chocolate hippos

chili pepper corn bread

This cornbread recipe was supposed to be roasted corn on the cob.  Except that SOMEONE in my house, who never does anything in the kitchen decided to shuck the corn while I was at work Sunday morning.  I didn’t ask for it to be shucked, as I roast my corn with the husks on….roasting without the husks leaves the corn too dry for my tastes.

So, I kept my mouth shut and decided to cut off the kernels and freeze the sweet tasty niblets for corn chowder this winter.  Except that about 1 cup of the kernels didn’t fit into the freezer container.

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What to do with a cup of fresh, sweet corn kernels….perhaps that last of the season?  Now, I make a really yummy, incredibly rich corn pudding that I could have made to use up this extra corn.  But I am trying to be good in September, because October has me in Portland, Mexico and Italy.   And I will have fabulous city guides and recipes to share with you in November.  So you can see why I didn’t want to sit and eat a pan of hot, creamy corn pudding filled with butter, sour cream and cheese.  You will have to wait for that recipe.

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This recipe uses corn and poblanos like my corn pudding.  But there is no butter (I used mild olive oil) and no sour cream (healthy buttermilk takes its place).  There is no flour, which makes it a nice recipe for my gluten free friends.  My friend Erika said it has the best texture of any corn bread she has ever had.  I think that may have been a compliment.

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Chili Pepper Corn Bread

I make this in a 12 inch cast iron skillet.  You can substitute a 10-12 inch round baking pan if you don’t have the skillet.  But get the cast iron skillet.  You won’t regret it.  I find cornbread enthusiasts either like a bit of sweet or don’t…..so if you like it sweet, add the optional honey.  If not, don’t.  The cheese is also an optional….I’ve made this recipe both ways, and it is equally delicious either way.

1 1/2 cups corn meal (I use a mixture half coarse corn meal, half fine corn meal as I like the texture this way.  Feel free to use all of one or the other)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups buttermilk (preferably whole milk)

1/3 cup mild olive oil or vegetable oil

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed and drained if using frozen)

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

1 poblano pepper, charred/peeled/seeded/minced (see below for directions on charring/peeling)

1 cup shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese (optional)

1 tablespoon honey (optional)

Butter or oil for coating baking pan.

To prepare poblano pepper:

Char outside of pepper over gas flame or under broiler, turning as needed to char all sides.

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When sufficiently charred (takes 5-10 minutes), place in paper bag or wrap in kitchen towel for 10 minutes.  Remove and wipe charred skin off with your fingers.  Don’t worry if a few bits remain.  Cut top off and make a slit down side of pepper.  Open and remove seeds.  Chop and set aside.

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.  In a mixing bowl, combine corn meal, salt and baking soda.  In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, oil and eggs until combined.  Fold buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients.

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Add corn and chili peppers, stirring just until combined.  Place skillet in 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, carefully brush with butter or oil and add batter.   Bake 25 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.

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Let cool at least 1o minutes before serving.  Best eaten the same day, but if eating leftovers, toast under broiler for a few minutes before eating.

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