My Mom is famous for her Real Southern Cornbread. Growing up, I had it with just about every meal and usually served up alongside a healthy dollop of Pinto Beans. I enjoy mine sliced like a pie, split in half, and butter spread on top. It is a yummy side dish for lunch or dinner and is extremely versatile. Served with mashed potatoes, green beans, and corn it will highlight your chicken or meat dish or serve as a standalone meal. And, of course, baked in your trusty Iron Skillet- it’s delightful.
The History of Cornbread
Corn Maize was used by Native Americans for thousands of years before settlers arrived. I’m 1/4 Cherokee Indian, and it is rewarding to know that my ancestors learned corn recipes and cooking methods that were passed down over generations; from Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek. In addition to bread, Native Americans used corn to make many other specialties from “grits” to alcohol! These are my kind of peeps for sure. Using these historic recipes and techniques, Cornbread has lived on to become a staple of Southern Cuisine.
It seems like its popularity in the South is primarily due to its texture, aroma, and versatility. And, especially relevant here, you are just not a true Southerner if you don’t bake your cornbread people! I have used it in Thanksgiving stuffing recipes or as a stand-alone side dish. My dad crumbles his cornbread into a glass of cold milk and eats it with a spoon. My Mom always serves it with pinto beans, mashed potatoes, and vegetables as the centerpiece of the meal. Lunch or dinner, it doesn’t matter.
I think it’s most notable that “Real” Southern Cornbread uses “Self-Rising Corn Meal,” but this is not always available throughout the United States (or World). You can achieve the same effect by using corn meal, flour and baking powder- used in this recipe for those, not in the South; bless your heart.
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup margarine, melted
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup corn oil
- In a large bowl mix together the corn meal, flour, salt, and baking powder.
- In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, butter, sugar and buttermilk.
- Add to the dry ingredients and stir until well blended.
- Heat a dry 12 inch cast iron skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. Add corn oil to skillet, swirl oil around to coat bottom and sides. Leave remaining oil in pan. Return to high heat for 1 minute.
- Pour the cornbread batter into the skillet and cook on high heat until bubbles start to form in the center. Remove from stove.
- Bake in a preheated 400 degree F (200 degree C) oven for about 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Serve warm.