I’ve preached before about my love of cast iron (reasons you should own a cast iron skillet). At the end of the day it’s one of the best and most economical pieces of kitchen equipment you can get.
Sometimes I think it’s forgotten that cast iron is one of the best ways to bake. It distributes heat really evenly and gets really hot which is great for some baking recipes. I’m not sure I’d use it for some desserts, but it’s awesome for sturdy breads.
Case in point: Cornbread. Cornbread is more sturdy than your normal bread and can stand up to the heat of cast iron. Actually it benefits from it because it develops a nice crust around the edges which is oh so delicious.
This version is studded with a few of my favorite things: cheddar cheese and jalapenos!
1) Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl and wet ingredients in a smaller bowl. When whisking your melted butter into your eggs and milk, make sure it's not too hot or you'll make scrambled eggs. Also, grate your cheese and dice up your jalapenos and scallions.
2) Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until batter is together. Some lumps are fine. Then stir in cheese, jalapenos, and scallions. Leave a few tablespoons of scallions and cheese to top the cornbread.
3) Let the batter sit for 10 minutes.
4) Pour the batter into a cast iron skillet. I recommend rubbing the cast iron skillet with a bit of butter just to make sure the cornbread doesn't stick.
5) Bake at 350 degrees until the cornbread is set and the edges are browned, about 30 minutes. Check it with a toothpick in the center.
6) Cool for a few minutes before serving.
Making the batter
This batter is about as easy as it gets. I like to use a medium sized cornmeal for my cornbread which gives it a nice texture with a bit of bite to it. If you like yours softer, go with a fine grained cornmeal.
For this batter, the only important thing is to keep your dry ingredients and wet ingredients separate until they are all mixed up. This really just helps everything combine evenly.
So combine your dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl.
When you whisk your melted butter into the eggs and milk, make sure it’s not too hot or you’ll just make scrambled eggs.
Also get your add-ins all set before you mix together your batter. I would definitely seed the jalapenos but if you want it really spicy you can leave them in I guess.
On the scallions, chop the whites and the greens. You can and should use both.
Once everything is ready, stir your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients. It should be a pretty wet batter. Then add in your jalapenos, cheddar, and scallions. Leave about 2 Tablespoons of cheese and scallions to go on as a topping.
Let this batter sit for about 10 minutes to give the cornmeal a chance to absorb some of the liquid.
Baking the dish
Pour all your batter into your cast iron skillet. While it shouldn’t stick to the pan if your skillet is seasoned well, I went ahead and rubbed a bit of butter in my pan just to make sure.
Then add all your toppings!
Bake this at 350 degrees until the cornbread is set in the middle and the edges are nicely browned. This will most likely take 25-30 minutes, but check on it regularly and test it with a toothpick in the center to make sure it’s set.
Let it cool for a few minutes before slicing into it.
There’s a lot of flavor in this bread. It’s spicy, but the cornbread mellows out the heat really nicely. The cheese just kind of takes it over the top because you’ll hit these patches of melted cheese in the bread.
You could serve this as a side, but honestly, it was hearty enough for me just to eat as a breakfast in itself.
Mark this down as yet another chapter in the book of cast iron praise!