Friday, December 11, 2009
Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Cornbread
I am just going to come out and say this and I know southerners or any traditionalist for that matter will cringe; I am not a fan of cornbread. I always think it is a little too dry and bland for my tastes. I have had cornbread at restaurants, at friend’s homes and I have made several cornbread recipes myself. Sorry, no dice.
Enter Ms. Smitten Kitchen an absolute treasure to the cooking blogosphere. This recipe just looked so darn good that I knew I had to make it immediately and it has succeeded in turning my dislike of cornbread upside down! It is slightly sweet, moist to the point of almost having a custard like consistency to it, contains a great deal of texture, a bit of tang from the goat cheese and is finished off with wonderful caramelized onions that really bring it over the top. I absolutely could not stop eating this delectable treat and although there is some serious prep time that goes into this, it is so worth it! Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup (6 ounces) coarse cornmeal (also packaged as “polenta”) but regular old cornmeal will also work.
2 cups (16 ounces) buttermilk
1 to 2 tablespoons oil, butter or a combination thereof
1 cup onion in a 3/4-inch dice
1 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounce log of goat cheese, at room temperature for a good while, so it’s very soft
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
The night before baking the cornbread, soak the cornmeal in the buttermilk. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
The next day, prepare the onions. Heat a large saute pan to medium and coat the bottom with 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil, butter or a combination thereof. Add the onions and cook them until they’re well-caramelized with browned edges. Season with salt and set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the goat cheese until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and scraping down the bowl between each. (It may look a little curdly at this point, don’t worry. It all comes back together in the oven.) Add the melted butter, honey, sugar and cornmeal/buttermilk mixture and mix until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined and then stir in the corn kernels, mixing them until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Place two tablespoons of vegetable oil or butter in a 10 inch round cast-iron skillet. Place the skillet in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the fat gets very hot. With good pot holders, remove the skillet and tilt it to grease the corners and sides. Pour in the batter, spreading it evenly and sprinkle the caramelized onion evenly over the top.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cornbread is firm and springing (the baking time will depend on the size and type of pan) and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow the bread to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before slicing it into wedges. Serve immediately.