Learning to cook in cast iron pans is a relatively new endeavor for me. I don’t recall my mother owning (or using) any type of cast iron pan, nor do I have any knowledge of either of my grandmothers using them.
There are a few static rules that go along with this type of cookware, ranging from not using metal utensils on it, seasoning it properly, not using soap to wash them, and NEVER EVER let them air-dry.
Air dry = rust. Speaking from experience…..
Anyway, now that I’ve gotten the hang of how to properly care for these pans, I have been on a mission to utilize them as often as possible. So while J uses the big pots to make gumbo and jambalaya, I set my sights a bit less ~ambitious~ and thus far have mastered making perfect cornbread.
I made a batch of this the other night to accompany the chicken chili that we had for dinner. Leftover bread is delicious lightly toasted and served with jam. Although “leftover bread” is a contradiction of terms in our house…
Cast Iron Cornbread – adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli
1 1/4 cups coarsely ground cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
8 tbs unsalted butter, melted, plus one additional tbs. for the pan
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place a 9-inch cast iron skillet inside to heat while you make the batter.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk in the milk, buttermilk, and eggs. Whisk in the melted butter.
Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Coat the bottom and sides of the hot skillet with the additional tablespoon of butter. Pour the batter into the skillet and place it in the center of the oven. Bake until the center is firm and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot with salted butter.