Monday, February 2, 2015

Mama's Southern Cornbread

There are as many recipes for Southern cornbread as there are Southern Mamas. But I think my Mama's is the best. I watched her make cornbread all my life. Her measuring tools were a coffee cup and her fingers.  A pinch of this and a splash of that. And, as a true Southern Belle, she rocked the bacon fat. And even though you can't really taste the sugar in this recipe, it's a must. Why? Because a little sugar is added to everything southern. If you could ask my Mama why, she'd say it's because it takes out the bitter : )

1/4 cup of bacon fat Yes, bacon fat
1 1/2 cups of  yellow cornmeal 
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (because its a southern thing)
2 cups of buttermilk, more if your batter is too thick (you can use milk, but use less)2 large eggs, lightly beaten

First I must warn you, cast iron gets very hot! Use a good cooking mitt and don't forget and grab the skillet with you bare hands!

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Add the fat to a medium sized cast iron skillet, Place the skillet into the oven until the fat is melted and the skillet is pipping hot. In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients.You can use separate bowls for the wet and dry ingredients, but my Mama always mixed it all together.I think if you had to carry water from the well, heat it and wash dishes by hand as a kid, you didn't mess up extra dishes if you could help it : ). Remove the skillet from the oven and swirl the hot fat around to coat the sides and bottom of the skillet.

Pour the excess bacon fat from the skillet into the cornmeal mixture and stir well. If the mixture is too thick....not pourable thick, add a little more buttermilk or milk. Pour the cornmeal mixture into the hot skillet. Place into the oven and bake at 425 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven, let rest for a few minutes, then carefully turn the cornbread out onto a plate. The bottom should be golden brown and crispy. I like mine with lots of butter. My sister likes hers crumbled in milk. Enjoy!