After a week off from the cornbread trials, we got back into the swing of things full force this weekend. We had poured through old issues of Gourmet, and came across an obligatory Thanksgiving issue that featured a chorizo/cornbread stuffing. We didn't really have any use for stuffing, but thought it might not be a bad idea to have a chorizo stuffed cornbread as a standalone side in itself.
I assumed this would be pretty straightforward - iterations of bread stuffed with meat feature high in all cultures, and figured the chorizo/cornbread combo would be pretty big in Southern fare. The stuffing seemed popular enough as it is, so it's not a huge revelation to flip it up the way we wanted. It was surprising, then, that there was a pretty limited array of recipes online for this, and we finally opted to make it up as we went along.
After looking at a few cornbread recipes now, it isn't hard to figure out the main ingredients: cornmeal, all purpose flour, milk, eggs, baking powder, and some sort of fat, be it butter or oil. It's really just about the proportions (we'll get to Michael Ruhlman's magic ratios eventually), or the extra bells and whistles: in this case, chorizo.
We bought some pork chorizo and took the meat out of its casing for a closer look, and figured the fat from the sausage in itself would probably negate having to use much butter, and found that other recipes didn't use butter at all. Instead, then, we opted for canola oil, which keeps the cornbread moist without imparting too much of its own flavour. In the end, our concoction went something like this:
dry ingredients: 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, 2 tbsp sugar;
wet ingredients: 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup canola oil
chorizo: 2 links, which ended being about a 1/2lb. Brown it first, obviously.
Mix the dry ingredients together, and mix the wet ingredients together separately. Combine the two, mix it until it gets to that cornmeal/grits look to it, and then mix in the chorizo so that it's evenly distributed.
It might seem odd to add that much sugar at first, but, depending on the spice of your chorizo, it takes some of the bite out and balances it out. A 1/4 cup of canola oil might seem like a lot too - we probably used a bit less - but, again, it depends on the chorizo: the sausage we got didn't really have too much fat (thanks Whole Foods!), and, because you'll have to refrigerate any leftover cornbread because of the meat, you'll need just a tad bit more than you'd think in order to keep it from drying out in the cold.
12 more days to go! Here's the accompanying song for this trial:
Calypso King & the Soul Investigators (the same Soul Investigators that back up Nicole Willis) - "Greasy Pork"
Here's a Mos Def related track as well to recap the week. Truly one of the best hip hop shows I've seen. The guy's an ENTERTAINER.
Fela Kuti - "Fear Not For Man"