Cheesy jalapeño cornbread

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Cornbread is a southern and country food staple. It seems to go with just about any other traditional southern food or on its own.

Unfortunately, my late grandfather had a habit I hear is common — crumbling it in a glass of milk and drinking it like some kind of carbalicious milkshake. I love my grandfather, but I couldn’t look at him while he was drinking his cornbread. My childhood gag reflex would kick in and I’d squeal for him to cut it out. He never did. The man loved me, but not enough to refrain from traumatizing his firstborn grandchild with cornbread.

The most common accompaniment I see to cornbread here is beans, which are likely something else my grandfather would have loved while I avoided it like the plague (see an upcoming blog post about a baked beans recipe). When my other food option is beans, I will consume cornbread willingly, but that doesn't happen very often.

See, for a long time, I avoided cornbread for reasons other than cornbread milkshakes. It just seemed like it was always so dry and crumbly that it was only good for dumping into improperly thickened chili or smothering with cheese or butter to add some moisture. I decided if I wanted buttery, cheesy bread, I’d just add garlic and make garlic bread (there is nothing garlic can’t solve — it’s magic). I thought that’s just how cornbread was. There were usually too many other options for bread available to choose from when I came into contact with it that I could go years without consuming it.

But recently, someone brought up the menu for a dinner I was going to — soup and cornbread. I didn’t really have time to make soup, so I offered to make some cornbread, even if I didn’t plan to eat it. Then I thought about cheesy jalapeño cornbread and relented a bit on whether I'd eat it. Then I found *this recipe* on Pinterest from *The Yummy Life* and, at least with this recipe, the blog lives up to its name.

Personally, I find that cornbread that includes full kernels of corn and/or cheese really helps keep the bread from getting dry. This recipe not only has both of those elements, but also a can of drained green chiles, leaving this cornbread only a bit crumbly, but in a good way, rather than a dehydrated one.

Start with combining cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, cumin and black pepper. The recipe has an option for using powdered buttermilk instead of the liquid kind, and if you choose to use that, include that here, too.

In another bowl (or not, I mean really, who has time to do all the extra dishes?), add buttermilk or water if you’re using powdered buttermilk, an egg and honey if you’re using it (I didn’t), and combine until it’s just mixed together.

Then fold in chopped green onions, corn (fresh, canned or frozen), minced or chopped jalapeño (leave the seeds out if you like it more mild), a can of chopped and drained green chiles and some shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese. Because this isn’t diet food, you can use full or low-fat cheese, but not fat free. Not only will that take away from some of the flavor, but it won’t work into the bread the same way.

The recipe calls for having preheated a pan or cast iron skillet in the oven, but I didn’t do that, either. I oiled my cast iron (because, unless you need it to be muffins or don’t have cast iron, why would you use anything else?) and poured the batter in to bake at 400ºF for about 25 to 30 minutes until it was golden brown and … oh my gracious … when it’s golden brown …

Y’all, I’ve never experienced corn bread like this.

The hardest part is letting this cool and firm up a bit to make it easier to cut.

And as fattening as this sounds with the cheese and all, it’s really not terrible, nutrition-wise. I mean, don’t live on it, but the 174 calories per serving (it serves nine) is totally worth it. Done right, this tastes like it’s much more expensive calorie-wise than it is.

You need to try this.

And keep it out of that glass of milk. That’s nasty.

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