What is skillet cornbread?
What exactly is skillet cornbread?Debates of Cornbread have sparked food fights across the nation. Some say Northern Cornbread is better, while the Southerners hold the title for Cornbread eating nation: they'll have it on the side of fried chicken, collard greens, bacon and eggs. Actually, on everything and anything that needs a side, cornbread is there!
Before getting into what skillet cornbread is, let's differentiate Cornbread from the South and the North of the United States. Northern Cornbread tends to be sweeter and combine both white and yellow cornmeal, while Southern Cornbread tends to be on the more savory side and mostly using white cornmeal. In the South, cornbread is treated more as a side than as a bread course and it's usually lower in height, with a more crumbly texture. The North differentiates because of the color, as well as the height; this cornbread is more like a moist cake than a side to collard greens and is typically served with whipped butter and honey.
Now, what is skillet cornbread? By technique, it is when cornbread batter is poured directly into a cast iron pan that has been heated, with bacon drippings or lard coating the inside.
When the cornbread batter is poured into this hot grease, a crust will start forming immediately. It is then placed in the oven to continue cooking and is done when the center is set and a golden crust is covering the top.
Bacon drippings are important, as this imparts flavor and texture. Butter can also be used but burns at a lower temperature. Save the drippings when you fry bacon in the fridge and add to the hot pan. You can also add bacon fat to the cornbread batter.
Southern bakers describe it as "Southern 'Manna' cooked in a cast iron skillet; moist with corn in the middle and cracklin' on top. Eat w/ Chili, BBQ, Pot Liquor," which makes it sound like the perfect accompaniment to any meal, Southern or not! You can grind your own cornmeal and even add fresh corn kernels to the batter for added texture and a pop of sweetness.
Make Whipped Honey Butter for Skillet Cornbread:
Purchase local honey and butter. Set the butter to warm at room temperature for an hour and when it is soft, but not melted, fold in 3 tablespoons of honey to a stick of butter. Add a pinch of salt and if you like heat, add some chopped jalapenos. Roll soft butter into a parchment paper roll and refrigerate until it is hardened. Serve over hot Skillet Cornbread.
Special Touches for Skillet Cornbread:
Add the following ingredients into the cornbread batter for a different, but still delicious, skillet cornbread:
* 1 chopped roasted red pepper
* 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
* 1 cup chopped bacon chunks, cooked
Serve alongside pulled pork, collard greens, or anything with a Southern twist. A perfect breakfast bread that would pair with eggs and sausages. Pour some gravy over everything and you are ready to start your day.