A couple of Sundays ago I visited a dear friend. She’s special to me for many reasons – the first of which was quite obvious at the outset: we both love food. And what makes her even more special? She’s a Southern girl! At any rate, on Sunday we celebrated her latest achievement in life – pregnancy! I made her some simply delicious and comforting cornbread sticks (I think baby was happy). Folks, this recipe is not for the faint hearted (or for vegetarians for that matter). This is not the sweet “cornbread” that Boston Market (or something of the sort) serves. Rather, these are Mimi’s cornbread sticks, also known as authentic cornbread. Simple, savory, and sacred.
1 cup of white water ground corn meal
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/8 teaspoon of baking soda
2 Tablespoons of fat (bacon fat!!!)
1 Cup of Buttermilk
I preface these instructions with the statement that you can use either use cast-iron corn bread pans or a cast-iron skillet. I personally love making them in my cornbread stick pans just like Mimi did (thanks to my love for the pans). You can make a slit right down the middle of the long stick which is perfect for inserting the condiment of your choice (butter for some, but for me it’s homemade hot pepper jelly). But either type of pan is fine!
Preheat your oven at 425 with the cast-iron skillet (be it corn bread pans, or skillet) in the over. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients.
Then add the buttermilk and egg and mix – but don’t over mix. It’s OK if the mixture has a few clumps. Once the pans are HOT, pull them out of the oven and pour a half of a spoonful of hot bacon grease in the pan and spread around. Spoon the batter into hot greased pan. In fact, it should be hot enough that you hear the batter sizzle in the pan as if its frying in the bacon grease. Then put the pan (s) in the oven to cook for 10-15 minutes. The bread tends to cook fast on the bottom. If you feel like it’s not quite done, but getting too dark on the bottom, you can flip it over. This recipe should fill two corn bread stick pans, or one skillet. Remember, these are not supposed to taste sweet. They are very plain and very delicious!