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How To Make The Perfect: Cornbread

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Cornbread is that most essential and vital of Southern staples: eaten as a meal on its own or as an accompaniment to a greater spread, eaten as a savory dish or as a dessert slathered with butter and honey, eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner -- and sometimes all three.

Any good Southerner -- and, by way of subtle extension if you count East Texas and the Gulf Coast as tangentially Southern, any good Texan -- should be able to cook a skillet of cornbread. If you don't know how, you can remedy that with our tried and true cornbread recipe after the jump. But if you're a cornbread connoisseur with a recipe that you think deserves more than just a page in your church women's group cookbook, check out the Martha White® and Lodge® Cast Iron National Cornbread Cook-Off.

Ten finalists in the National Cornbread Cook-Off will compete for a nifty first-place prize that includes a stainless steel gas range that costs more than our car and $5,000 in cash (useful for running gas lines into your house if you win that stove). You must submit your recipe to the contest by March 1. The recipe must contain Martha White cornbread mix, and it must be cooked in Lodge Cast Iron cookware.

To submit your recipe, head over to www.marthawhite.com and click on "News and Promotions." You can also email it to cornbread at dvl.com, along with your name, address, daytime phone number, date of birth and grocery retailer (we dare you to put Circle K as your "grocery retailer").

But for those of you who just came here for a cornbread recipe, look no further.

Creamy Cornbread

Serves 4 (at 2 pieces each)

  • 2 c. stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 c. buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. creamed corn
  • 1 1/2 Tbs vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a well-seasoned (read: good and juicy) cast-iron skillet into the oven while it preheats.

In one bowl, combine the cornmeal, salt, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda and whisk to combine. In a another bowl, combine the buttermilk (we cannot stress enough how important it is to use buttermilk), eggs and creamed corn and stir until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and stir to combine.

Remove the cast-iron skillet from the oven. Carefully add vegetable oil to the cast iron skillet and then pour the batter into the skillet. Bake until the cornbread is golden brown and springs back upon the touch, about 25 minutes. If your skillet is well-seasoned, the cornbread will slip right out and onto your plate.

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