Have you ever “misplaced” something in your own home that you absolutely knew you had laid your eyes on just days before? It was right there, and then magically, or better yet, mysteriously, it went missing. You think you are loosing your mind. Well, suffice it to say that this recipe actually calls for blue cornmeal. Let me also say, that assuming you have blue cornmeal, and you don’t misplace it as I did mine, then by all means use it in this recipe.
Cornbread and I go way back. From the unsweetened, coarse grain, baked in a cast iron skillet version – to the little box picturing a corn muffin on the front and wielding an almost cake-like sweetness – it took many years to settle on my palette’s preference for this southern staple. When it comes to cornbread, there is quite a debate about what constitutes “authentic”. Ask a dozen people and you will get a dozen different answers. But in the end, it is the subtlety sweetened and finer crumb version that covers all the bases for what I require out of a cornbread. After that, the variations are endless – as this recipe shows. Going one step further, I topped mine with softened butter mixed with finely diced shallots and some minced cilantro. A sprinkling of Aleppo Pepper ( if you haven’t discovered it yet I highly recommend you check it out) adds a final layer of color and flavor.
Aside from cornbread, my relationship with ground corn started out slowly, building as my exposure to dishes like grits, hush puppies, johnnycakes and polenta (in that order) crossed my path. When I was a young girl my family took a trip to the south. Grits were on every menu and my parents insisted we give them a try. Not a great first encounter. I wasn’t sure what all the hype was about. Fast forward many years – a second chance and I became an instant fan. Now, I could eat cornmeal in some form every single day. I find it to be both satisfying and soothing – comfort food at its best.
As for the missing “blue” cornmeal I knew was somewhere in the house – yep, there it was. The day after baking this recipe, I opened the door to my refrigerator (I store grains there to maintain freshness) and it was staring right at me. (Did I mention that my hunt had taken me there three different times.) Hopefully, this will be one post that my husband doesn’t read. I can’t tell you how often he will be searching for something in the refrigerator and asks me where it is because he can’t find it. After retrieving for him the item in question, my response is always the same. With a bit of a condescending tone – I say – “you know, if it were a snake , it would have bitten you. Boy, will I be eating crow after this one!
This recipe harnesses cornbread’s versatility and takes it in a “Mexican style” direction. Roasted poblanos chilies, goat cheese and creamed corn add layers of texture and flavor. Try it with a bowl of chili, a roasted chicken, or swap it for biscuits and serve it along side your morning eggs.
Green Chile and Goat Cheese Cornbread
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup fine to medium grind cornmeal (can substitute blue cornmeal)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 15-ounce can cream-style corn
1 poblano or Anaheim green chili, roasted, peeled, seeded, and minced, or 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
5 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 375˚F. If using a cast iron skillet, spray with cooking spray and place in the oven as it preheats.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and the sugar until creamy. Add the cornmeal and beat until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fluffy after each addition.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the cornmeal batter and beat well with the mixer. Fold in the corn, chiles, and crumbled goat cheese until evenly distributed.
Pour the batter into a greased hot 10-inch skillet, or a greased 10-inch springform pan or 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven about 35 to 40 minutes, until golden around the edges and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.