As some DallasEats readers may recall, last year at this time I was busy working on a review of a new cookbook for San Antonio's alt-weekly, The Current. The cookbook in question was The Cornbread Gospels by Crescent Dragonwagon, and I chronicled my mouthwatering adventures exploring its fascinating subject matter in two posts - here and here.
Dragonwagon, the James Beard Award-winning author of Passionate Vegetarian, turned food historian for her follow-up book, tackling a homespun subject and revealing its deep-rooted relevance to cultures all around the world and right here in our own American back yards. In The Cornbread Gospels she presents dozens of variations on the "basic cornbread" theme (illustrating in the process that cornbread is anything but basic), as well as recipes for cornmeal-based quickbreads, flatbreads, yeast breads and desserts.
I fell in love with this book, quite by accident. Hautily, I'd expected to maintain my professional detachment with ease while working on the project, ambivalent as I'd been about cornbread for most of my life - I'd always thought I could take it or leave it. My first batch of Dairy Hollow House Skillet-Sizzled Cornbread changed all that. The moment I poured golden batter into a pool of butter as it bubbled in my mother's cast-iron skillet, I knew I'd been converted by Dragonwagon's Gospels. I continued cooking my way through the book with a newfound hunger for the soul-warming comfort of cornbread.
Below you'll find Crescent Dragonwagon's signature cornbread recipe (pictured above in the top left quadrant), named for the acclaimed bed and breakfast she ran for many years in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It would pair beautifully with FP's recipe for Green Chile with Pork, presented earlier this week.
Dairy Hollow House Skillet-Sizzled Cornbread
vegetable oil cooking spray
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup mild vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 10-inch skillet with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.
3. In a smaller bowl, stir the baking soda into the buttermilk. Whisk in the sugar, egg and vegetable oil.
4. Put the prepared skillet over medium heat, add the butter, and heat until the butter melts and is just starting to sizzle. Tilt the pan to coat the sides and bottom.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine quickly, using as few strokes as possible. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cornbread is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve.