After a little research, I was able to re-season it successfully, and I was chomping at the bit to give it a whirl. So, I decided to bake a batch of ham and cheddar cornbread to use some of our delectable ham left over from the weekend. If you've never cooked in cast iron, you are really in for a treat! Food actually tastes different when cooked in cast iron. Having my cast iron skillet back in use, only sets my mind spinning as to what I can cook in it next...so, you'll be seeing more dishes cooked up in my newly re-seasoned diamond in the rough!
2 Tbsp solid vegetable shortening
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup plain white cornmeal [I used Martha White]
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup small diced ham
1 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup whole kernel sweet corn
4 chopped green onions
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place 2 tablespoons of solid vegetable shortening into the cast iron skillet and set it into the oven to preheat and melt the shortening. We're going to discard most of the shortening after it melts, but, we need it to generously coat the skillet before adding the batter. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups of buttermilk, 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, and 2 eggs until combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together until all of the dry ingredients are fully moistened.
Next, add 1 cup of small diced cooked ham, 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 1 cup of corn and green onions to the batter. Mix well.
Remove the skillet from the oven and swirl the melted shortening around the pan coating the bottom and sides completely. Discard any excess. Pour the batter into the hot skillet and spread evenly. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese on top.
Place into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Yield: 8 pieces.
The process of preheating the cast iron skillet gives the cornbread an incredibly crunchy and delicious crust. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, you can use a square 8x8 inch baking dish or a deep dish 9 inch pie plate.