Cornbread is the perfect accompaniment for just about anything, but it really comes into its own as one of the great southern barbecue side dishes, or a chilli bread, or even as a dessert if it’s made sweet.
A quick bread from the Native American tradition, cornbread is an American staple that is usually leavened with baking powder and made with buttermilk. If done correctly, it can be relatively straightforward to make the crumb light and the outer crust crunchy.
This homemade cornbread comes from Basics With Babish, an online resource for learning how to do the basic kitchen tasks well, from pizza dough to Bolognese and braised short ribs. There’s an easy-to-follow recipe and instruction video for all you’ll need.
For this great recipe, you’ll need a cast-iron skillet, and the recipe calls for lard and 1 and ½ cup of buttermilk and melted butter at room temperature. If you can’t find buttermilk you can add a squeeze of lemon juice to regular milk, or at a pinch, white vinegar. The first step is to mix together the dry ingredients, 2 cups of finely ground cornmeal, a teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of baking powder in a mixing bowl. Separately, whisk together 2 eggs and the buttermilk and then add the cornmeal.
In your baking pan or cast-iron skillet, (you can use a baking dish if you need to), melt ½ a cup of lard on medium heat and then pour the batter, about half the mixture, and mix to combine. Turn up the heat to high, and cook to form a crispy crust on the bottom, then add the rest of the batter. Then place into a preheated oven at 425 degrees-Fahrenheit oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until set.
When the cornbread has a deep golden-brown crust around the edges it is done - check with a toothpick inserted and if it emerges dry, you’ll know it’s ready. Check out also Basics With Babish’s Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread recipe for a real southern flavour.