Simply the Best: No regrets for cornbread caper

Kate Lawson

I don’t know what I craved more: bean soup or cornbread. The choice was simple: I could make both because, really, you shouldn’t have one without the other — at least in my book.

The craving came while sitting in my doctor’s office waiting room. I grabbed an old Real Simple magazine, and when I got to the recipes, my mouth started watering. (Here’s a tip: Don’t fast for a blood test that’s scheduled after noon; the hungries can be brutal.) I always try to avoid magazines in waiting rooms; invariably someone has torn out a page for a recipe or, worse, interrupted a story I’m reading by tearing out a coupon and taking most of the story with it. So, I try to be a good steward and leave the magazine intact.

But this time I succumbed. There were so many good ideas and recipes that I actually put the magazine in my purse and took it with me.

The recipe that put me on the path of thievery was Cheese and Sweet Pepper Cornbread. I love the idea of using tri-colored mini peppers and Monterey Jack cheese to make a creamy, dense cornbread, and I thought it would be the perfect with bean soup.

First off, I’m sorry for committing the magazine crime, but I’m sharing this recipe not just to assuage my guilt but to share a great recipe with you that you otherwise may not have seen (and no pages were damaged). And besides, I gave my own blood for it.

This cornbread is best the day it is baked. Its next appearance will be when I make my favorite chicken chili.


Cheese and Sweet-Pepper Cornbread

This cornbread tastes best when served on the same day it’s baked. From

¾ stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for pan

1½ cups yellow cornmeal

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1¾ cups low-fat buttermilk

2 large eggs

8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)

1 can (4 ounces) hot or mild chopped green chilies

5 ounces sweet mini peppers (about 6), cut into thin rounds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. In a bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, butter and eggs.

Pour buttermilk mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in cheese and chilies with juices until evenly distributed. Transfer to baking pan and smooth top. Scatter pepper rounds evenly over top.

Bake until golden brown along edges and a tester inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs. 20 to 25 minutes.

Let cool in pan 5 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack, then invert onto another rack, top-side up. Let cool at least 15 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut in half lengthwise, then slice each half into small wedges. Serve warm or room temperature. Serves 12.

Per serving: 287 calories; 13 g fat (8 g saturated fat; 41 percent calories from fat); 32 g carbohydrates; 7 g sugar; 70 mg cholesterol; 626 mg sodium; 10 g protein; 2 g fiber.