Magazine article Sunset

Spoonbread or Cornbread Sticks ... with Blue Cornmeal

Magazine article Sunset

Spoonbread or Cornbread Sticks ... with Blue Cornmeal

Article excerpt

A Southwest staple, blue cornmeal is no longer a rare sight in the rest of the West. The blue-gray meal is found in specialty and health-food stores, and also in well-stocked supermarkets.

It can be used interchangeably with white or yellow cornmeal but has its own parched-corn flavor. Depending on the recipe, its natural blue-gray color changes dramatically. If the mixture is high in acid, the color change is toward purple-pink; if low in acid or slightly alkaline, the color shifts toward blue-green. These cornbread sticks have a pinkish cast; the spoonbread is bluer.

Southwest Blue Cornbread Sticks

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 medium-size onion, chopped

1 small fresh jalapeno chili, stemmed, seeded, and minced

1 cup all-purpose flour About 1 cup blue cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar

1 large egg

1 1/4 cups milk

1 cup (about 4 oz.) shredded jack cheese

Melt butter in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan on medium-high heat. Add onion and chili, stirring often until onion is lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes; set aside.

Mix together flour, 1 cup cornmeal, baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk egg and milk until blended. Stir onion, milk mixture, and cheese into the cornmeal mixture.

Butter cornstick pans (each about 5 1/2 in. long) or tiny muffin pans (about 1 1/2-in. diameter). Dust pans with cornmeal; shake out excess. Spoon batter into pans, filling to rims. Bake in a 375[deg] oven until firm to touch and browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool about 5 minutes, then invert pans to remove cornbread; use a small knife to loosen if necessary. (If you have only 1 pan, wash, dry, butter, and dust with cornmeal again, then bake the next batch.)

Serve bread hot or at room temperature.

If made ahead, let cool, then wrap airtight and chill up to 24 hours, or freeze to store longer. …

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