Skillet Blue Cornbread

Submitted by Sammy Smith (sammy@thesga.org)

This recipe adapted from 1993 Southwestern Indian Recipe Book: Apache, Papago, Pima, Pueblo, and Navajo by Zora Getmansky Hesse (The Filter Press, Palmer Lake, Colorado), and is from a modern Pueblo recipe.

Children should not attempt this without the help of an adult.

Once baking powder was available, Native peoples living in Georgia may have made similar corn cakes, although probably without the chilis, and the bacon.

iron_skillet

Set oven to preheat at 350°F.

I bake this cornbread in an iron skillet. You can also use a greased 8×8 inch baking pan.

Take about three slices of bacon and chop them coarsely. Render slowly in an iron skillet, stirring frequently. When most of the fat is cooked out, remove the crispy meaty bits from the pan, leaving the fat. If you want to skip the bacon, just melt butter in the skillet in the oven. Tip and rotate the pan so the fat coats the pan on the bottom and the sides as high as the batter will flow.

Slide skillet into the oven to get hot.

Meanwhile, mix together in a large mixing bowl:

  • 1 1/2 cups blue cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

In a separate smaller bowl, mix:

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tablespoons bacon fat (or butter) from the skillet
  • 1/2-1 small can of green chilis, chopped

Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well in just a few strokes. Pour the batter into the hot skillet (or greased baking pan). Return skillet to oven.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve. Makes lovely pie-shaped pieces!

Optional: cook some chopped onion until soft with the bacon (or separately) and add to the wet ingredients.

Optional: substitute yellow cornmeal. It won’t have the nutty flavor of the blue cornmeal, but still will be tasty.

Optional: lightly coat 1/2 cup raisins with wheat flour, and gently stir into batter.

Consider the chilis optional but extremely tasty, and preferred in Puebloan recipes!

Question: what kind of corn makes blue cornmeal?