Sweetcorn and Red Pepper Cornbread

Cornbread!  So named for the cornmeal that gives it that vibrant orange colour.  Not a true bread, in the sense that it isn’t a dough so much as a better, but it serves some very important purposes.  It also comes together far quicker, taking only about 40 minutes from start to finish!  Perfect for mopping up the remains of a stew or soup, or a gorgeous delivery system for cream cheese and other spreads to the mouth.  I’m amazed cornbread hasn’t really made much of an impact here in the UK – many people I’ve spoken to in the past week haven’t even really heard of it!  But across the pond it’s a true staple.  It’s almost like a soft, savoury cake.

Wherever you’re from, though, this particular cornbread will go down a treat!  I’ve added some juicy red pepper and sweetcorn, as well as sauteed onions and garlic to liven up the flavour profile of the cornbread itself.  Served with some BBQ pulled lamb and blue cheese, this was an absolutely DIVINE little lunch to have in the sun.  With plenty leftover too, I had some as a mid-evening snack in front of the TV.

A quick word on cooking vessels – it seems the popular consensus is that this works best in a hot cast iron skillet.  Not having one myself, I just used a large cake tin I had.  You could also use a pie dish, or another oven safe dish.  There’s also no reason it has to be circular – a ceramic roasting dish would also suffice.  Or you could divide it into muffin tins to make individual portions.

Ingredients – for 1 x 23cm circular cornbread

  • 180g plain flour
  • 230g cornmeal – ideally coarse, but fine will work, though you may want to veer closer to 240g
  • 2-3 tbsp fat – oil or melted butter
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 360ml buttercream (in a pinch, yogurt or sour cream thinned out with a little milk will work)
  • 4tbsp sugar
  • 2tsp salt (plus some large crystals for topping)
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • Red pepper, diced
  • Sweetcorn
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. Dice and fry your onion over a low heat for 5-10 minutes until soft and beginning to brown.  Add the minced garlic for the last 2 minutes of cooking time.
  3. Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl and whisk together.
  4. In a separate jug/bowl mix the eggs, buttermilkfatonion, pepper, sweetcorn and garlic together.  Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet stuff and mix well to combine – you don’t need to over mix this, though, as we don’t particularly want air bubbles to form.
  5. Grease the cooking vessel well, and if not using cast iron, you may want to line the base with baking parchment, as this has a tendency to stick.  Pour in the cornbread batter you’ve just made and sprinkle the top with a little extra salt.  Use the back of a spoon/spatula to even out the top, and then bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until slightly risen and golden brown on top.  Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.  Slice and serve hot or cold.

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