Cornbread just may be the most beloved quick bread of all time, dating back centuries to maize-eating Native Americans and other indigenous populations of the world. Settlers and early Americans found the ingredients (aft first just corn, water and fat and later eggs, milk, sugar and leaveners) to be reasonably affordable and readily available, making the frugal but filling dish a staple on dinner tables across all classes. It’s even reported that President Thomas Jefferson enjoyed corn batter cakes for breakfast on a regular basis.?
While cornbreads of the past may have been a bit bland and boring, I’m sharing a version kicked up with punchy jalapeno peppers and tangy feta cheese – it will knock your boots off!
This easy recipe will be the star of your next meal, hardly playing second fiddle to the main dish — even Grandmother’s secret-recipe soup or Dad’s best beef chili. Bake up a batch of this Jalapeno Feta Cornbread in cast iron skillet for the crunchiest crust and a home-and-hearth presentation — don’t expect leftovers!
To ensure your cornbread turns out blue-ribbon ready time and time again, follow these tried-and –true cornbread tips I have acquired over the years.
Make a Buttermilk Substitution: Buttermilk is often used in cornbread recipes due to the rich, creamy taste and chemical reaction this acidic dairy product has with other ingredients. If you’re just plumb out of buttermilk, don’t fret — substitute regular milk specially soured for the occasion. To do this, add lemon juice or white vinegar to milk (1 tablespoon to 1 cup ratio) and let sit for 5 minutes or until curdled.
Stir by Hand: This is where great grandmother had it right, stir cornbread “just enough” by hand with a spoon or spatula. Using your fancy mixer will over beat the batter, changing the structure and texture of the finished dish.
Don’t Let Batter Sit: Cornbread batter isn’t one of those things to make ahead and then bake later. Once wet ingredients hit dry ingredients, leaveners are activated and primed for time in the oven. Leaving batter out before baking not only results in a denser product but also poses a food safety issue.
Get a Hot Pan Start: Cornbread develops the best crust and cooks more evenly when started in a pre-heated skillet or baking dish. To do this, just stick the empty vessel into a pre-heating oven while mixing up the ingredients. Remember to use potholders when pouring in the batter!
How to Keep a Crunchy Crust: Everyone loves the deliciously crisp edges and corners on fresh-from-the-oven cornbread. Keep cornbread from steaming in the pan and going soggy by carefully turning it out from the skillet or baking dish just as soon as it’s cooled enough to handle.