There are some food combinations that just seem to be perfectly paired. They are good on their own, but so much better with their partner; burgers and fries, bacon and eggs, chips and salsa, and of course, chili and cornbread, just to name a few. The other day when our Colorado blizzard came to town, it was perfect day for both chili and cornbread. A Bowl of Chili It was very cold on the outside, but warm and cozy on the inside. My mother was a Texas girl, and cornbread was a staple. I grew up on cornbread and I love cornbreads of all kinds, but I also love to shake things up and break out of the mold. One of my favorite cornbread recipes is cornbread with a pecan stresuel topping. It just perks up the flavors and has its own unique Southwestern personality. “Cornbread is very accomodating stuff, welcoming a host of add-ons that only seem to make it more satisfying”. (p.214 – The Southwestern Grill, Michael McLaughlin) This cornbread has it all; a little sugar and spice along with some toasted pecans and everything is very nice. A little taste of this, and you will know you are living the good life.
Cornbread with Red Chili-Pecan Streusel
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 TBSP med. hot chili powder
1 TBSP cinnamon
6 TBSP cold butter, cubed (This time I used some of the cinnamon butter we brought home from our nephew’s wedding. Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Caramel Sauce I definitely liked it with the addition of cinnamon and will be doing this again.)
Combine all the ingredients in the food processor and blend, except the chopped pecans. Once everything is coarsely mixed together toss in the chopped pecans and mix thoroughly. You want the mixture to be crumbly. Chill until ready to use.
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 375* F
Spray an 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray
Mix together all the dry ingredients. Whisk the eggs and buttermilk together. Then mix in the melted butter and combine with the dry ingredients. Mix everything together until just blended. Do not over mix. Pour the corn bread mixture into the baking dish. Spread it evenly in the dish. Then evenly cover the cornbread with the streusel topping.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the the edges of the cornbread start to pull away from the edges of the pan, or when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
My grandfather used to love his buttermilk, and he drank it all the time. When I would visit, I wanted to be like “Papa” so I asked for some buttermilk too, thinking if papa likes it it must be pretty good. WRONG!!! After one or two small sips, I was cured from that for life, and have never touched it since. So when I bake, I use the dried buttermilk, because although I love to bake with it, I absolutely detest drinking it on its own. This way, I just mix it with milk and I have it when I need it and none gets wasted. It is easy to find, in the baking aisle of your local grocery store. The directions call for mixing it with water, but I prefer mixing it with milk. It makes it creamier and richer.