So now I have a bag of cornmeal - what to do with it?
- rkn Sep 24, 2005 06:04 PM
I was hoping to make grits tonight but have now learned I bought cornmeal, not grits. What should I do with the conrmeal I bought? I was thinking of making homemade cornbread and would like a southern recipe rather than the sweeter, northern version. Anyone have a good recipe or an other good savory recipes that use cornmeal
First thing is to get your cast iron skillet smoking hot so preheat your oven to 450 F and put in the skillet with 2 Tbs. fat. Bacon fat is good, lard, or shortening.
Mix together 2 C. cornmeal, 4 tsp.baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, 1 egg, and 1 1/2 C.milk. Mix that up well and then pour in the hot fat from the skillet. Pour it all into the skillet and it should sizzle as it hits the pan and bake 20-25 minutes.
If you don't have a cast iroon skillet you could use an 8 or 9 inch square pyrex pan but get it hot. That makes the delicious crust.
If you have some buttermilk on hand the following is also good.
Same deal with the skillet and put in 3 Tbs. bacon fat. Then mix up about 2 C. corn meal with 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp salt. Mix together 1 C. buttermilk and 1 egg. Mix in to the dry ingredients. Proceed as above but bake at 375 F for 25 minutes.
Golly, and I thought *I* knew my cornbread! Those are two of the most straightforward downhome recipes I've seen in a long time. I'm gonna copy them...thanks!
Only thing I can add is that if you have room in your freezer, the cornmeal will keep there indefinitely - just put it into one or more heavy Ziplock freezer bags. It comes in handy for lots of things, from corn muffins to breading fish for frying...and you can use it right from the freezer.
Why don't you make polenta? To me, polenta is the ultimate comfort food, and you can make it as healthy or as rich as you like.
Boil 4 times as much water (or stock, depending on the flavor you want) as cornmeal - I usually use 1-1.5 cups of cornmeal for 4 people. SLOWLY pour in the cornmeal while stirring constantly. Continue stirring 10-30 minutes, until the polenta thickens to porridge consistency. (The time depends on whether you got instant cornmeal or not.)
Add any flavorings you want - strong or creamy cheese is always a good option, but you can be creative.
Then put a ladlefull in each bowl and top it off with whatever you have. In Italy, they usually serve it with sausage, but I'm veg, so I use veggie chili. Or you can use more cheese.
Best part is, the leftovers solidify, so you can slice them up and fry/broil them the next day!
Hope this helps.
Cornbread is so much fun to play with!
My cornbread recipe is pretty close...
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
dash of sugar, dash of salt
1 large egg
1 cup of buttermilk (can use 1 cup of milk with 1 T of vinegar, mix and let stand for about 5 min.)
Heat 1 or more Tablespoons of oil, butter, or fat of choice in a cast iron - or otherwise oven-safe - skillet at 450 degrees. (I usually put the skillet with oil in the cold oven to preheat - check it when the oven reaches the temp - usually just a few minutes after it reaches temp.)
Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and mix lightly - add hot oil from the skillet to the batter -mix lightly and pour into hot skillet.
Bake for about 15 - 25 minutes (depending on oven)- until nicely browned on top and feels springy when pressed lightly in the middle.
The recipe doubles well. A meal can be made by adding almost anything that you would like - such as peas or beans, browned ground beef or breakfast sausage, cheese, sauteed onions or garlic, assorted vegetables - just use your imagination. Whatever you think that you might like with cornbread will probably work. All the added ingredients will sink down and the cornmeal will make a nice top crust - just remember that the cooking time will increase and the oven temp might need to decrease depending on how many extras are added to the batter.
Cracklings are an excellent addition...then you need to roast a fresh ham or pork shoulder with skin on to get it all that meltingly wonderful pork. Fall food...sigh s. Indiana still thinks it is summer, I cannot wait for a nip in the air and some real fall/winter food. It is just too damned hot and humid right now!
That sounds pretty wonderful also - I've never made crackling cornbread, but when you mention roasting a nice fresh ham, I just feel envious. (Our grocery stores stock partially cooked, smoked hams almost exclusively.)
Agree with the too damned hot and humid right now - and we are getting Rita's cast-off wind and water now - I only wish some cooler air would move in with her!
Ask your butcher to order a shoulder or fresh ham for you, even supermarket butchers can do this. After roasting lift off the skin, scrape off extraneous fat and place it on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake it until crisp and the fat has rendered. You can then break this up into cracklings and make some superior cornbread and use that fat to grease the baking pan instead of bacon grease or shortening.
Tomorrow I will post spoonbread recipes,that is sheeeeeeer heaven for cornbread devotees
The key would be to get some smoked ham hocks or a bone from a nicely smoked ham, and make some beans to go with your cornbread!