99% of the time, I’m a biscuit kind of person. You’re making eggs? Great! I’ll make biscuits. Soup for dinner? Let me slap some biscuits together for you! It’s literally any hour of the day or night? Fantastic–let’s have biscuits.
Yes, biscuits are my answer to just about everything. But there’s something about snow that makes me want cornbread. Even the light dusting we had yesterday–it just screams cornbread to me. Where others might grab bread and milk when they are preparing to hunker down, I grab a pound of cornmeal.
Now, there are two kinds of cornbread. In the north, cornbread is cakey and sweet. That’s all fine and good, but when I want cornbread, I want it southern–sturdy and deeply savory with crisp edges. It’s just as good sandwiched with a fried egg as it is as a side to soup or roast chicken.
My favorite cornbread requires just seven ingredients: yellow cornmeal, baking powder, salt, buttermilk, an egg, melted butter, and bacon fat. Yes, bacon fat. It makes the edges of this cornbread outrageously delicious and, of course, keeps it from sticking to the pan. Don’t have bacon fat lying around? Just substitute a tablespoon of neutral-flavored oil. It won’t have the same depth of flavor, but your cornbread will still come out of the oven with crispy edges.
You may also have noticed that there is no flour in this cornbread. This means it just happens to be gluten-free 😊
While this recipe contains only a few ingredients, it needs a little technique to make the finished cornbread irresistible. The batter comes together in just a few minutes. Before you go to bake it though, make sure to get the pan nice and hot. I heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high for a good three minutes before swirling in the bacon fat. While the pan is still heating on the stove, I scrape in the batter and then let it cook for a minute before sliding it into the oven. This minute on the burner is just more assurance that the finished cornbread will have a great crispy edge.
One of my favorite things about making cornbread? It’s ready to eat just minutes after it comes out of the oven. I spend so many hours of my life waiting for things to cool–I love that this recipe doesn’t require that sort of tedium. In the ten minutes that I waited before slicing into this cornbread, I had time to whip up a simple Chipotle-Lime Honey Butter. While this Southern-Style Cornbread is perfectly delicious with a pat of regular butter, this spicy, tangy, slightly sweet butter really brings it over the top.
makes about 8 servings
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon bacon fat (or neutral-flavored oil)
Preheat oven to 425F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Combine buttermilk and egg in a measuring cup. Whisk together with a fork. Fold into dry ingredients. Fold in melted butter.
Heat an 8- or 9-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat for at least 3 minutes. Add bacon fat and coat. Add cornbread batter. Cook for one minute before transferring to the oven. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cornbread cool for ten minutes before slicing into wedges and serving with Chipotle-Lime Honey Butter.
Chipotle-Lime Honey Butter
makes about 1/4 cup
1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
zest of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 teaspoon honey
Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Mash together with a fork. Taste and adjust chile powder by up to 1/4 teaspoon. Transfer compound butter to a serving dish.