As soon as chili season hits, out comes the skillet cornbread. Great for dunking, this whole wheat cornbread is perfectly tender and spiked with green chiles.
When I was growing up, we weren't a chili family. It was a once a year affair, when we went to our friends' annual Christmas Eve party. The chili and chicken wings were the stars of the show, closely followed by the group performance of Twelve Days of Christmas. Picture adults tipsy with eggnog and kids giddy with the excitement of Christmas, acting out "8 maids a'milking" and "9 ladies dancing" with a good dose of obnoxious holiday enthusiasm. It's a good thing smart phones and social media sharing weren't a "thing" then. Blackmail material for years!
Since chili wasn't a regular meal for our family, cornbread was nowhere to be seen. All that has changed now. Chili makes an appearance at least once every couple of weeks during the fall and winter at our house, almost always accompanied by cornbread. Sometimes it's our favorite smoky turkey chili, other times it's a vegetarian slow cooker version or a healthy white chicken chili. Whatever kind of chili we serve, cornbread will be involved. It's kind of like, "If you build it, they will come." If you make chili, the cornbread will practically make itself.
Of course, cornbread doesn't need to be relegated to chili only. It accompanies almost any kind of soup just as well, standing in for the more traditional rolls or biscuits. These are couple of favorite soups to serve alongside cornbread:
Once I learned how to make cornbread and corn muffins, I started doing a little research and quickly found out that the history of this classic bread is fraught with different views on what is the right way to make it. If you're from the south, you likely use exclusively cornmeal and not a grain of sugar in your batter. The northern types like things a little sweeter, usually with some flour mixed into the batter.
I took the northern route, with a switch to whole wheat pastry flour and less sugar than your typical restaurant cornbread. The skillet produces a wonderful crust that balances well with the tender crumb of the bread. Perfect for snacking and, of course, perfect for dunking into chili.
Whole Wheat Skillet Cornbread Recipe with Green Chiles
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and canola oil.
- Add the cornmeal, whole wheat pastry flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk until just combined. Stir in the green chiles
- Pour the batter into the prepared skillet.
- Baked until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into 16 wedges. Serve.
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