Herbed Buttermilk-Quinoa Cornbread

May 14, 2010 § 5 Comments

This cornbread is a riff off of Heidi’s recent Skillet Bread recipe.  My version has no cream or sugar and isn’t remotely custard-like, but it’s the moistest, most savory corn bread I’ve had in eons.  I tip my hat to the dried herbs stirred into the batter for the good flavor.  The good texture is a result of two cups of buttermilk and a little something else: a cup-and-a-half of fluffed, hot-outta-the-pot quinoa.  That’s right!  Quinoa!

I have an off-and-on-again relationship with this spiral-y, complete-protein, high amino acid, pseudocereal.  I’ve recently rejoined the fan club.  A few weeks ago I made a salad featuring this grain speckled with crunchy nuts, mint, parsley and a handful of dried fruit, plumped-up with Meyer lemon juice.  I never thought I’d use the adjectives “lip-smacking” and “addictive” in the same sentence with quinoa, but the salad was both of those things.  It was killer.  And now this cornbread: the quinoa isn’t chucked in just for high-protein’s-sake, it truly enhances the cornbread.  I never thought I’d see the day!

The bread will be finished when the knife comes out clean and the bread has given away from the sides.  At this point, I popped it under the broiler (per Heidi’s suggestion) for about 2 minutes, just to deepen the color on the top.  Two other notes: I’d suggest to begin baking this bread about an hour before you’d like to eat it.  It takes about 50 minutes to cook, but the good flavor gets overwhelmed by the piping hot bread.  Let it sit a few minutes before serving.  Second, I like to make the quinoa just before baking the bread.  If you’re in a time crunch, feel free to make a pot of quinoa in advance.  But I’ve found that baking this bread with warm quinoa, plumped with water (leaving no time for any evaporation or drying-out in the fridge) makes the bread all the more moist.

Ingredients:
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried herbs (i.e. mix of thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, basil, etc.)

1 + 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken
4 tablespoons butter, unsalted

Methods:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees on convection or 350 degrees in a standard oven.

2.  Using a 2:1 water to quinoa ratio, bring water to a boil on the stove and add quinoa.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot with a lid and cook until tender (about 13-16 minutes).  Set aside one and a half cups for this recipe.

3.  Melt butter in your oven proof baking pan or cast iron.  Brush butter up the sides of the pan so the entire surface is coated.  Transfer remaining butter to a heat-proof bowl and let cool for a few minutes.  Meanwhile, mix together dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, mix well-shaken buttermilk and eggs.  When butter has cooled slightly, add to liquids.

4.  Gently combine flour and hot quinoa to the liquid mixture in alternating batches and stir gently, just until combined.  Pour batter into cast iron/pan and bake for 50-55 minutes until the knife comes out clean and the bread gives away slightly from the sides of the pan.  Once cooked through, you can pop it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes (keep a close eye!) to deepen the color on top.  Let sit 10-15 minutes before serving.

Diet Notes: Nut-free

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