Plain old cornbread is a family favorite, but this spicy “dressed up” version will delight and surprise them. Filled with chunks of corn and jalapeños, and topped with melted cheese, this side dish is almost a meal in itself. It’s versatile enough to serve with a bowl of spicy chili on a cold day, or a crisp, veggie-filled garden salad on a hot one. For a bit of sweetness to temper the heat of the jalapeños, serve with honeyed butter.
1 cup finely ground cornmeal
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup lard, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for greasing
1 small can (8.5 ounces) cream-style corn
1 small can (4 ounces) chopped jalapeños
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish with lard and set aside.
Place the cornmeal, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl and whisk together. Add the buttermilk, eggs, lard, and corn and mix well (the batter will be thin).
Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Distribute the jalapenos evenly over the batter and cover with half of the cheese. Pour the rest of the batter on top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
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