There are probably as many recipes for cornbread as there are southern cooks. Although it’s not strictly a “southern thing,” cornbread is very widely served throughout the south. It’s so very good with a plate of southern-style vegetables like peas, fried okra, and greens.
And, there are many different kinds of cornbread. There is the old fashioned cornbread like I’m going to show you here. Then there is corn pone which is basically just cornmeal, water and salt formed into “pones” like thick little pancakes and cooked in the oven. There are corn sticks and corn muffins as well. And don’t forget about hush puppies! They are essentially cornbread, too. Actually, my favorite is what we call “lacy cornbread.” Lacy cornbread is cooked in a skillet on the stovetop. It’s a very thin, light batter that is poured into hot oil and fried quickly to a golden brown. It takes skill and practice to make lacy cornbread.
Then there is the matter of the cornmeal itself. Grocery stores throughout the deep south have lots of different cornmeal products on the shelves. But the most important for making good cornbread is fine ground, white cornmeal.
Now, I have no association whatsoever with Arnett’s. They have absolutely no idea who I am. I just happen to like their cornmeal. A couple of other good brands are Hoover’s and Sholar’s. It’s easy to find it in the rural areas, but here in North Georgia near Atlanta I can’t get it anywhere! That’s okay, I just stock up when I make a trip down to the southern part of the state.
Someday I’ll do my recipe for lacy cornbread, but for now this standard old-fashioned type will be more than adequate. If you want to make a pan of this somewhat lightened up cornbread for yourself or your family, then here’s what you need:
1 ½ cups fine ground, white corn meal
½ cup flour
3 tsp baking powder
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup Eggbeaters (or two whole eggs)
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups skim or lowfat milk or buttermilk
One other note. You will notice that there is no sugar in this recipe. In my opinion, there is no place for sugar in cornbread. Cornbread is a rustic, savory bread and sugar just doesn’t belong in there. Sorry if you’re a sugary cornbread lovin’ kind of person.
Spray a 12-inch iron skillet well with cooking spray. Preheat the skillet along with the oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the cornmeal, flour and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl.
Combine the oil, eggs or eggbeaters and milk and pour into the dry ingredients. Mix well. I use a whisk just to make sure I get all the lumps well incorporated.
Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Can you see in the picture on the right how the cornbread has already started to cook just seconds after being poured into the pan? That’s just what you want it to do.
Bake approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Have you ever seen one of these silicon pot handle thingys? I call it my skillet grabber. It’s a wonderful thing and was given to me by one of my very best friends a few years ago. I had never heard of it before, but let me tell you something. It makes it so easy to get that hot iron skillet out of the oven. You just slip it over the handle and pull it right out. If you don’t have one, please treat yourself to one soon. You’re gonna love that thing!