August 14, 2008

Ultimate Corn Bread Recipe

This was posted by guest contributor Chef Jay, an east coast based professional chef.

Among all regional American cooking, Southern food is my kinda everyday food. One thing can’t be missed when serving southern food is cornbread If I eat at any BBQ place or southern style restaurant, my meal won’t be completed without cornbread and butter. Many restaurants in New England do serve cornbread along with their meal as well.

When I worked at The Concord’s Colonial Inn, cornbread was my favorite thing to nip during busy day if I don’t have time to sit down eating whole meal. Pook also love it too. I often had to grab some home for her. The best thing walking into the Inn at 630am was the smell of cornbread and baked good came from the basement of the Inn. People always ask for recipe. We never gave out as it has been our traditional recipe for over 40 years. Later, I found out the secret recipe isn’t real secret. They used corn muffin mix because of convenient purpose. Case closed.

Then, I went to work at Union, known for contemporary American cuisine. Cornbread there is voted “the Best of Boston” since opened. Baked hot in small cast iron pan. I love that recipe too but we used oil instead of butter. To me, butter, lard, bacon fat, pork fat and cow fat makes food so delicious. I will never live my life cooking without using natural fat.

After baking/testing roughly 20 cornbread recipes and a few adaptation over the course of 6 months, This is what I came up with. Sometimes, I make corn bread when I get home after work & feel hungry. It takes a few minute to prepare it. Let it bake when I am in the shower.

Here is the recipe.

1/4 lb butter (1 sticks)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 oz diced, roasted green chilies (Optional, I skipped it this time)
3/4 cups creamed corn (Can) used Del Monte Brand.
(What da heck, throw it the whole can). Do not substitute with kennel corn.
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cups AP flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/s tsp salt

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. When it is smooth beat in the eggs, green chilies, creamed corn and grated cheese. Sift the dry ingredients together and stir into the wet mixture. Bake in a greased cake pan or muffin tins at 350 F (convection oven) for about 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of the baking pan. The objective is to get a toasty crunch on the outside while remaining moist and chewy inside.

I personally pour 1/2 cup water in a small bake tray and put inside the oven while baking cornbread. The steam will make cornbread moist and soft.

I sometimes skip the green pepper but add diced fried bacon with bacon fat into the mixture. The result? You have to try it.

I can only tell you that this cornbread recipe will be served in my future restaurant....

No comments: