No matter how much space you have on your dinner table, or in your stomach when it’s time for seconds, there’s always room for cornbread. It is an ideal side for barbecue favorites, chili, country ham and just about anything else that’s edible and has a little extra juice to it — a vehicle to soak up all of the goodness. But cornbread is much more than just a spongy side item in the South. Here are five easy ways to enjoy cornbread with your meal.
Your turkey is ready to go along with cranberry sauce and collards; cornbread dressing is only thing missing to tie the whole meal together. Whether it’s your grandmother’s secret recipe or one you picked up along the way, make it your own with fresh herbs and ingredients for the best result.
Makes 2 8-inch cakes
Toasted cornmeal can add a surprising nutty flavor to your usual cake recipe. A sweet cornbread cake pairs great with morning coffee or afternoon tea. Just adjust your flour mix by adding 1/3 cup of yellow cornmeal. When decorating the cake, a sweet frosting will complement the cake well.
Makes 5 waffles
No maple syrup here — you’re changing up the usual waffle recipe for something a little more savory. Cornbread savory waffles add shredded cheddar cheese and cornmeal to the batter and cook until they have crispy edges. Best of all? You have a variety of toppings to choose from, including chili, sour cream and of course fried chicken.
Cornbread pie crust
Makes 1 pie crust
There’s nothing better than a house filled with the smell of fresh-baked pie. Give yours a little flavor twist by adding sweet cornmeal to your flour mix to create a cornbread pie crust instead of the usual pan-liner. It’s surprisingly versatile; you can try it on chicken pot pie or your favorite fruit pie. Blueberries go especially great with this crust.
Cornbread hoe cakes
Hoe cakes, a thin cornbread cake made with only three ingredients (water, cornmeal and salt), have been around since the early American settlements. We even hear through the grapevine that it was George Washington’s favorite food. The word hoe is 1600s England slang for “griddle,” the tool used to make the simple cakes. These days, we add a few more ingredients before we fry them up — here’s a recipe that’s great for scooping up your lunch or supper.
1/2 cup self-rising white cornmeal
1/2 cup self-rising flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Butter for frying
In a bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour and sugar. Slowly add buttermilk and stir as you go. Add the egg to the mixture and stir well. Add water and vegetable oil until texture becomes like a thick soup. Add more water if needed.
Heat the skillet over medium heat and add butter until melted. The process is similar to making regular pancakes. Add two tablespoons of the mixture into the skillet, frying the cakes until the edges are crispy and both sides are done. Serve with creamed corn, braised greens or honey.