Paula's Mexican Cornbread: 1 Pan (make that pan a 9-10 inch iron skillet, well seasoned)

Rona says: My sister Paula Ann Roberts Abbott took this particular food to the level of high art, and it became a looooong running family favorite. Our mother particularly liked it. I don't know all Paula's secret adjustments to the recipe. I suspect the improvements evolve through making the cornbread and then adjusting it to taste.

Ingredients

Have these ready:

  • 1 pound ground beef, browned
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound or less of cheese, grated (Paula used Colby or Cheddar)
  • Jalapeños to taste (For Paula and Gramps, that's a lot; for the rest of us, maybe a sliver)

Mix the following together to make a batter:

  • 1 cup cornmeal (Paula used yellow; Rona uses white unbolted)
  • ½ teaspoon soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 can or box cream style corn
  • I can green chilis, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil or bacon fat (the very first recipe called for 1/2 cup bacon fat!!!)
  • 1 cup milk (Rona uses buttermilk)

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray pan with non-stick spray or grease lightly. Brown a little cornmeal in the skillet so it coats the bottom of the pan and adds crispiness.
  2. Place less than half the batter in the pan, then add the meat, cheese, onions, and peppers. Follow with the remaining batter.
  3. Bake around 45 minutes, until golden brown.
  4. Doubles well.

What cooks do when pressed: Rona, in a terrible rush, has made this fabulous food this way: Brown the meat in a skillet and when nearly done, add the finely chopped onions so they can cook a little. Sprinkle half the cheese on top of this mixture. Right in that same skillet, pour in all the batter (which includes everything but meat, onions and cheese). Top with the remaining cheese. Bake at 425. Delicious.