Cornbread is more than just a bread to accompany a meal. The ideas and memories associated with a good pan of cornbread tell a story about family life in the south. Its history is rich. Below the Mason-Dixon Line, cornbread is a way of life. There are as many cornbread recipes as there are cornbread cooks. Every southern cook has her own way of making cornbread, and each family has its own distinctive flavor to enjoy.
The starting point to the perfect pan of cornbread is the cast iron skillet. Sure, you can make cornbread in a metal or glass baking dish, but if you want the full cornbread experience, you definitely need to make it in a cast iron skillet. And if you can find one that belonged to your grandmother, it will probably taste even better.
Start by melting a stick of butter in the skillet in the oven on 450 degrees.
While you are waiting on the butter to melt, mix together the rest of your ingredients in a bowl. You’ll need:
3 cups self-rising corn meal
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
When butter is sizzling and completely melted, you’re ready to remove the pan from the oven. Carefully pour the cornbread mix into the sizzling hot pan, being ever so careful not to splash yourself with hot butter.
Put it back into the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until golden, crunchy brown on top.
Transfer onto a plate and slice into wedges. Cornbread is the accompaniment of choice to any southern meal. Fried chicken – check. Roast and potatoes – yes, ma’am. A big pot of vegetable beef soup – absolutely. As long as it’s made with love and shared with the people who you care about most, cornbread will make any meal perfect!
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