Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Easy Peasy Cornbread

Chili is a seasonal dish around here. It is reserved for the cooler months, which is kind of a shame because it is so easy to throw together. Some meat, a can of tomatoes, some seasoning and beans, and you are done. I know, I know, real chili, COMPETITION chili, has no beans. Well, this isn't a comeptition, and I refuse to make chili without beans.

I also refuse to eat chili without cornbread. Honey Bear likes to try and insist on oyster crackers, but eventually he will learn that he is wrong. A nice hunk of cornbread on the bottom of a chili bowl is one step closer to heaven in my opinion, and it has to be made from scratch. Yes, the boxes are easy, but it still tastes like box to me. 

Except one. After the Great Gluten Purge, I bought a box of gluten free mix cornbread while I relearned what I was doing. It asked for the usual: milk, oil, egg... and baking powder? Doesn't that usually come in a mix? I didn't think about it too much, and just made the food.

It was a pleasant surprise to find that it tasted pretty much exactly like my homemade wheat flour cornbread, so I checked the ingredients. Maybe I could duplicate it? Cornmeal, white rice flour, and salt.

That's it! I was both thrilled and annoyed, because although I could easily replicate it, I had just wasted money on ingredients I already had at home. So, I did a really hard thing: I swapped out the wheat flour in my old recipe for rice flour.

Bingo. Flawless cornbread. It's like nothing changed. And thank goodness, because I might be a little emotionally attached to cornbread. Just ask Honey Bear.

Yup. That's all that was left when I came to get a photo.

Basic Gluten Free Cornbread

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup rice flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
1/4 cup sugar (optional. I used to skip it, but it helps the gluten free version brown)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8 inch cast iron pan or a 9 inch baking dish. Whisk the dry ingredients together well. Beat the remaining together separately, then stir into the dry bowl thoroughly but gently. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until it looks delicious.

Just to be clear, I have no idea where I got the original recipe. I had been making it for years, and it is just imprinted on my brain. I LOVE that it was so easy to adapt. No complicated blends, no xanthan gum, just one simple swap. I wish it all was that easy!