I went over to Foodgawker (which I am in LOVE with these days!) and did a search for “buttermilk cornbread.” There were so many options, and many of them looked amazing, BUT I did not have the time or the ingredients to add special nifty stuff like fresh corn or bacon or chiles or whatnot. I just wanted yummy cornbread that included buttermilk.
Finally I settled on this recipe at The Hungry Mouse. It looked awesome! I love step-by-step photo recipes.
I looked in my pantry. Could not find cornmeal anywhere. I swore we’d had a big container of it. But my pantry is an overstuffed, disorganized MESS and I could not find it. I did, however, find a bag of polenta. Ahhh!
Isn’t polenta just … Italian cornmeal? I went to Twitter and asked, “Can I use polenta instead of cornmeal to make cornbread?” and I got a flurry of responses. Such as, “They’re really the same!” to “Grind it in a coffee grinder!” (what???) and “NO.” Yow! But at this point I was committed. I had all my ingredients out, including the buttermilk that started it all.
Then I could not find my metal 8 x 8 pan, only a glass one. Again I turned to Twitter. HELP! And got another round of enthusiastic yet conflicting advice. “Metal is better!” “Glass is more even!” “Try a cast iron skillet!” This all made me laugh in a confused way. Then I found the metal pan. Whew! But people were still touting the benefits of glass. Hmm! What to do?
I combined all the ingredients just as the recipe directed, EXCEPT for the polenta. The recipe indicated that it would be very stiff and hard to spread into the pan, but my batter was sort of wet and quite pourable. Oops? I fretted.
I had some grated cheddar cheese sitting in a Tupperware in the fridge, so I sprinkled some on top and hoped for the best.
I put it in the oven and then had to run off to pick up offspring from practice. I kept texting my husband while I waited for it. “Did you take out the cornbread?” “How is it?” “HOW IS IT?”
As it turned out, it was excellent. It definitely had a grainier, more crunchy consistency than “regular” cornbread, but that was what I really liked about it. It was super moist! and a little crumbly, but gooooooooooood. I think I’ll definitely make it again, and WITH the polenta. Yum! A happy mistake!
And it tasted wonderful with the chili.
Here’s the recipe. (thanks to The Hungry Mouse!)
- 1 cup stone ground cornmeal (OR polenta!!)
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- spray oil or butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease or spray an 8 x 8 baking pan with butter or spray. Line the bottom with parchment.
Whisk together dry ingredients: cornmeal (or polenta!), flour, sugar, baking powder, salt.
Add the wet ingredients: olive oil, buttermilk, eggs. Whisk it together until it all comes together. (NOTE: Mine was really wet)
Either scrape (if it’s dry?) or pour (if it’s wet like mine) into pan. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. It’s done if it springs back when you press on it, or when a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting.