When I first tried cornbread after moving to Texas a million years ago, it was way too sweet for me. Unnecessarily sweet. And it was always served with honey butter! But when I began making cornbread from scratch, ignoring the sugar, I liked it much better. Besides, corn is already sweet!
The thing I’ve learned about making cornbread is that you can do so many different things to it to make it your own, and really compliment whatever entrée you’re serving it with. Cornbread can be Southwestern with the addition of chipotle chile peppers, or it can be Mediterranean with the addition of olives and feta. You can herb it up in the summer, or add any kind of flavor during the winter months like sun-dried tomato pesto. And, of course, you can always add cheese!!!
Today I wanted my cornbread fairly simple, but I wanted a little flavor enhancement and beautiful color from achiote oil. So here’s my recipe for skillet cornbread with achiote oil.
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons achiote oil, plus a little more
6 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Have a 10″ cast-iron skillet on your stove.
Get your dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside.
Place the buttermilk, eggs, and achiote oil in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth. Have your melted butter handy.
When your oven has preheated, turn on the heat under your skillet and let it pre-heat.
Combine the wet ingredients, including the melted butter, with the dry ingredients, whisking just until smooth.
Using a little achiote oil, grease the skillet. Then pour the batter into the hot skillet, and immediately place it in the oven.
Bake for 18-20 minutes. It should be nice and golden and the middle should be somewhat firm to the touch.
Remove the skillet from the oven and let the cornbread cool a little for about ten minutes. Loosen the sides, then remove the cornbread onto a cutting board. It also works to flip the cornbread upside down on a cutting board.
Slice into wedges and serve warm! I recently served the achiote cornbread with Cuban black bean soup.
I prefer using corn flour or finely ground corn meal if you can find it.