Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Skillet Cornbread Recipe

"What I want to do is savor this life - 
my life, my children, my community, 
this gorgeous world God created." 
- Shauna Niequist, Savor

Above is a quote from my new daily devotional for 2016.  The concept of slowing down and savoring each moment is meaningful to me this year as I celebrate the holidays without my oldest child.  My daughter is studying abroad and backpacking through Europe with old friends and new.  I am in awe of the pictures she posts on social media; my daughter in a gondola, my daughter in front of the Eiffel tower, my daughter on a sea wall.  She's independent, beautiful, and smart, but I know that a tiny part of her would love to join us at our dinner table for a big pot of soup and a skillet full of warm cornbread.

I miss my adventurous offspring the most when our family is gathered at the kitchen table.  Whether it is a weeknight dinner, a Sunday breakfast, or a holiday celebration, her absence is most poignant when her dad, three younger brothers, and I are gathered for meals.  She loves to cook, loves to eat, and loves to talk.  My husband and sons are better at savoring the silence which I know is just as important, but is harder for me to embrace.

Recently on a rainy Sunday my husband made a pot of Black-eyed Pea soup and I baked skillet cornbread.  As the smells wafted upstairs, my sons unplugged and migrated to the kitchen.  On busy weeknights or for make-ahead meals, we will often make cornbread muffins.  This night, however, I afforded myself the extra time and care it requires to make this rustic bread in my iron skillet. The recipe comes from the back of the Quaker Yellow Corn Meal canister. Making, serving, and eating it reminds me to savor each moment no matter how seemingly insignificant.  I hope this coming year you will take time to savor meals with your family and friends which just might include an iron skillet full of cornbread.

Skillet Cornbread

     (adapted closely from the Quaker recipe)

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons shortening

  1. Place 2 tablespoon shortening in a 9 or 10 inch iron skillet or prepare a 9 inch square or round pan or prepare 12 muffin cups.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  If using an iron skillet, place it in the oven as it preheats.  The shortening will melt.
  3. Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, and salt).
  4. Whisk together wet ingredients (milk, oil, egg).
  5. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until mixture is just moistened.  Do not over mix.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan.  If using an iron skillet, remove it carefully from the oven using hot mitts and swirl the pan to evenly distribute the melted shortening.  Pour the batter into the iron skillet.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes (adjust time according to baking pan) or until top is light golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Serve warm with butter and honey or cool to room temperature.

"Let's savor this day, the beauty of the world God made, 
the richness of family and friendship, 
the good gifts of creativity and work.  
-Shauna Niequist, Savor

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