Corn Bread. I've never had it before but whilst planning a meal for friends which involved some chilli con carne I wanted an accompaniment that wasn't boring old rice for a change.
Then I thought of corn bread. It's not something you see often in the UK but it sounded like a great and different option for mopping up the chilli sauce as well as a way of getting veggies into people! There are apparently two ways of making corn bread, in the oven as you would a standard loaf of bread or in a pan or a skillet. To be honest that sounded more like a flat bread to me rather than a big chunky loaf which is what I was after so I researched recipes and amalgamated a couple of them into this version. This is a pretty simple variety but I did come across versions studded with jalapeno's, smoked sausage, rosemary, thyme, one even had peaches in it!
Everything else was easy though.
The bread itself isn't actually a bread either as we know it. There is no yeast involved for one thing and it comes out more cake-like in texture and very dense; it is incredibly filling and a little goes a long way. This particular version came out fairly sweet - I personally don't think it needs the sugar and the sweetcorn and next time I will just omit the sugar. Due to the denseness of the batter mix it also took a good couple of hours to cook!
Grease the tin, pre-heat the oven to 200C and then get your mixing bowl.
375g plain flour
225g cornmeal (yellow cornmeal will give your bread that lovely golden tone)
1 tsp salt
110g sugar (it will be rather sweet so you could omit this and reduce the liquid accordingly)
480 ml milk (semi-skimmed)
2 free range eggs
4 tsp baking powder (the batter is very heavy and needs a lot of rising agent)
110g melted butter
Bake at the top of the oven for 20 minutes at 200C then reduce the temperature to 150C and bake for another hour. Remove and check the interior with a skewer - it needs to come out clean. If it is coming out with liquid batter still on it put it back in the oven for periods of 10 minutes at a time and keep checking. The finished product should have a light golden colour, crisp crust and dense but crumbly interior.
Carve into big rustic hunks and serve with lots of gravy or sauce. It mops up well!