Chef Paul Prudhomme made these popular in the early 1980s, although the idea was around long before then, especially in Texas. You can leave out the cheese and the jalapenos, and substitute other things, like corn kernels, bacon, or green onions. Or add 1/3 cup of sugar to make it sweet.

As usual, I prefer self-rising flour, which I find is not only more convenient but gives a superior result, especially with the acidity in the buttermilk to kick it off.

Corn bread in a cast iron skillet with a bowl of chili in the background

Corn bread in a cast iron skillet with a bowl of chili in the background

  • 2 cups yellow self-rising cornmeal
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups roughly grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2-3 fresh jalapenos, seeds and internal membranes removed, chopped
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and turn on convection if you have that feature.

1. Blend the cornmeal, flour, and salt in a bowl. Blend all the other ingredients except the oil in a second bowl. Dump the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and mix completely. If it doesn’t flow, add a little water.

2. Heat the oil in a large iron skillet, tilting the skillet around to coat the entire inner surface. Add the batter to the pan, bang it down on a towel on the countertop, and put the skillet into the oven for about a half hour at 400 degrees. Check its progress then, and continue baking until the top is lightly brown.

3. Allow the cornbread to cool for five minutes, then cut into squares. This recipe can also be made as muffins, or in those cut little sticks that look like ears of corn.

Serves eight to ten.

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