Cornbread is a classic crowd pleaser. It can be served as a traditional side in cake form, presented as muffins, and even made into rustic cornbread biscuits. The beans and cornbread are sweetly flavored, so a crisp slaw in vinegar dressing makes the perfect accompaniment.For a stress-free addition to a meal, cornbread can be used as a crusty golden topping for various skillet suppers. Spread the cornbread batter as evenly as possible, making sure it reaches all the way to the rim of the pan.
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil,
rendered lard, or chicken fat
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 to 3 fresh hot red or green chiles, diced (optional)
- 1 tsp ground chili powder
- 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 2⁄3 cup tomato-based barbecue sauce
- 1⁄3 cup water
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Cornbread Topping Ingredients
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 3⁄4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tbsp melted butter or rendered lard
- 11⁄2 cups fresh corn kernels (frozen if fresh are unavailable)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. To prepare the beans, heat the oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, bell pepper, chiles, and chili powder in the oil until onion is soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the beans, barbecue sauce, and water. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and season to taste.
- To prepare the cornbread topping, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, beat together the egg, milk, and butter. Pour the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture along with the fresh corn kernels, and stir just until moistened. The batter will be lumpy. Spread the batter as evenly as possible over the beans in the skillet.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is golden and firm. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
- Sweet Corn Off the Cob: Candied Corn Recipe
- Deluxe Corn Risotto Recipe
- Pan-Seared Corn and Pepper Salad Recipe
Andrea Chesman cooks, writes, and teaches in Vermont, where she lives on a 1-acre homestead. Her book 101 One-Dish Dinners is available below.