Fat in the fridge. That’s what I’ve been looking at all week. I pulled out a half cup of duck fat from the Fatted Calf’s Duck Confit earlier this week. Three times I pulled it out thinking I was ready to make some corn bread. Each time I was thwarted due to lack of ingredients or inspiration. Yesterday late afternoon I had it all, ingredients & inspiration.
Originally it was supposed to have been done in my little Lodge Cast Iron cactus shaped mold pans. That’s where the recipe came from, attached to the mold. I liked the recipe because it used real shortening or fat, not just salad oil. But having to fill & bake, fill & bake, fill & bake didn’t interest me (I’m a bit lazy), so I decided to use my cast iron skillet instead.
Here’s what you’ll need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup of yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of shortening (lard or duck fat)
1 1/2 cups of milk
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbl finely chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
I didn’t opt in for the optional ingredients. I’m not much for cheese in my bread. Although I am a fresh thyme gnome and added a load of the herb.
In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients; cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl combine the milk & eggs (beat the eggs a bit). This is where I added in some fresh thyme, see?
Add the wet mixture into the dry, mix it nice.
If you are going to use a cast iron skillet, please preheat it for 10 minutes or so. Smoove duck fat over it to make it glistenny.
Here is where I had some trouble, well, you see … I’m not a baker, yet. Since this recipe was included with a little corn bread mold and I wasn’t going to use the mold, I figured I would follow the cooking instructions for a standard corn bread. Which is, preheated oven at 350 and cook for 20 minutes. The mold called for 400 degrees at 15 minutes or so.
I tried it at 350 for 20 and it was only half done, the top had skinned over a bit though. So, I took some cooking spray and sprayed the top (to crisp it up a bit) and yanked the oven to 375 for another 20. It came out fine.
I think next time I would try it at 375 or 400 until done (toof pick comes out clean).
Well, sparying the top with oil really crisped it up nicely. The flour made it somewhat cakey, but there was a decent ratio of corn meal to make it corny & crunchy. Over the last week I’ve had some odd reactions to using duck fat in cooking. I suppose it could be the demographics, but I have to say using duck fat in corn bread really rounds out the flavor. I’m not sure you could tell other than that it tasted really really really good. I’m sure using lard would have been a bit more pronounced. Maybe next time.
Note: If you ain’t hip to a little crunchyness of the corn meal, just sift it before you put the dry ingredients together and get out the larger pieces. Personally I enjoy the crunch … it’s nice and crunchy.