Cornbread with a Twist
- by Dana Jacobi
Gone with the
Wind is not my favorite film. Sure Clark Gable sizzles, but Scarlett
OHara gives me a pain. Similarly, I dig a spicy bowl of
gumbo, but while others rhapsodize over a heaping platter of
fried chicken, or vie to share recipes for the best grits ever,
my mind wanders. It makes me wonder if a gene is missing from
my culinary DNA. Isnt worshipping Southern cooking, well,
almost synonymous with loving food?
Happily, I have
finally found a dish with Southern roots that I do adore. In
fact, I like it as much as Yankee cornbread, the kind made in
New England, which is closer to home for me, as a New Yorker,
than the Mason-Dixon line. As fits austere New England standards,
Yankee-style cornbread is dense and intense, with pronounced
corn flavor, a definite contrast to Southern versions, which
are sweet, have a fluffy crumb, and are either smoky-tasting
from bacon drippings or dripping with butter.
also modify corn bread, enjoying it in various forms, from fried
hush puppies to creamy spoon bread so soft it must be spooned
from the pan. The corn treat I have come to love is close to
this spoon bread. Made with whole-grain stone-ground cornmeal,
it includes whole corn and a nice portion of Vidalia or other
sweet onion. One tablespoon of sugar gives it a hint of sweetness,
while green chiles add a nice kick.
But what makes
this spoon bread truly special is the addition of black beans.
Always delicious paired with corn and chiles and as creamy as
classic Southern recipes for this beloved side dish, this version
of cornbread is substantial enough to serve as a main dish casserole,
too. Add a mess of slow-simmered collard greens on the side,
and bon appetit, yall.
with Black Beans - Makes 12 servings.
This makes a
moist, almost-pudding cornbread when served fresh and hot. It
should be served hot or warm.
3 Tbsp. canola
3/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
Nonfat cooking spray
1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chile peppers, drained
1 cup defrosted frozen yellow corn kernels
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
In small skillet,
heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook
until translucent, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
Place rack in
upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 9-inch
square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In large mixing
bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda
and salt. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg and
remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Mix in chile peppers. Add wet ingredients
to dry and mix with a wooden spoon, being sure to reach bottom
of the bowl to combine them fully. Do not over mix. Mix in corn,
1 cup of beans and cooked onions just until combined. Spread
batter evenly in prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining beans evenly
over top of batter.
Bake for 30
minutes, until cornbread is golden and feels firm to touch when
lightly pressed in center and knife inserted comes out slightly
streaked with moisture. Let cornbread sit for 5 minutes, then
turn it out onto wire rack. Using second rack, or serving plate,
flip cornbread to top-side up. Cut cornbread into 9 squares and
170 calories, 5 g total fat (< 1 g saturated fat), 26 g carbohydrate,
6 g protein, 5 g dietary fiber, 310 mg sodium.