As any good american does, I crave me some good old cornbread now and then. Unfortunately this fine treat knows no friends here in the old world. Cornmeal is not a common commodity in Belgium. However, a couple weeks ago I bumped into some cornmeal at the supermarket on a shelf of clearance items. Apparently there are not enough Americans on this side of Brasschaat to keep the limited choice of US specific products in rotation. The other Delhaize in town doesn’t seem to suffer this problem as everytime I am there I hear at least two American families. From the clearance shelf I picked up one bag of cornmeal and a couple jars of molasses. The molasses will either finds its way into some cookies or into some beer.
Now I know it’s simple, but I have never made cornbread before so I had to consult the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (We have the newest edition but I wish we had the 1968 version that my mother has. 60’s food photography had a certain something that I find nice, odd but nice). Anyways, the recipe for basic cornbread was very simple:1 cup flour 3/4 cup cornmeal 2-3 tbsp sugar 3/4 tsp salt 2 1/2 tbsp baking powder 2 eggs 1 cup milk 1/4 cup cooking oil
Long story short, I threw that all together and poured it into a greased pan. Yes I know, all you cornbread purists are shouting “you have to use a hot skillet you idiot!” Well, simple answer is that I don’t have one (but I do want one). The pan went right in the middle of the cooking grate with the coals stacked up on two sides of the grill. The temp was right around 200C (392F). After about 15 minutes on the grill I started checking with a toothpick to see if it was done. I didn’t keep the time well but I think total cook time was about 20 minutes. I was worried that maybe the sides of the bread that were facing the fire would have over cooked but it ended up with a nice even golden brown on the bottom and sides. Unfortunately, the top of the cornbread did not become nicely golden. I guess, like my first pizza on the grill, I need to get the bread higher into the dome of the kettle where the air is warmer.
Why exactly would you want to do this on the grill?… well, why not? I like the idea of baking with wood or charcoal, it just sounds right to me. It will also be nice to have extra dishes to round out a meal that I can just through on the grill while I’m doing a long cook. Plus, a small touch of smoke can do wonders in baked goods. This time I didn’t use any wood, just neutral coconut briquettes, but I plan on adding a touch of wood next time.
The flavor of the cornbread itself was alright, but could be much better. It definitely wasn’t bad, just a bit mild. The flavor needs to be kicked up a notch next time. The cornbread I know gives you a heart melting dose of american home cooking, this one just taunted me. The amount of cornmeal needs to be kicked up and the sugar kicked down, or out. Maybe I’ll have to try the recipe I saw on the homesick texan (a very delicious source of recipes that I just now discovered). I’ll probably also add about a cup of corn kernels to the batter next time…. and that next time may be very soon… I still have the craving! Oh, and I like my cornbread with hot melted Lee Morgan