to the dry mixture, mixing everything together very well.
Watch your shortening. ( I never walk away from the stove when heating any oil.)
When the shortening is hot pour the hot grease from the skillet into the wet mixture. You should hear a sizzle (1). The picture to the right is just after pouring the hot grease into the mix.
Put the skillet back on the stove and add a good dollop of shortening. This will melt while you are stirring the hot shortening into the wet cornbread mixture. When the second round of shortening is melted, pour the wet cornbread mix into the skillet while is is still on the stove. You should hear a sizzle (2).
Using a mitt, put the skillet of cornbread into the oven at 425 for 20 minutes. It will be done but you might want to check it while it is cooking and turn down the oven (5-10 degrees) if too brown on top. Using a mitt, remove the skillet from the oven. Turn the skillet of cornbread topside down onto a cutting board or heavy plate. Put the skillet aside. With the backside of cornbread facing up, place a plate over the backside. The cornbread will be between two plates. Flip the plates so that the top of the cornbread is on top. Remove the plate. It is harder to read about it than to do. You can play with that. If you have done all of this correctly or even mostly correct, it will jump out of the skillet for you! Enjoy!
Now that you can make Perfect Cornbread you can move to Lesson 2, Perfect Cornbread Dressing (Perfect Cornbread Dressing Site is currently under reconstruction.)
Perfect Cornbread hot from the oven!
The backside of Perfect Cornbread
For even more background on Cornbread, check out my post,
The Nascar Cornmeal Conspiracy 11-11-13.