The day after Thanksgiving this year, I spent a wonderful day with a new friend…who couldn’t stop talking about this spicy Mexican cornbread that a work colleague is always bringing to him. The colleague finally shared the recipe, but my friend had never baked anything from scratch before; he had most of the ingredients, and some interesting interpretations of the measurements and proportions, but here’s how it all turned out:
2 regular (8.5 oz) boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of milk (1/3 for each box of muffin mix and 1/3 for the cup of flour)
- 2 cans of whole kernel corn, drained
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup diced jalapeños–we used sliced pickled jalapeño
- 2 cups shredded cheese, divided into 1-cup piles–we used Mexican blend
- hot pepper sauce to taste
- 1 t salt
- 2 t pepper
Place two 8×8 baking dishes (glass or porcelain, not metal) into a 350 degree oven to warm up.
- In a large mixing bowl, dump all of the ingredients, reserving 1 cup of the shredded cheese for topping. Mix well with a spoon (we learned the hard way that a whisk makes this task harder than it needs to be).
- Remove hot baking dishes carefully and butter or spray fully–all the way up the sides!
- Divide the cornbread mixture evenly in the two dishes, smooth out the mixture, and put in the 350-degree oven for 50 minutes.
- Top with remaining shredded cheese and splash hot pepper sauce on top–as much or little as desired.
- Bake for 10 more minutes.
What you’ll taste is a smooth, sweet, low-level spicy cornbread. The flour helps to smooth out the sometimes grittiness of cornbread and helps it to be more springy like a cake than dense like a brick. The corn is what adds the sweetness to balance the spicy from the hot pepper sauce and the jalapenos.
But even as good as this cornbread is–by itself or as a partner to chili, sausage and cabbage soup, or any ham dinner–the best part of making this Mexican cornbread was helping my friend bake his first dish (we even had to buy baking dishes because he didn’t have any).