I’m always on the lookout for interesting variations on the corn bread theme, and even more so when leaves turn glorious shades of russet and crimson and nights turn cool. I LOVE corn bread–especially Aunt Elfred’s Corn Bread, which is high, light, and tender, with the requisite depth of cornmeal flavor and tantalizing aroma.
Whenever I see an interesting corn bread recipe, I don’t bother with the basic formula, as I’m confident that no corn bread formula (and I’ve tested a gazillion) is better than Aunt Elfred’s.
Thus, as I was perusing a stack of cookbooks the other evening and ran into a little gem from The Beerbistro Cookbook, titled Farmhouse Cheddar Biscuits, rather than running to the kitchen to test the recipe, I simply noted these ingredients: buttermilk, cheddar cheese, chipotle chile, and green onion. When I did get around to testing the concept, I added garlic.
The result was predictably wonderful. Even with a full load of cheese, the corn bread is suprisingly light.
Note Unfortunately, my mini popover pans are in Portland (without me), so I used a mini cheesecake pan instead. A standard muffin pan might have been a better choice.
Chipotle Cheddar Corn Bread
This cornbread is almost a meal, with its generous quantity of cheddar cheese and other savory elements. And although I do not usually serve corn bread with honey, for some reason this corn bread cries out for it. I even found myself wishing for Honey Butter, which is simple enough to whip up if the mood strikes you.
1½ cups King Arthur unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and warm, not hot (vegetable oil also works well here if you prefer)
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup yellow cornmeal
2 cups shredded, aged cheddar (6 ounces)
½ cup minced green onion
1-2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced (use disposable gloves!)
1 clove garlic, peeled, and pressed or minced
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Reserve.
- In another medium mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and cornmeal until thoroughly blended.
- Add the flour mixture, grated cheese, green onions, chipotle chile, and garlic. Fold gently until just combined. The batter will still be a little lumpy.
- Pour into a lightly greased 9- by 9-inch square metal baking pan or fill 12-16 indents of a mini popover or muffin pan about three-quarters full each (add an inch or so of water to any empty indents).
- Bake at 400°, in the upper third of the oven, for 30-35 minutes for the square baking pan or about 20-22 minutes for the popover or muffin pan. When done, the cornbread will be lightly browned on top and will spring back when touched in the center.
- Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack. This corn bread is best served warm, almost right out of the oven.
- Cut into squares or remove from the popover or muffin pan and serve warm with butter and honey if desired.
Makes nine, 3-inch squares or 12-16 mini popovers or standard muffins.