When I went to college the only cornbread I made was the instant Jiffy cornbread that I mixed and dumped in cupcake tins. Those still work fine too. But when I moved to Austin and visited Z’Tejas - lord have mercy they serve some good cornbread. It comes to your table after you order the meal, like when chips and salsa arrives at a mexican restaurant. This cornbread at Z'Tejas comes in a small six inch cast iron skillet - hot - as in, just out of the oven. You put a little pat of butter on your slice and it melts right in. It's so good. If allowed I would eat the entire skillet of cornbread and be full before my meal arrived. Of course, that IS what happens when we eat at a mexican restaurant. Back to the cornbread!
I actually came across the exact Z'Tejas cornbread recipe from Slightly Cheaper Than Therapy who is from Austin also. She actually attended a cooking class by Jack Gilmore, owner and executive chef of Z’Tejas. I'm so completely jealous, but I'm working on getting over it. I read her post and thought how absolutely wonderful this cornbread would be with the taco soup.
And like I always do, I started looking up other cornbread recipes to compare ingredients, ratios and cooking methods and found some other really good ideas. Simply Recipes has a great Green Chile Cornbread Recipe that I liked because it used green chiles and also cheese. I of course had to check Ina's web site also and found a Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread recipe from her that appealed to me because it called for scallions, jalapenos and cheddar cheese.
Knowing that Z'Tejas already had a winning recipe I knew that I didn't want to stray too much. But it did seem like my recurring theme for the Fall Football Party food was "spice" so I made some very slight adjustments. Here is the original recipe with my edits in parenthesis.
1 1/2 cups of Lamb’s Corn Meal. This is a Texas brand, I'm sure what you find at your grocery store would be fine too.
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of sugar
1 Tablespoon of baking powder
1 Tablespoon of baking soda
1 cup of plain, nonfat yogurt
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of canned creamed corn
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of frozen whole kernel corn, thawed. (I used canned whole kernel corn here)
3 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of REAL butter
1/4 teaspoon of salt
(I added one can of whole green chiles that I drained and chopped. I also added one cup of monterrey jack cheese and an additional teaspoon of salt.)
Start by mixing all your dry ingredients together: Lamb's Corn Meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
Z'Tejas would have you put this into a 10" cast iron skillet. That is currently on my wish list so instead I used this pampered chef stoneware baker. I baked this at 400 for 35 minutes. If using cast iron you could probably only go for 20. Test by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cornbread and it should come out relatively clean but still a little moist.
I don't have any photos of the finished product unfortunately. I pulled this out of the oven as guests were walking in and didn't stop long enough to take photos. It WAS delicious. I would add another can of chiles and maybe one fresh chopped jalapeno to give it more zing. Not sure the cheese added that much. This is such a good recipe, you don't have to mess with it much at all. It's great as is.