“The North thinks it knows how to make corn bread, but this is a gross superstition. Perhaps no bread in the world is quite as good as Southern corn bread, and perhaps no bread in the world is quite as bad as the Northern imitation of it.”
Oh Mr. Twain sure did get it right. Growing up cornbread was a staple in my house. My mom made it in a cast iron skillet (of course) and it always had this crust that made you thank God you lived in the south.
There have been many iterations of cornbread in my house. Like most things in my kitchen, I find myself trying to find “the one”. The one that never disappoints. For me, this one is just about it. Unless I’m making it for company, I usually leave off the top jalapeños. Sometimes, I throw in fresh corn if I have it or leave out the goat cheese if I don’t have it. It’s very versatile.
This recipe comes from the trusty, Southern Cast Iron magazine, winter 2016 edition. I told you guys…this magazine has some winners.
Just one more thing before I let you get down to it – this is a big ass cornbread. I’m not even joking about this. I have a beautiful oldie but goodie 13″ Griswold that I make it in when I make the full recipe. Otherwise, I cut in in half.
Jalapeño Goat Cheese Cornbread
5 fresh jalapeños halved
3 tablespoons canola oil
4 cups plain yellow cornmeal
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup chopped fresh jalapeños
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
5 cups whole buttermilk
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
4 large eggs
2 (4 oz) packages of goat cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup shredded cheese, optional
Preheat oven to 425. Heat a large (12-13″) cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add halved jalapeños to skillet. Cook until lightly charred on each side.
Next, pour oil into skillet. Place skillet in oven until oil is very hot.
In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, chopped jalapeños, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, melted butter and eggs. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add buttermilk mixture, stirring until combined. Stir in goat cheese.
Carefully pour batter into hot oil in skillet. It should sizzle. Sprinkle with shredded cheese if using, top with charred jalapeños, cut side up.
Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes.
Now this is key so listen up if you want a crispity crust. When it’s done, carefully turn it upside down onto a cooling rack. It should easily just come out of the skillet. Let it cool for a bit. Knock on it, go ahead. You hear that? That’s a crispy crust and you want to keep it like that. But to be fair, if you’ve make it real perty like with the charred jalapeños on top, you may want to skip this step. They may get disturbed.
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