Friday, August 16, 2013

Family Recipe Friday ~ Southern Style

Our house was always filled with the mouth-watering aromas of southern cooking. One of my favorite meals was this very simple and very satisfying comfort food we called Soup Beans and Cornbread.

I can remember the beans were served in a huge bowl that was white with different sized black dots on it (it was the sixties and now we would call that bowl retro). The corn bread was baked in a cast iron skillet, and that's still the only way to get a perfect cornbread crust. Here's the recipe:

Soup Beans
1 pound dried red kidney beans, washed and picked over
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
2-3 good-sized ham hocks (we used fatback, but that has since lost popularity lol)
Soak the beans over night if possible. Drain and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil and let cook 1-2 hours or until done. Reduce heat and add onion, garlic, and ham hocks. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until beans are done. We tested the beans by scooping up 2 or 3 in a spoon and gently blowing on them. If the skin split, the beans were done.

Corn Bread
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
Generously grease an 8 or 9 inch skillet. Use Crisco or lard. This is comfort food, not health food. Place skillet in oven to heat. 
In large bowl whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, powder, and salt. Add milk, egg, and vegetable oil; mix well. Carefully pour batter into hot skillet. (This is how you get that perfect cornbread crust).
Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.