Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jalapeno (or Cayenne) Cheddar Cornbread

I'm going to go ahead and call it - fall is officially here.  I walked into work today and for the first time in a long time, I actually wore a coat (albeit a light one).  And I was still a little chilly.  How sad is that?  Granted, fall means that I can break out all of those cozy sweaters that I haven't been able to wear in months and I do love cozy sweaters, but it also means that pretty soon winter is going to be here, which means no more farmers' market!  Boo.  But we have a few more good months until that happens so I will enjoy them while I can!  With the advent of fall, all I want is pumpkin (and squash), soup, brussels sprouts...  And what goes better with soup than cornbread?  I know you traditionally serve cornbread with chili, but I think any soup works well with cornbread.  I particularly love chicken soups with hominy and cornbread.  And now that I think about it, we have totally made a chicken soup with hominy and buttery cornbread before on the blog (see recipe here).

Anyway, what I liked best about this cornbread was that it had great chili flavor without a lot of heat.  Don't get me wrong, I intentionally didn't de-seed my chilis very thoroughly so every once in awhile you get a bite with some kick and it is delicious.  You could totally be more thorough about it and get just the flavor and none of the heat.  You could also use jalapenos instead of the green and red cayenne chilis we used because we were out of jalapenos.  Depending on how spicy you like things, I might recommend sticking with jalapenos because they are milder, not that our cayenne chilis were all that hot.  Most of my coworkers would warn you to take anything I say about spice level with a grain of salt since my tolerance for (and love of) spicy food is higher than average.  My one minor complaint is that the cornbread was on the dry side.  So it works really well with soup, but eating just a hunk of cornbread on its own left me wishing that it was a little more moist.

Recipe after the jump!

Jalapeno (or Cayenne) Cheddar Cornbread

2 cups of cornmeal (yellow or white)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2-3 jalapenos or cayenne chilis, seeded and minced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus additional for topping
1 cup frozen sweet corn (optional, but I would highly recommend it) 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Put the oil in a large (10-inch) cast-iron skillet and place it in the oven to heat up while you mix your ingredients.

Mix together dry ingredients. Set aside.  Whisk together egg and buttermilk.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Stir to combine.  Fold in jalapenos, cheese and corn (if using).

Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven and swirl the hot oil around the pan.  Pour batter into the skillet and bake in oven until a skewer inserted into the middle of the pan comes out clean, about 25 minutes.  The cornbread should be golden on top and pulling away from the sides of the skillet.


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