Cornbread is one of those things that works perfectly as a side dish to a hearty meal. Go to any place that serves southern style cuisine in the US and you’re guaranteed to be served a generous hunk of cornbread along with your gumbo, barbecued ribs, etc.
There are many schools of thought on the right way of making cornbread – white cornmeal vs yellow cornmeal, should it be slightly sweet or not have any sugar in it at all and the list goes on. I personally prefer the slightly sweet tasting version. So when I got around to making my own cornbread for the very first time, I went for a recipe that used just the right amount of sugar but also added my own spin with some roasted cumin and coriander to add a spicy note.
Cornbread is traditionally made in a cast iron skillet. The idea being that you heat some form of fat in the skillet on the stovetop first, pour the bread batter into the hot skillet and then finish cooking it in the oven. This gives the bread a nice deep brown base.
I am yet to add a good cast iron skillet to my ever expanding collection of kitchen pots and pans, so I used a 8.5 inch square cake tin instead. This meant that I skipped the step of first heating up the pan. The cornbread still ended up being moist and crumbly and made the perfect foil to that night’s split green pea and ham hock soup dinner.
If you’re looking for an easy side dish for your Thanksgiving feast, this cornbread comes highly recommended.
Savoury Spiced Cornbread (original recipe can be found here)
1 1/4 cups plain/all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1tbsp baking powder
1/4 butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
For the spice mix – in a dry pan placed on medium-low heat, lightly toast 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds. Coarsely grind the cumin and coriander in a mortar and pestle and add 1/4 tsp of ground paprika. You will end up with more spice mix than you need for the cornbread. Feel free to use this based on how much of a spicy kick you want in your cornbread. I used about a teaspoonful of the mix in my batter.
Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Grease and line a 8-8.5 inch square tin and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients along with the spice mix. Add the butter and eggs followed by the buttermilk and whisk until it’s all well mixed.
Transfer the batter to the prepared tin. Place in oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the top is a nice golden brown in colour.
Remove tin from oven and cool for a few minutes on a cooling rack before turning out the bread. It’s best served warm along side with your favourite comfort food. It will also look just fine on a plate loaded with roasted turkey and all the trimmings. So go on and give it a try!