When I picked up my latest cookbook purchase, On the Trail and in the Kitchen: Tried and True Recipes from Kent Rollins (self-published: Byers, Texas, 2012), the recipe for Mexican cornbread appeared to be a winner. I prepared it in a Lodge 10-inch Dutch oven Saturday evening. The wonderful blend of chiles, buttermilk and cheddar cheese gave the cornbread the same great flavor that you expect from Kent's food.
My first inclination was to call it "Cowboy polenta." This makes sense when you see that Kent's cornbread created the perfect balance between the cake-like texture of cornbread and creamy consistency of Italian polenta. When cut into wedges, the cornbread becomes the perfect accompaniment to chili con carne, huevos rancheros or sauteed pepper steak.
Italian polenta is often served with stews and braised dishes, where it soaks up flavorful juices. What better way to showcase Kent's cornbread than to serve it with large bowl of rich chili con carne in camp? Place a wedge of cornbread in a large bowl or wide-brimmed plate and ladle your best camp chili over it. You get the best of of both dishes as it absorbs the chili-laden juices.
I should note that the lovely Mrs. Chuckbox enjoyed the cornbread it by itself. So, it doesn't matter how you prepare the cornbread. You'll enjoy it with soft butter and honey or buried under a rich bowl of camp chili.
I look forward to trying more recipes from On the Trail and in the Kitchen.
KENT ROLLINS' MEXICAN CORNBREAD
I used 5 Kingsford brand charcoal briquettes under the 10-inch Dutch oven and 15 on the lid on a hot evening. To avoid burning the bottom, remove the Dutch oven from the bottom heat after about 15 minutes. Finish baking with top heat only.
1-1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 (4-ounce) can dice green chiles
1 cup creamed corn
1 cup shredded cheese
In a mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add buttermilk, eggs and vegetable oil. Mix well. Add green chiles and creamed corn. Mix well.
Pour half of the mixture into a greased 10-inch Dutch oven or casserole dish. Sprinkle top with cheese. Pour the rest of the mixture over cheese.
Bake with coals or in a conventional oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool. Cut into 8 wedges.