Thursday, November 15, 2012

Southern Cornbread from Scratch

Today in the Carolinas the weather was cold and wet and windy. Exactly the opposite of what we like here in the south! So, like any southern lady would do, I made a meal of warm comfort foods to fend off the cold outside. Homemade vegetable soup is easy and the crock pot is a great way to simmer it all afternoon to fuse the flavors. And what goes great with vegetable soup? Some good ol' southern cornbread, of course! 

I've never made cornbread completely from scratch, but wanted to try. We've been actively trying to eat less processed and pre-packaged foods. 

I pulled from my collection of old cookbooks a book on southern breads. I quickly found a recipe that seemed simple enough for any cook. I modified it slightly, as I tend to do with any recipe and is often necessary with old recipes, which call for ingredients that we just don't have. The result was absolutely delicious!

I started with locally ground corn meal. Always support the local economy if it's a possibility! Blackwell Mills is about 1/2 an hour from my home and delivers to the local Piggly Wiggly stores. 

Measure 4 cups of plain corn meal and mix with 2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons baking soda.

Stir in 4 cups of buttermilk, a little at a time, and 4 beaten eggs. 

The result will be a thin, creamy batter. To this, add about 1/4 cup bacon drippings (I added the bacon to the vegetable soup, yummy!) and 1/4 cup melted shortening. 

I love this next part! Cooking it in a cast iron skillet! I just love cooking with cast iron!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease the inside of 10 inch cast iron skillet and place in the hot oven for about 3 minutes to get it very hot. Remove from oven and pour the batter into the pan. 

Immediately put the skillet filled with batter into the oven and turn the temperature up to 450 degrees. Bake for about 40 minutes till a fork inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and spread butter generously across the top. It will melt on will seep into the cracks. 

Finally we cut the warm cornbread and served it with the vegetable soup.

It was moist, delicious, and definitely comfort food!

See this recipe and more homemaking tips and ideas at the Making A Home Homemaking Linky.


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