Southwestern Cornbread recipe (split from Boston board)
(NOTE: This post originally appeared in a thread about cornbread in the Boston area, which we non-natives tend to find unpalatably sweet. Unfortunately, the split from the Boston board to Home Cooking got messed up, so here's the recipe again.)
First off, the three to one ratio is for my standard recipe: any cornbread recipe can be swapped to a 3 to 1 cornmeal:flour ratio. (Some cornbread recipes -- the sucky ones -- actually have that ratio reversed, 3 parts flour to 1 part cornmeal!) The cornbread of which Allstonian speaks, however, is an entirely different beast, inspired by the jalapeno cornbread loaves at one of the landmark dining establishments of my youth, Furr's Cafeteria. The starting point is the basic cornbread recipe in KING ARTHUR FLOUR WHOLE GRAIN BAKING, but I've tweaked it hugely, both in adding different ingredients and in streamlining some steps, so it's definitely an original recipe at this point.
Purists might squawk at the fact that this recipe contains 1/4 cup of honey. I assure you, this is not a sweet cornbread: the honey is primarily there to provide moistness and temper both the heat of the chiles and the graininess of the cornmeal and whole wheat flour. As noted elsewhere, my go-to cornmeal for this cornbread is the coarse-ground Goya. To give you some idea of its texture, it's the same cornmeal I make polenta out of. Also, you can buy the freeze-dried red and green bell pepper from Penzey's: I regret to report that fresh chopped bell pepper, which you would think would be better, adds a really unpleasant gumminess to the finished cornbread. If you don't want to bother to get the dried, eliminate the bell pepper entirely, but I think it adds a lot.
2 cups coarse-ground cornmeal
2 cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
1/3 cup freeze-dried red and green bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped chipotles in adobo AND/OR 2 tablespoons chopped roasted green chile
1/2 cup melted butter OR lard OR bacon grease, or some combination of the three (you could use oil, I suppose, if you prefer)
1. Preheat oven to 400 with an ungreased cast iron skillet in the oven as it heats.
2. Combine buttermilk, eggs, honey, chile and dried bell peppers. Allow to stand at least 10 minutes so peppers can re-hydrate.
3. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Remove ripping-hot cast iron skillet from oven and quickly add one tablespoon bacon grease or butter to skillet, swirling quickly to melt. As quickly as possible, combine dry ingredients, buttermilk mixture and melted butter, stirring just to combine. Dump into skillet and return to oven.
5. Bake 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan for about five minutes. Serve from pan in wedges, preferably alongside a nice pot of beans. Of, if you're like me and I know I am, crumble a wedge of the cornbread in a bowl and ladle the beans on top.