Saturday, February 20, 2010


The co-conspirator and I are both nursing colds so this afternoon a pot of chili developed on the stove. As time for dinner approached I decided a good chili deserved some good corn bread. I turned to an old stand-by recipe, Skillet-Sizzled Buttermilk Cornbread from Crescent Dragonwagon's (I'm not making that up) Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread cookbook. You'll see why.

I started out with some pretty course cornmeal. This stuff has some tooth to it but it's wonderful in everything from cornbread to waffles. I love the texture of a good cornmeal as much as the flavor.

It got incorporated into the dry ingredients with my secret ingredient, some kernel corn. Use some fresh, home grown stuff if you can but frozen works well, too.

Since I didn't have any traditional buttermilk on hand I fell back on a good alternative. Dry, powdered buttermilk is a great staple to keep on hand for occasions like this. And I could go on more about what Organic Valley has meant to the county of my birth, but I'll save that for another day.

To make up for the lack of liquid buttermilk I just added the correct amount of water to the dry ingredients and whisked them well. Maybe a little too well. Aw, what the heck. Those bubbles will just make the finished product lighter!

Now comes the fun part that sets this recipe apart. I warmed up a cast iron skillet and melted some butter in it, swirling it around to coat the inside.

Working quickly I then dumped the wet ingredients on the dry...

...and then just stirred enough to bring the ingredients together.

Next I poured the batter into the buttery, hot skillet. This is where the sizzle comes in! You can see the browning butter and creamy batter meeting in some really great kitchen alchemy.

In a fit of inspiration I sprinkled some smoked paprika across the top and put it in the oven. The result was moist, tangy, and flavorful!