Southern Style Cornbread
Southern style cornbread contains no flour and no sugar*. It also requires the proper implement, namely a well-seasoned 9" black cast iron skillet. That's why it's also called "black skillet" cornbread.
- 2 cups cornmeal (white, medium or fine, stone-ground) †
- 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder (unless using self-rising cornmeal)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar, maybe* (Read the footnote!)
- 2 medium eggs (or one large egg)
- 1-3/4 cups buttermilk (about)
- 2 tablespoons shortening
Preheat oven to 450F. Put the skillet with shortening in the oven while preheating
Put the the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir with a whisk or sift until well-mixed.
Put the eggs in a 4 cup bowl or measure and whisk until uniform. Add buttermilk to make two cups and whisk to mix.
When the oven reaches 450, pour the buttermilk and egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture and stir to mix. Pour the hot shortening from the skillet into the mixture and whisk in. Pour the mixture into the skillet, return it to the oven, reduce heat to 375, and bake until golden brown on top, about 45 minutes.
When the cornbread is done, invert the skillet over a plate. A golden round of cornbread will fall right out. (If it doesn't, either it's not done, so pop it back in the oven for another five minutes, or your skillet wasn't properly seasoned, and you'll have to dig the cornbread out with a spatula.
* If you are using grocery-store cornmeal, add a teaspoon of sugar per cup of cornmeal to replace the natural sweetness of the corn that was lost in manufacturing and storage. Colonel Beaufort will forgive you. However, if you get good cornmeal, from somplace like Anson Mills, you won't need sugar.
† Anything labeled "cornbread mix" is likely to contan wheat flour and other Yankee-fied stuff.
Orignially posted: 2010-12-27