The Bestest Cornbread on the Meal Train

The secret to excellent cornbread (well, DUH!)

I have found one of my personal niches in the community… a spot on the Meal Train.  Several friends have used the site to organize friends after the birth of a baby, or to mobilize pals when another friend falls ill.  The site is great, and private, and helps us all help each other.  I find that I always tend to make the same meal when I’m on the meal train, too- Meg Rajala’s Chili and cornbread.  My loyal readers know about the ubiquitous chili, but I realized when searching for the cornbread recipe this last time, I had given away my copy, and I haven’t blogged about it.  The last time I made it I used fresh sweet corn, and it got rave reviews from V, (new baby’s Mamma), saying it was a hit with her family. I think it’s time to publish my modifications of this recipe.  The original recipe is from Cooks Illustrated, and I’ll use their quantities, though I rarely make less than a triple batch of this (two for the meal train, to go with the humongous vat of chili, one for us at home).

Can't you just imagine how this smells? (click for larger image)

Equipment

  • 8 inch square Pyrex baking dish
  • small saucepan or microwaveable dish (for melting butter)
  • two large bowls
  • dry measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • liquid measuring cup
  • silicon or rubber spatula
  • electric mixer (optional) (Cooks Illustrated uses a food processor to liquefy the corn with the wet ingredients; I like the chunky corn kernels in the bread)
  • whisk
  • cooking spray
  • cutting board
  • chef’s knife

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 ears of fresh sweet corn, depending on size  (or 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed)
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour (7.5 ounces)
  • 1 cup cornmeal (5.5 ounces)  I like the stone ground kind, unlike Cooks Illustrated
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (1.75 ounces)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease Pyrex baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Melt the butter.  It will cool slightly while you prep the other ingredients.
  3. Cut corn kernels off cobs with chef’s knife and cutting board. Remove any pieces of silk that might be amongst the corn kernels.
  4. Mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl with a whisk until well combined.
  5. Mix sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and corn kernels together in a large bowl (in the mixer or with the whisk) until they are combined.
  6. Make a well in the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet mixture.  Start stirring with the silicon spatula, combining as for any quick bread.  After a few strokes, add the melted butter, and continue mixing until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
  7. Put the batter in the prepared dish, smoothing the top with the spatula.
  8. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, about 25-35 minutes.
  9. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
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