To go along with the White Chicken Chili, we made jalapeño cheddar cornbread. We cooked it in our new cast iron skillet because that’s how Paula Deen does it and I’m assuming she knows how to make good cornbread. One thing we didn’t follow was her habit of putting an extra stick of butter in everything. However we did put an extra 3 tablespoons in the cast iron skillet and melted it to add extra flavor. The cornbread recipe itself had 2 sticks of butter after all.
This cornbread was so delicious and moist, my boyfriend, Kevin, and I had to have seconds. And the first slice of cornbread was not small by any means. Surprisingly, there were leftovers. But that didn’t last long in the fridge either.
Like we always do in the Houck household, we substituted ingredients we had in our fridge and pantry for ingredients the recipe called for. I think it’s a lot easier when you can improvise, and as Claire Robinson says “BYOC” or Be Your Own Chef. And you really do feel more official and “chef-like” when you’re not following the recipe word for word. We had buttermilk in the fridge because I had made cupcakes a couple days before and we wanted to use it up so it didn’t go to waste. So guess what we did? Ina Garten’s recipe called for 2 cups of milk, and we used 2 cups of buttermilk. It sounds like that would make the cornbread even more fattening, but buttermilk contains roughly the same amount of fat as skim milk. It also has a thick and acidic quality that added a new dimension of texture and flavor to the cornbread.
Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread: (adapted from Ina Garten)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 sticks plus 3 tablespoons butter
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3 scallions, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and 2 sticks of butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don’t overmix! Mix in the grated cheddar, scallions and jalapeños, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 3 tablespoons of butter in the cast iron skillet (or baking dish) and either place over a stove or put in the oven to melt the butter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into slices (we did ours like you would slice a pie). Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!