This was a really fun challenge for me as a recipe for the magazine. I don’t eat spicy food so I choose peppers that are mild when I need them. It was time to break out my hazmat suit and tackle jalapeños. This is a basic cornbread recipe but with the goat cheese, and a touch of cheddar, it’s really moist with a wonderful taste and texture.
First, we char the jalapeños. I placed my cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and added coconut oil. You can use other oils but coconut is a great high-heat oil. Use “refined” otherwise, the peppers will taste like coconut. To char on a stove, one must have a powerful fan. If not, not only will the smell of jalapeños be in the house but also some of the sting. I will say that my eyes hurt a little for the rest of the day until I could air things out. I highly recommend charring them on an outdoor grill. Whatever you decide, don’t skip this step because it’s totally worth it.
Once you have some of that great charred jalapeño oil in the skillet, add 2 more teaspoons of oil and place in the oven while you mix the rest of the ingredients.
- Want a sweeter cornbread, add an additional 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar.
- Don’t have buttermilk on hand, make your own. Use 1 cup of whole milk, 2% milk or heavy cream then add 1 tablespoon of either lemon juice or white vinegar. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken.
- For more heat, add 1 extra jalapeño, seeded and diced to the batter.
- If you like the added flavor of the jalapeño but not the heat, remove the pepper from the top of the cornbread slice before eating. There is plenty of pepper flavor already in the cornbread after baking.
- Don’t have a cast-iron skillet, use a 10 or 12-inch pan with coconut oil or cooking spray. Char jalapeños in a separate stove safe pan or on an outdoor grill.
- Use gloves when handling hot peppers and avoid touching your eyes.
- Avoid breathing pepper fumes when charring.
- Cast-iron skillets are very hot so remember to use good hot-pads when lifting, or moving, and never leave the hot skillet unattended.
This is a great recipe for a family meal. Using a large 12 inch cast-iron skillet will give the cornbread more flavor with a moist center. You may cut this recipe in half and use a smaller skillet but watch your cooking time to retain moisture in the center.
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Jalapeño Goat Cheese Cornbread
Makes 1 (12-inch) skillet.
- 4 tsp refined coconut oil (or a vegetable oil)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups yellow or white cornmeal
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups whole buttermilk
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 (4 oz) packages goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
- 5 jalapeños, to char for the top
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, with 2 teaspoons of coconut oil.
Cut the 5 jalapeños in half. You may make slices and remove the seeds, or just leave the jalapeños in halves.
Cook until lightly charred on each side, about 2-4 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Add 2 teaspoons of coconut oil to skillet, then place in oven. Oil will become hot in about 8 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.
Add buttermilk, melted butter and eggs. Mix completely.
Fold in 1 cup of cheddar cheese and diced jalapeño.
Add goat cheese and fold until mixed, leaving small pieces.
Remove skillet from oven. Carefully pour batter into hot oiled skillet. Sprinkle with ½ cup cheddar cheese, then arrange charred jalapeños on top.
Bake until golden brown for 30 minutes, depending on your oven. Check center with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, it’s ready.
In place of skillet, use a 10 or 12-inch pan with cooking spray. Char jalapeños in a separate stove safe pan or on an outdoor grill.