Hope you will enjoy this video preview to my book, "A Tennessee Waltz."
“The North thinks it knows how to make corn bread, but this is a gross superstition. Perhaps no bread in the world is quite as good as Southern corn bread, and perhaps no bread in the world is quite as bad as the Northern imitation of it.”- Mark Twain
Nothing says comfort food like ‘smack you mama good’ cornbread. A form of this Southern staple has been on America’s table since the earliest of times, and the tradition continues today. There’s even a National Cornbread Cookoff held in East Tennessee that brings contestants and spectators from across the country and around the world.
Martha White Cornmeal sponsors the cook-off, with Lodge Cast Iron Cookware and Five Star Professional Cooking Equipment, in South Pittsburg the last full weekend in April each year.
Nestled alongside the Cumberland Plateau of the Appalachian Mountains, South Pittsburg, (population 3,300), attracts between 45,000 and 60,000 visitors to this annual festival. The recipes aren’t your grandmother’s variety of cornbread. Indeed, the “main dish” concept requires that recipes are prepared in a Lodge 10-inch skillet with a cup of Martha White Cornmeal as the primary ingredient, but from there you’re on your own.
The winning recipes combine various products and flavors with the cornbread. Each year thousands of hopefuls submit their original recipes, but only ten are selected to actually prepare their recipe for the judges. And the Lodge skillets you can choose from vary from three inches to the mega skillet which measures seventeen inches in diameter and weighs fifteen pounds. That’s a powerful lot of cornbread! A bank president from Maryville TN, Gaynell Lawson, shares this winning recipe - enjoy!
Black Olive Cornbread Wedges with Chorizo Tomato Gravy
No-Stick Cooking Spray
1 large egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 (6.5-ounce) package Martha White® Yellow Cornbread Mix
2 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 (2.25 -ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced onion
2 links (about 6-ounces) Mexican chorizo sausage, casings removed
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons Martha White® All-Purpose Flour
2 cups milk
1 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned and drained
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Garnishes – chopped green onion, diced avocado, crumbled tortilla chips, chopped tomatoes, and/or sliced fresh limes
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 9-inch Lodge® cast iron wedge pan generously with no-stick cooking spray. Place in oven 6 to 7 minutes or until hot. Beat egg in large bowl. Add buttermilk, cornbread mix, 2 tablespoons melted butter, corn and olives. Mix thoroughly. Pour evenly into wedges in hot pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and keep warm. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 10-inch Lodge® cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Crumble chorizo in skillet. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until brown. Remove mixture to small bowl. Set aside. Wipe out skillet with paper towel.
Return skillet to medium heat. Melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add flour. Whisk until mixture is golden. Add milk, tomatoes and paprika. Whisk about 3 minutes, or until thickened. Add chorizo mixture to gravy.