Cheesy Mexican Cornbread & Smashed Pinto Beans

Bread, Main Courses, Sides, Southern / Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

For lo these past 16 months, some of our neighbors have given us odd looks and not really said much.

Actually, I’ve been OK with that, especially since the day I saw a few of the men in their backyard hunting for something. With guns. In a fenced-in backyard spanning less than an acre of manicured grass and concrete lawn cherubs.

Bang! Bang!

So, we didn’t think they were quite right. And it turns out, they’ve felt the same way about us.

I was walking Henry the Wonderdog, and one of the women who lives there stopped me.

She said, “I talked to your brother the other day.”

I said, “Jeff? Oh, he’s not my brother. He’s my husband.”

She looked down for a second and then looked right at me and said, “I thought you two were awful familiar.”

Oh. My. God.

Then she paused and, as if to comfort me, softly added, “Well, you don’t look that much alike.”

So, if you need comforting – say, it’s a gray day or maybe your neighbors have assumed you were in an incestuous relationship with a sibling – I highly recommend a hunk of Cheesy Mexican Cornbread. If you have a Southern granny, you know Mexican cornbread, a simple cornbread amped up with corn, bell pepper, chopped jalapenos and cheese. Seriously addictive.

God is great. Cornbread is good. And neighbors are crazy.

Cheesy Mexican Cornbread

Adapted from “The Nashville Cookbook”

Serves 8

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped bell pepper
  • 1 cup cream-style corn
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapenos (or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or dried red pepper flakes)
  • 1 1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil or bacon drippings
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, buttermilk, eggs, bell pepper, corn and jalapenos.
  3. Heat oil in an 8-inch cast-iron skillet for about 7 minutes.
  4. Pour oil from skillet into the batter. Stir lightly, and pour half of the mixture into the hot skillet. Sprinkle half the cheese on the mixture in the skillet, then pour the remaining cornmeal mixture over this. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve hot.


Smashed Pinto Beans

Adapted from “Southern Living”

Makes 14 servings (serving size: 1/4 cup); 47 calories per serving

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add minced garlic, and sauté 1 minute.
  3. Stir in tomato sauce and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes.
  4. Mash bean mixture with a potato masher until thickened, leaving some beans whole.

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13 thoughts on “Cheesy Mexican Cornbread & Smashed Pinto Beans

  1. That's hilarious! And believe me, it's even creepier when you're hanging out with your brother and people mistake you for his girlfriend/wife.

    1. True, my brother and I frequently eat dinner out and it's funny how many times we'll see a woman sitting alone and end up seeing her give him a hateful expression if he looks at her too long or too often.

  2. What in the world would make people think that two young adults (who apparently don't look alike and seem "awful familiar") living together were siblings? People are so weird.

  3. HA! That story reminds me of the time my husband (boyfriend at the time) and I were cleaning up the yard around the house. My husband was in the front yard talking to our elderly neighbour and I was walking up the walk way beside the house. She says "Is that your BROTHER??" He says "Um no that's my girlfriend". She says "OHH I was wondering why two little boys were living in this house alone!" :| Then she gave us a lecture about living together before we were married… Neighbours sure make life interesting!

  4. Both look amazing and don’t feel bad, I know exactly how you feel. My husband and I dated in college at FSU and people all the time would tell me they saw me and my brother out and I don’t have a brother. Chris and I just have similar coloring!

  5. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!! Oh, Rebecca. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making me laugh today.

    BTW: I turned my hair back to auburn because of the SAME problem. People thought hubs was my brother. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! I feel for ya.

  6. oh my….your neighbors….wow…i mean WOW! at least it's something you can look back on years from now and talk about over a good meal lol
    Can't wait to make the pinto beans…they sound tasty…and I happen to have 2 cans I don't recall buying, wondering what in the heck I was gonna do with them!

  7. OMW, hysterical story…why didn't you play along and give her gas for the year to come???? LOL. Just kidding. The beans and the cornbread look amazingly comforting and wonderful…all those beautiful colors.

  8. I have used several of your recipes and loved them!
    *funny thing is=the same thing happened to us when we moved to Louisville KY.
    even funnier=my hubby name is Jeff. My name=Sissy.
    When they heard him call me, "Hey, Sis…?" well, they thought we were siblings.
    I am 6' tall and blonde. He's 6'3" and blonde.
    Your cornbread rocks!

  9. I had to read that twice to make sure I read that right. *picking jaw off floor* OMG!!! WTF! BBQ! USA!

    Anyway! Found your recipe on FoodGawker & I'm trying it out tonight. Thanks! :D


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