Smithey Ironware Company
Smithey Ironware Company

Your New Favorite Cornbread Recipe

Email sent: Jul 31, 2020 12:12pm

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Smithey Signatures: Skillet Cornbread Edition

We have four words for you: Cornbread and cast iron. When it comes to food, it's hard to think of many combinations that inspire devotion and deliver comfort the way that these two kitchen staples do.   
Across the country, using recipes and techniques built from generations-old global traditions, both cornbread and cast iron have captured the hearts of home and professional cooks for their enduring adaptability and simple purity. This is especially true in the South. 
“Few things are more evocative in the Southern culinary repertoire than cast iron skillet cornbread," says chef Mike Lata, of FIG and The Ordinary restaurants here in Charleston. "Its very ingredients would be the first inductees to the Southern foodways hall of fame—milled Flint or Dent Corn, Buttermilk, Butter, and Bacon.  And unless there is some kind of forgotten pottery used by Native Americans or by the Gullah Geechie, there is no better piece of equipment than a sturdy, well seasoned cast iron pan for transforming them into that fabled Southern staple so deserving of our adoration." 
We agree—which is why we're adding our own version of skillet cornbread to Smithey's ever-expanding Recipe Collection. And who better to guide us to cornbread perfection than Mike's wife, Jenni, a talented tastemaker in her own right.  
"I knew this recipe needed to a) be the purest form of cornbread and b) harness the cooking properties of cast iron," Jenni says, "so in the pursuit of purity, out went all-purpose flour, sugar, jalapeños, and multiple eggs. You can make some great skillet breads with those ingredients, but this Smithey Signature recipe is about classic simplicity. Once all those decisions were made, the final step was how to help the cast iron work its magic. This meant pre-heating the skillet and the fat in order to achieve that crunchy golden brown exterior. When you hear the batter sizzle as it hits the skillet, you know you’re on the right track." 
See below for the full recipe, as well as some tips for Jenni. Then, hop over to The Journal to taste and test some of our other Smithey Signatures. And, as always, don't hesitate to share your own inspired ideas with us, too—we're always cooking. 

No. 10 Skillet Cornbread
Serves 6-8

2 ½ cups fine stone-ground cornmeal, such as Geechie Boy
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups whole-milk buttermilk
7 tablespoons (3 ½ ounces) unsalted butter or bacon fat
1 large egg, beaten 

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. 

2. Whisk together cornmeal, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Fold in buttermilk with a rubber spatula just until combined. Be careful not to overmix.

3. Add bacon fat or butter to No. 10 Skillet. Place in preheated oven until skillet is hot and fat is sizzling, about 10 minutes. Pour all but 1 tablespoon of the hot fat into the batter and stir to combine. Fold in the beaten egg.  

4. Pour batter into the hot skillet. Return to the oven and bake until golden brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Serve warm.
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