Sweet Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

Bread, Meatless / Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Today, Barefoot Bloggers around the world are posting Ina Garten’s Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread. It’s a recipe she prepared on her TV show, “Barefoot Contessa,” for an episode called “The Cat’s Away.” Apparently, when Ina’s husband Jeffrey is away, she makes herself a pan of jalapeno cheddar cornbread and a steaming pot of Mexican chicken soup.

When my husband Jeff is away, I make myself a bowl of Fruity Cheerios.

Jeff’s working late this week, so it seemed like a good time to try Ina’s way. Be warned, her cornbread recipe has a few stunning omissions: a cast-iron skillet, buttermilk, and bacon fat. (Special note to my mom: I KNOW! Maybe they don’t have bacon in Connecticut.) Her cornbread also has three times more flour than cornmeal. Barely yellow, bless its heart.

But I think the Contessa is on to something. The cakelike crumbs soak in soup like a sponge without completely falling apart. And the fresh jalapeños add just enough spice to save the cornbread from being too sweet.

I guess we all have certain things we eat when the cat’s away. Ina has her cornbread and soup. I have my Fruity Cheerios or something Jeff doesn’t like (i.e. fruit salad, brie and crackers, a smoothie). So, I’m curious. What do you have for dinner when it’s just you? Do you make a serious effort or go for the Meal of Least Resistance?

P.S. I’ll get to the soup tomorrow! It’s fast, summery, and delicious hot or cold. Plus, it’s red. Bonus!

Sweet Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

Adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa at Home”

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
  • 8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions
  • 3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeño peppers
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter.
  4. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don’t overmix!
  5. Mix in 2 cups of the Cheddar, scallions and jalapeños, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cornbread 2

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20 thoughts on “Sweet Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

  1. Beautiful cornbread..but, gosh, Southern folks don’t use yellow cornmeal. I think this is prettier with the yellow, but we really don’t cook with yellow cornmeal. Ours is nice and white and probably has no nutritional value at all. I am amazed you could even find it!

  2. Looks great! And I am like you – my husband travels often and those are the nights when I have cereal, mac n’ cheese, or make fast food or take out runs for dinner!

  3. My husband works a lot of nights and we do breakfast for dinner, cereal or eggs! Your cornbread looks delicious and sounds wonderful with soup!

  4. Fruity cheerios works. You are so funny! The cornbread is good though, isn’t it? I absolutely LOVE the color contrast between your cornbread and the soup. I can’t wait till youpost the soup recipe! Beautiful and I know, tastey. =D

  5. That looks SO great on top of the soup! I can’t wait to see that recipe.

    My husband can’t eat tomatoes (I know, horrible) so I have Italian whenever he is gone… every single time! :) I always laugh when I see all the stuff Ina makes when she’ll be gone. I guess there’s a reason she and Jeffrey are so happy together!

  6. It looks really yummy. I thought this tasted more like cake then the usual cornbread I am used to eating. I can’t wait for the soup recipe, it looks delicious as well!

  7. Oh my gosh, this looks so amazing. I’m afraid I also like to make something spectacular when hubby is away – something he does not like. Normally something HOT as he does not like chili. This would fit that category just perfectly. Beautiful pics, too!!

  8. I loved this, but have trouble calling it cornbread…how can it be cornbread if you don’t cook it in an iron skillet?

    Anywho…you just can’t beat a tomato sandwich in the summer when you are dining alone.

    Can’t wait for the soup recipe.

  9. This was the least “corn” cornbread I have ever made as well. But it was good. As for dinner alone – if I am totally alone and don’t have to at least attempt something healthy for the kids – chocolate malt and popcorn. Can’t be beat.

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