Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Snowed in with Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread and Ribs with Beer and Bourbon BBQ Sauce...

It was a snowy, stormy weekend...  Blizzard-like, actually, with snow falling steadily from Thursday night through Saturday morning, silencing the air with millions of sparkling snowflakes.  Fortunately, I stopped for groceries on Thursday evening after work - although I wasn't the only one who had the idea to prepare for a cold weekend indoors - the store was bustling with people buying warm comfort food for the storm.

Our comfort food that Friday night was Slow-baked Ribs, which we finished on the grill.  Yes, even during a blizzard, our grill was working hard to melt the snow and ice on our balcony.

Throughout the afternoon, the scent of the Beer and Bourbon BBQ Sauce simmering on the stove made my stomach rumble.

And the Cornbread, baked in a cast iron skillet, was hearty and delicious with bits of red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, onion and corn kernels.  I could have eaten just cornbread for dinner and been perfectly happy.  There was so much cornbread, that I used the leftovers a few days later to make a cornbread stuffing, tossed with sauteed onions and celery, and a little chicken broth, which we ate with some BBQ chicken.

We spent that blizzardy evening playing Monopoly, which I hadn't played in probably 20 years, and Jamie thoroughly kicked my butt at the game.  We finished the game Saturday morning, just as the sun started to peek through the clouds with a hint of blue sky.  It's Colorado, after all, and those blue skies don't stay hidden for long.  Blue skies and over a foot of fresh snow.

Please click here for my recipe for Slow-Baked Baby Back Ribs.

Beer and Bourbon BBQ Sauce
printable recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup (I used my own homemade chipotle ketchup)
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in their juice
  • 1 bottle of your favorite beer (I used Fat Tire)
  • 1/4 cup good-quality bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 - 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (I didn't add any cayenne, since the chipotle ketchup added enough spice; add a little spice, though, if you're using classic ketchup)

Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and salt and cook for 5-6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the remaining ingredients.

Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce until completely smooth.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to medium low and simmer steadily, uncovered, for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced and thickened, and the flavors have developed.  Adjust seasonings as needed.

Yields about 5 cups.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen.

Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread
printable recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 can yellow corn, drained
  • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional)

(Note: the vegetables are optional, so if you leave them out, reduce the flour by 1/2 cup, since the extra flour compensates for the moisture in the vegetables.)

Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Place a large cast iron skillet in the oven to heat (I used a 12-inch enameled cast iron pan, and this recipe filled it up; without the vegetables, a 9-10 inch pan would be big enough).

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and red bell pepper, with a pinch of salt, and cook until softened, about 7 minutes.  Stir in the jalapeno and corn and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, black pepper, baking powder and baking soda.  Stir in the milk, buttermilk and eggs, just until moistened.  Add 7 tablespoons of the melted butter, and stir in the vegetables.  Stir in the cheese.

Remove the skillet from the oven (carefully, it's hot!) and brush the bottom and sides with the last tablespoon of melted butter.  Pour the batter into the skillet.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F.  Return the skillet to the oven and bake for 25 minutes.  If desired, sprinkle the top with a little more cheese, and place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until browned and golden.

Cool for about 10 minutes then cut into wedges and serve.

Yields 8-10 servings.

Recipe adapted from Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread by Alex Guarnaschelli.