The first time I had cornbread was at Blue Smoke BBQ in New Farm. They served it as a complimentary entree to their signature ribs. I knew I would be making ribs tonight so I thought I'd also bake some cornbread to go with them.
There are endless variants of cornbread on the internet. I sort of recognized that there was the Southern-style cornbread with lots of trimmings (bacon, jalapenos etc). I wanted to make a simple, rustic, corny cornbread that would go well with butter.
When I saw this recipe, I thought it would be perfect because it seemed sweet (and we know I have a penchant for sugar). Even though my cornbread was meant for accompanying ribs, I thought a bit of sweetness would be nice.
I modified the recipe by using half and half with lemon juice (to simulate buttermilk) instead of plain milk. Also, I added some canned corn kernels.
Crumbly and Sweet Cornbread
Makes a 19x19 cm square
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 cup polenta
- 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 cup milk (I used half and half with 1 tbsp of lemon juice, left to curdle over 15min)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
- 1/4 cup canned corn kernels, drained (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Combine the flour, polenta, baking powder, salt and caster sugar in a large bowl.2. In a separate bowl, stir together the milk, oil, egg and (if using) corn kernels.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon to combine.
4. Lightly grease the square baking tin and pour in the cornbread batter.5. Bake for 25-30min until the top is golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.6. Let it cool in the tin for 5min before turning out to a wire rack.
7. I like the cornbread served warm with butter... delicious!
I'm extremely pleased with how the cornbread turned out. It's one of those rare occasions where I didn't halve the recipe so I ended up with a lot of cornbread, way too much for 2 people to handle. All the same, I'm not kicking myself too much because the cornbread is delicious!
In the oven, it smelt like one big corn chip. The texture is wonderful - crumbly and dense. It's a bit difficult to spread butter on unless you have the butter nice and soft, at room temperature. That's the only problem for me.
Charlie complained it was a bit too sweet for his liking but that's just a personal preference. You can reduce/increase sugar as you want. Don't get me wrong, this cornbread is NOT like a cake. I loved how it was ambiguously sweet and salty at the same time, and the crunch of the corn kernels was also a winner for me.
The cornbread worked great as an accompaniment to the ribs but it definitely doesn't have to be a 'side'. I think it's fabulous slathered with butter. You can try it with salted butter for a savory taste, or you can drizzle on some honey for a sugar fix.
This recipe was easy and great. It's also very adaptable and it's one I'll return to again and again.