To me, cornbread is either really good… or really bad. It can be dry and crumbly or moist and delicious. (This recipe, obviously, is moist and delicious or I wouldn’t be posting it.)
And one of the things I love most about cornbread is how versatile it can be. As you know from most of my blog entries, I love diverse foods. Cornbread’s a great one because you can put anything in it: blueberries and lavender, smoked jalapeno and cheddar cheese, or even – as I’m about to share – mango and red pepper.
Ironically, one of the best cornbreads I’ve ever eaten was made by a guy from New Hampshire. Crazy, I know. But one of the reasons I really like his recipe is because it uses good ol’ fashioned butter – and I know folks in the South use shortening in their cornbread, but I think using hydrogenated oil is a sin because it’s so bad for you, but anyway…
I tried my twist on this recipe out on one of many trips to camp. We were barbequing over an open fire (my killer ribs may soon follow this post) and I was excited to make this cornbread because I very rarely get to use my cast iron skillets over an open fire. This even gave me a golden opportunity to use the tiny little cast iron that my lady got me and it worked beautifully.
INGREDIENTS for a CARIBBEAN CORNBREAD:
1/2 cup mango, small diced
1/4 cup red pepper, small diced
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
1/3 cup coconut oil
3 oz. melted butter
2 T honey
1 ½ tsp salt
Dash of pepper
2 T baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 ¼ cup flour
1 ¼ cup cornmeal
Basically, you just throw all of your ingredients in a bowl and whisk together to make your batter.
I got my skillet as hot as I could over the fire and then put the cornbread batter into the cast iron. Doing all of that will firm up the bottom of the cornbread to make that nice crust. Mmm.
After about 3 minutes or so, the cornbread started bubbling and that’s when I pulled it off to the side – because you still want heat on it, just not direct heat or else it will burn. At that point, I tented some aluminum foil over the top for nice, even cooking, but you can use a lid or even finish it in the oven. Whatever you like.
All depending on your cast iron size and heat from the fire, it takes about 7-15 minutes to finish. I know that’s a large time gap, but sometimes an open flame is harder to gauge in temperature; you’ll be able to tell once it’s firm on top and golden brown. And, to be sure, you can insert a toothpick into the center and if it comes out clean, you’re done.