Sour Cream Cornbread 

I make this cornbread every time I make chili – no, really, every time – I am not kidding. They go together like, I don’t know, but I am sure there is a phrase for it. These two things are just perfect together. At least to me. I am sharing this recipe with a good friend who is a chef at a place we like to go and his chili is just the best every – next to mine of course. Let’s put it this way, I always say when I eat his chili each winter that it is best because it tastes so much like mine, but I did not have to make it. This cornbread, from a great Southern friend, is just my go-to cornbread for chili. It is her family’s recipe and since she was raised in a small North Florida town, it really fits with my style of cooking – Southern, simple, but dead good cooking. I have other cornbread for cornbread dressing, but this is the kind you want to split and put in a toaster oven and smear with good European butter for breakfast – and yes, I do that – if there is any left over (not likely, but occasionally).

dd_17891 cup self- rising corn meal*
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 small can of creamed corn
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients well.  Pour into greased 9 x 9 inch glass baking dish. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.

* 3/4 cup cornmeal + 3 Tbs
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt 

I do not buy self rising anything. There is no need. So I make my own rather than buying and just letting it go bad because I use it so infrequently. I guess it is just because I hate to waste things and I’d rather have control over my ingredients. 

 

Chili Jj

About a zillion years, or at least it feels that way, I found a recipe for Chili El Cid. It was very different than the chili I had grown up with, but it was intriguing beyond words. It was so weird – in a good way. It had a cinnamon stick and a jalapeño that was slit and they both simmered in the chili.dd_1796

Question: Who puts cinnamon in chili?
Answer: A very enlightened person.

Seemed so strange. Still does, but it works so well. The source, originally, was not the Parade Magazine though that seems to be where everyone else knows it from. I found it via my love of Sheila Lukens.

I have to admit, I am not a huge fan of beans in my chili. Not sure what camp that puts me in – maybe Texas, but I do put a few (read: 1 can of light kidney beans, rinsed very very well) for the MotH. It is a concession I am willing to make. Though am still not really a fan, which is interesting since all the chili of my childhood had beans in it.

We have had a bit of a mild winter, even for us, so I have not been in chili mode, but we just are having a crappy weekend this weekend. Windy, rainy, and whatnot, so I think I that fits the bill. Maybe my last chance till next winter.

Steve (MotH) says that it is fine to make chili when it is not cold – he’ll just turn the A/C down and we will make due. He is probably right, but I always hold out hope that we get just a smidge of winter in February. One can only hope.

Olive oil
1 pound ground sirloin
2 hot Italian sausages, casings removed
2 mild Italian sausages, casings removed
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup chili powder
1 Tbs McCormick – Montreal Blend
1 Tbs ground cumin
1 Tbs dried basil
1 Tbs dried oregano
2 – 14.5 ozs cans beef broth
1 – 28 ozs can whole tomatoes
1 – 28 ozs can crushed tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick
1 jalapeño, slit lengthwise 3 times
1 – 14.5 ozs can light red kidney beans, rinsed well, no, really rinsed well, otherwise ugh

Heat olive oil, about 2 Tbs in a large pot.  Add sirloin, sausages, and onion. Once it is all cooked though, with the meat being no longer pink and the onion translucent. Use a potato masher to break the meats up. Add the chili powder, Montreal blend, basil, oregano, and cumin. Cook until the spices are fragrant, a couple of minutes.

Add beef broth and both kinds of tomatoes. Add the cinnamon stick and jalapeño. Bring to a boil briefly and reduce to a simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally while breaking up the whole tomatoes -with said potato masher. When there is about 30 minutes more of simmering to do, add the very rinsed beans. Stir well.

Before serving, remove cinnamon stick and jalapeño – duh. Garnish with grated cheddar, lime crema* and if you are a great person, serve over cornbread.  Yes, I am that person (see below).

*sour cream with some fresh lime juice – sounds cooler to say crema, maybe? Not sure. Yep. It does.

Sour Cream Cornbread – necessary
1 cup of self rising cornmeal (though you can make it from regular cornmeal if you make the correct modifications*)
2  large eggs
1 small can of creamed corn
1 cup sour cream  – full fat people, I mean really?
1/2 cup canola oil

Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Pour into a greased 9 x 9 inch glass baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes. In my opinion – closer to 30 minutes.

From my great friend Dawn, who taught me a great many things about Southern cooking and baking. 

* 3/4 cup cornmeal + 3 Tbs
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

I just do not like to buy self rising anything so …

Sour Cream Cornbread Muffins

I finally decided to make my favorite cornbread recipe into muffins, and I’ll be damned if it did not work out amazingly. I just took my favorite cornbread recipe that I always make for chili and tried to make it in muffin form. I am happy to say it worked really really well. Super happy – yep. dd_1789

1 cup self-rising corn meal*
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 small can of creamed corn – Publix brand is great – like most Publix brands
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients well.  Line a 12-well muffin tin with foil liners and spray with cooking spray. Fill cups 3/4 full – or basically just make them all even so the baking time is the same. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Do the toothpick thing just in case you are wondering.

* 3/4 cup cornmeal + 3 Tbs
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

So this past week I have eaten really moist cornbread muffins for breakfast**. Split in half and put in the toaster oven and heat up and make a little crunchy. And then just go all in with the ridiculously rich European butter – that is some serious good eats. Might be better than biscuits for breakfast but that is almost blasphemy for a good Southern girl to say. Well ….

**Before, I just cut pieces of cornbread and brought them in. But then there was the problem of running out of cornbread for leftover chili, so I went all in – a pan of cornbread and then cornbread muffins – pretty good solution. And more cornbread for me. I didn’t even share this with the office. I think I just might be terrible, no, just selfish.

Cornbread Dressing

I think I have finally found the closest recipe to my mom’s dressing. Either way, I am pleased beyond words on this Thanksgiving night. I have my mom’s recipe via phone from a few years ago, but I really do not have the recipe – just bits and pieces. Things you just listen to and sort of write down. But not really.

This is a recurring theme for me. I know, there are just so many questions that I have unanswered. It is frustrating – very. Well, at least this year I feel I have made progress and that is something.

So here is the 2016 version of dressing. And it was really amazing. There were no left overs after of a couple of days – that should tell you something.dd_1661

1 Tbs olive oil
2 smallish yellow onion, chopped*
5 ribs of celery, peeled**, chopped
10 cups broken up cornbread^
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 cups chicken broth, or more as needed
3 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 250 degrees and toast cornbread for an hour rotating half way through. Increase oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a 12 inch skillet, saute onions and celery until soft, but do not let them brown. Add some water now and then, like my mom did, to steam the vegetables. These smells are Thanksgiving to me and that is what you need to wake up to on Thanksgiving day.

In a really big bowl, mix together vegetables, cornbread, rosemary, thyme, 2 cups of broth and 2 Tbs melted butter. Season with salt and pepper. Important fact – taste this now and adjust seasonings. Then add eggs. My mom’s paranoid ideas about raw eggs.

Spoon into prepared dish. Top with the last Tbs of butter. Bake until lightly browned, about 40 minutes or so.

Source: Modified lots from Taste of the South

* Baseball-sized yellow onion, I hate when a recipe does not give a size. It is annoying.

** Peeled, we, and by that I mean you, do not want strings on you celery. No you do not. At all.

^ bake 2 9″ x 9″ pans of simple plain cornbread – Jiffy mix will work in a pinch. A pinch which I have been in a Thanksgiving or two. But it totally works. It seems like a sell-0ut. Once again, I over think things. Yep

Thanksgiving

My biggest food memory of Thanksgiving is waking up to the smell of onions and celery sautéing for cornbread dressing. My mom always made two pans of cornbread a couple of days before, usually while I was in school, but the dressing wasn’t made until Thanksgiving day. That’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow – and it will be awesome, at least in my mind. I made my cornbread tonight, pretty boring stuff that I wouldn’t eat on its own because I have the best cornbread recipe from one of my very good friends, Dawn. It is such a good recipe that I toast a piece with salted butter for breakfast. Yep, it stands on its own.*

Many years ago, I started making my own cranberry relish – that I also shared half of it with my friend Dawn, so now another Thanksgiving food memory is the smell of orange juice, cranberries, and then the addition of horseradish. I made my second batch tonight – gave away the first batch because so many people like it. It really hit me, making it tonight, how much that is part of my memory. I don’t think it would be Thanksgiving without it – no, I’m sure it would not be.

I think I’ve read the memories of smells are most evocative and I really believe it. Celery and onions are my perfect example, but so is, totally unrelated, diesel fumes in cold weather – to me that will always be London. It happens every time, unbidden, but it always makes me smile. And miss England, again

plain cornbread drying for dressing

Drying Cornbread – for Cornbread Dressing

So here is the cornbread recipe for tonight – just for dressing. The one I plan to leave out overnight to get a bit stale – you need to do that to make the cornbread dressing work. It does make some degree of sense.

Cornbread

1 1/3 cup cornmeal
1 1/3 all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 large eggs
6 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/3 cup buttermilk

Mix together the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. I whisked with a fork. Melt butter and let cool a bit.  Mix into the dry ingredients the buttermilk, and then the three eggs and finally the cooled butter.

Pour into a baking sprayed 8 x 8 pan and bake for 30 minutes, rotating half way through until the edges pull away from the baking dish and the top and bottom seem brown-ish.

Keep in mind this is only for dressing. I don’t think you want to eat this otherwise. Just tried it, and the answer is  – ugh, no.

*See related post that I have yet to write, but since it might (?) be getting close to chili weather, it could happen.

Pre – Thanksgiving Prep Week

For me planning is the ultimate part of putting Thanksgiving together. List-making is a close second, but maybe that’s just me (I know I am a list maker) although it is a close run between list-making and grocery shopping. That said, here are the other things I would like  to get accomplished in the week before Thanksgiving.

Making two pans of cornbread for … wait for it …. cornbread dressing.
Make cranberry relish. It’s better made earlier. Yep.
Toast a pan of bread until dry. For cornbread dressing. My Mom’s instructions.
Roast some sweet potatoes. For Sunday Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Potato Biscuits. I’ve been boiling them, but will roast them this year.
Spinach Dip because the Boy loves it, and secretly, so do I. With Hawaiian Sweet Bread.
Trying a new carrot cake this year and will make the layers ahead.
Pecan pie made a day or two ahead.

Won’t tell you how many of these things I’ve already done.  – Cranberry – yep – sweet  potatoes – yep – bread – yep. Cornbread will be tomorrow, I think. Do have to go grocery shopping again. Seems always to be the case.

So I’m left with the day of making corn pudding, Sunday sweet potatoes, cornbread dressing, sweet potato biscuits, the Boy’s request for Upside Down Butterscotch Apple Sour Cream Cake. Hoping we are eating at about 3:00pm or so, because I’m not getting up early. Just not going to happen.

Oh, and then there is the venison. But that’s an entirely different post.

It is a rant … Dressing vs. Stuffing

It is that time of year … the time when people seem to be very confused by two terms. Stuffing & Dressing. Come, come people! This is not that frigging difficult.
Stuffing – seasoned bread (onion, celery, etc.), used to stuff a bird of some sort and then roasted.
Dressing – seasoned bread (onion, celery, etc.), esp. cornbread in the South, baked in a casseroles dish – read: not inside a bird.
Please do not use these terms interchangeably. They may have, mostly, the same ingredients, but the methodology makes them very different.