Back in November last year, college mate Sudha shared this recipe on the class TG group, after she’d made it for Thanksgiving.
That was great timing for me, because a dear friend was going to visit that weekend and I was looking around for new ideas for a vegetarian starter to serve with the wine.
The very idea of cornmeal appeals to my Punjabi tastebuds 🙂 Which might explain why I’m drawn to and order polenta, or dishes that include polenta, in restaurants time and again, even though I don’t like very much the way that it’s made ! And, of course, cornbread is one of those American traditions one has read about in so many books, and so, in a way, it didn’t feel like I would be taking on something alien or unknown!
So though I rarely risk trying a new recipe on guests, this time I did, and was so relieved and pleased that everyone loved it!
Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
(this is an improvised version of Chef Ina Garten’s recipe, from the Food Network)
1.5 cups of whole wheat flour and 1.5 cups of plain flour
1 cup of cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1.5 tablespoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of sea salt
2 cups of milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
200 gms of unsalted butter (melted)
200-250 gms of grated Cheddar or Gouda cheese
3 tablespoons of minced jalapeno peppers (fresh or bottled)
Combine the first five ingredients in a mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter and stir into the dry ingredients until the lumps are dissolved. Now add the cheese (keep about 3 tablespoons aside to sprinkle on the top), and the jalapenos, and leave the mixture at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, for about 4 minutes. In the meanwhile lightly oil or butter a baking dish and turn the batter into it. Smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for about half and hour, till the bread tests done (stick in a knife, or a long barbecue stick, to see if it comes out clean. It should). By this time, the top will have a lovely light-brown crust too.
Let the bread cool in the baking dish and then cut into small squares, and serve. You could drizzle a little olive oil on each slice before serving if the bread seems too dry. Another nice accompaniment, we’ve found, is garlic-and-chive flavored cream cheese, if you want to use the leftovers at breakfast as we did !
Best eaten a little warm.