Cornbread baked in a cast-iron skillet is a simple, rustic pleasure that can be adapted any way you like. It can be a little sweet, or a little bit savory. You can add cheese or bacon, or just enjoy it hot out of the oven slathered with butter and a dab of honey. You can dress it up or you can dress it down, but it's always a welcome addition to the Thanksgiving table.
- 1/2 cup canola oil or other vegetable oil
- 1½ cups yellow cornmeal
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1½ cups half-and-half or whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
- 3 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1. Preheat an oven to 450°F.
2. Pour the oil into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and heat in the oven until the oil is almostsmoking, 5-10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the half-and-half and eggs. Stir the half-and-half mixture into the cornmeal mixture. If making spicy corn bread, stir in the cheese, onion and jalapeños.
4. Remove the skillet from the oven and slowly add the hot oil to the batter in 3 additions, stirring between additions. Spoon the batter into the hot skillet and return to the oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 400°F. Bake until a knife inserted into the center of the corn bread comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.
5. Transfer the skillet to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge and turn the corn bread out onto the rack. Invert the corn bread and serve warm or at room temperature.