MISSISSIPPI
DELTA CORNBREAD

Cornbread IngredientsLined up across the top of my stove, check out all you need to make perfect cornbread.

  • Milk
  • Oil
  • Corn Meal Mix
  • An Egg
  • A Cast Iron Skillet

I use olive oil because it's heart healthy. If you want to make cornbread like Muddy Waters's momma and my momma made it, use bacon drippings. If you want to be really heart healthy, use the white of an egg and feed the yoke to the cat. Be aware that your cornbread won't stick together very well and that cats should watch their cholesterol too. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, you need to buy one. You've got no business trying to make cornbread without a cast iron skillet.

This recipe calls for a 6 ½ inch skillet, Lodge Manufacturing # 3SK2. It makes plenty of cornbread for two people. If you double the recipe, use an 8 inch skillet, Lodge # 5SK2. It makes plenty of cornbread for four people. Double everything but the egg.

       Here's the 6 ½ inch skillet recipe:
  • 1 cup cornmeal mix
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons oil
    (1 for the batter, 1 for the skillet)
         Here's the 8 inch skillet recipe:
  • 2 cups cornmeal mix
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons oil
    (2 for the batter, 2 for the skillet)

Notice that my recipe does not call for sugar. Real cornbread does not contain sugar. If you insist on putting sugar in your cornbread, click here. You just got throwed out of the juke joint. Go bake a cake.

(Yes, I said throwed. You get thrown out of lounges and white people blues bars.
You get throwed out of juke joints and honky tonks.)

Here's the secret to making cornbread that doesn't stick to the skillet: get the skillet very hot before pouring in the batter. »  »  »  »  »  »  »  »  »  »  »  »  »  »  »  »  »  »  

 

 

The steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°
  2. Mix batter
  3. Put 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil in skillet and heat on low flame on stovetop burner
  4. When oil in skillet is smoking-hot, pour in batter
  5. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes
  6. Broil, toast, for 1 or 2 minutes

Pouring the batter
It doesn't show in the picture, but the oil in the skillet is smoking.
Ready for the oven
Notice the crinkled edge of the batter. The skillet was so hot that the edge and bottom of the batter are already cooked.

A fine pone of cornbread Check out the beautiful results. If I can make cornbread like that in my el cheapo toaster oven, think of what you could do in your built-in computerized marvel.

Notice the dark brown spots. I added 1/8 cup of imitation bacon bits to the batter for extra flavor. The batter was a little thin, so most of the bacon bits floated to the top during the cooking process. Add some ground-up cracklins, and you've got a Southern delicacy–cracklin cornbread.

Can't buy cracklins in New York City? Well, click here and I'll show you how to make them.

In addition to cracklin and bacon bits added to the batter, some of us Delta/Southern folks like to add 1/8 cup of chopped jalapenos or grated cheese or whole kernel corn. Heck, throw ‘em all in there together if you want. Just don't put sugar in it and call it cornbread.

CornbreadThe 1 cup recipe will fill 6 holes in a Lodge #8CB2 Cornbread Skillet. When you take it out of the oven run a knife blade along the straight edges and out pops the little individual slices.

I flavored this batch of cornbread with a fresh, home-grown, chopped-up jalapeno pepper. Man, did it ever taste fine with a bowl of crock-pot lima beans which, by the way, were flavored with a home-smoked ham hock which, by the way, came from a wild pig.

That skillet belonged to my sainted mother.

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