Serves 8 to 12
About 1-1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
About 3 tablespoons finely shredded fresh sage leaves or 1-1/2 tablespoons crumbled dried sage
1 cup whole milk or 2% fat milk
2 extra-large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable or corn oil
2 tablespoons honey or sorghum
2 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped green onions or other onion
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 finely chopped chile pepper, optional
This savory cornbread is rich and cake-like and full of flavor. Taste your sage to see how strong it is; if you use a strong-flavored one like Berggarten, you should only use about 2 tablespoons. This is a great accompaniment to baked beans and coleslaw. It is also very good for breakfast, heated on a griddle with a little butter, served with maple syrup.
I like to serve this in the breadbasket for Thanksgiving and I often make a double batch and use it to make a wonderful vegetarian stuffing. I break it into bite-sized crumbles and mix it with an equal amount of whole-wheat bread crumbs, sautéed onion and celery, perhaps some mushrooms, and toss in coarsely chopped pecans and some dried cranberries. Then I beat a couple of eggs with some milk and/or vegetable stock, often add a generous splash or two of sherry, add a bit more sage and season with salt and pepper. Pour the liquid over the breadcrumb mixture to moisten and place in a buttered baking dish; bake at 350? F for about 35 to 40 minutes until piping hot and turning golden brown on top. If it gets too brown before it is hot, cover with foil. Serve hot.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Rub a 10-inch iron skillet with oil and sprinkle bottom of skillet with sesame seeds.
Combine the flour, cornmeal, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and blend well.
Combine the milk, eggs, oil, and honey in another bowl, and whisk them for 1 minute. Stir the sage, garlic, and onions into the liquid ingredients.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients along with the cheese and chile if desired, and stir until just mixed. Pour the batter into the oiled skillet and place in a preheated oven. Bake for 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the corn bread cool in the skillet for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.
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