Skillet Cornbread

As a Northern girl who grew up on boxed sweet, cakey cornbread, the discovery of Southern cornbread was a revelation. Coarse and substantial, the color of whole grain mustard, and not the least bit sweet, this bread is meant to be eaten in large wedges with a side of comfort food.

Which works out well, because Summer takes leave of us in mere days, replaced by Autumn and its promise of hot soups, thick stews and tall pies.

Hello, Autumn, come give SoupAddict a big ole hug.

Part of the intrigue of this recipe, courtesy of the Lee Brothers, are the nuances of deliciousness it produces. The buttered skillet goes into the hot, hot oven while you prepare the batter, and what comes out is a big pool of brown butter. Brown butter, people. Cornbread baked in brown butter. Can you dig it? Oh, yeah.

Ever notice how buttermilk always makes bread amazing? Buttermilk and brown butter. There’s no way this recipe could lose.

And you know what else? It’s fabulously fun to make. One bowl, one whisk, stir and pour. And that’s all, she wrote.

Oh, and one oven mitt. Seriously, be careful with the hot pan. Have you ever burned your hand on a oven-scorched pan handle? No? Excellent. Because you don’t ever wanna. Ever, ever, ever. Trust SoupAddict on this one.

Skillet Cornbread

adapted from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6 generous wedge slices

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups stone-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups whole or lowfat buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet with 1 tablespoon butter and place the pan in the oven.

Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk the egg in a smaller bowl until well-beaten and slightly frothy, then beat in the buttermilk. Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Then whisk in the melted butter.

Carefully remove the skillet from the oven (it will be hot!). The butter will be melted and starting to smoke. Pour the batter in — it will sizzle and begin bubbling. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to set for a few minutes before slicing into wedges.

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