In the small town where we grew up, there is a lady who makes the best southern cornbread, but with a twist – a layered cornbread that is out of this world! She was known for her good down home country cooking. She shared this recipe with Mom and it quickly became a family favorite that we’ve made now for many years!
Let’s start with the cornmeal – you can grind your own, buy your own, but DO NOT use the sweet cornbread mix! It will not taste the same! When we were kids, Mom would grind dried corn into meal to make the cornbread using her Atlas Grist Mill that sat on a shelf in the screened in back porch that wrapped around our old, victorian home.
The recipe calls for “Rat” Cheese, which always made us laugh as kids. It is referring to Sharp Cheddar Cheese – the Cheddar Cheese wrapped in the red rind. We used to get ours at Sonny’s Grocery Store, a store that was 2 blocks from our old house, at the butcher counter, and Sonny would cut us off a big slab of it. While at Central Market, I found a wedge of red rind cheese that was actually labeled “Rat Cheese” and had to buy it to use in this recipe! It still puts a grin on my face!
The cornbread is made in a seasoned cast iron skillet, is baked in the oven, and is layered between the cornbread is ground beef, onion, Sharp Cheddar Cheese, and jalapenos before being baked in the oven.
1 1/4 cups Yellow Cornmeal
2 Eggs, well beaten
1 cup Milk (The recipe calls it “Sweet Milk”)
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1 can Cream Style Yellow Corn
1/4 cup Bacon Drippings (or oil)
1 pound Ground Beef
1 large Onion
1 pound “Rat” Cheese (Sharp Cheddar)
1 small can of Pickled Jalapenos – we like it spicy so we used 5 pickled jalapenos, chopped
Combine first 7 ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Grate your cheese and chop your jalapenos and onion and set aside.
Cook ground beef in a skillet until done and drain on a paper towel.
Grease a large cast iron skillet and heat. Sprinkle a very thin layer of cornmeal in skillet and let brown slightly.
Pour 1/2 batter in the skillet.
Sprinkle cheese over the top of the batter.
Sprinkle ground beef over the top of the cheese.
Sprinkle chopped onion and jalapenos over the top of the beef.
Pour remaining batter on top.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 to 60 minutes.