Cornbread and Black Bean Soup - The Baker and The Chef
I love cornbread.  My dad used to make it all the time when we were kids, and eventually I took over and made it.  We would have a big pan of it sitting around to snack on.  We always used the standard recipe on the back of the corn meal container, which at the time seemed plenty good.

Then I met The Chef, who insisted he didn't like corn bread.  To me, that was a challenge.  I quizzed him about what he didn't like about it.  I figured out that he preferred his cornbread to be sweet and not dry and crumbly.  So I began trying out different recipes I would find in cookbooks and on the internet.  He didn't like any of them.  I realized I would have to create my own recipe.

So began my cornbread odyssey.  It took a lot of trial and error, but I finally came up with a recipe that he liked!  It's a sweet and tender cornbread that is simply delicious.  I'm really proud of this recipe because I created it entirely myself, so it's a Baker Original!  We've taken to calling it "Cornbread For People Who Claim Not To Like Cornbread".

Yesterday I wanted to make cornbread but I was undecided what to make with it.  I needed to drop M1 off at a guitar lesson.  While I was waiting for him to get ready I was perusing blogs.  Smitten Kitchen had just made some black bean soup and I was mentally slapping myself in the forehead... I LOVE black bean soup!  It's probably my favorite soup.  And, it would go so great with cornbread.

While M1 was at his lesson I ran over to the store and picked up the ingredients.  Then we picked up M1 and went back home to make the soup and cornbread.  I love the recipe she uses because you can cook the beans in a slow cooker, which is so convenient.  There's no need to soak the beans overnight.  I tend not to make black bean soup because I don't plan far enough in advance and by the time the craving hits I don't want to wait 24 hours.  So I do without or I buy a container of pre-made soup at the store.

I did a couple of things differently than Smitten Kitchen.  I don't like red and green peppers so I left them out.  Knowing that by not having the peppers the soup would probably be flat tasting I chose to use chipotle sauce, which contains tomato puree, to round out the flavor.  Because I used the sauce, and not just the chipotle pepper that she used, I used more than what she called for in her recipe.

I also garnished mine with some corn, queso fresco, mexican crema and cilantro... and a huge hunk of cornbread!  It's delicious and hearty.  A perfect meal to have on a cold day.  And, oh by the way, it gets even better then next day!

-The Baker

yield: 8" x 8" pan

  • 1 C All-purpose Flour
  • 1 C Cornmeal
  • 2/3 C Sugar
  • 1 t Salt
  • 3 1/2 t Baking Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 C Milk
  • 4 oz Butter
  • 1/4 C Honey
  1. combine all of the dry ingredients; whisk together
  2. combine milk, honey and butter; microwave until the butter has melted; remove from microwave and whisk in the egg
  3. add the milk mixture to the flour mixture; whisk together, just until combined
  4. pour into a buttered pan; bake at 400 F for 15 - 20 mins
BLACK BEAN SOUP:  (inspired by Smitten Kitchen)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 16-ounce package dried black beans
  • small can of chipotle sauce (i used half of the can, which gives just a little after burn, but use more or less depending on how spicy or mild you like it)
  • 7 cups hot water
  • zest from 1 lime
  • juice from 1 fresh lime (use the lime you zested)
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. heat oil in saute pan
  2. add onions saute until they just start to brown; add garlic and cumin; stir
  3. transfer to 6-quart slow cooker; add beans and chipotle sauce, and hot water; over and cook on high until beans are very tender; it took my beans about four hours to get soft, but Smitten Kitchen's beans took just under three hours, so test them every hour after the first two hours of cooking
  4. when the beans are tender, scoop a couple of ladles into a blender; puree until smooth; puree as much of the beans as you like; the pureed beans will act as a thickener for the soup; i prefer a more pureed soup so i pureed most of the beans;
  5. add the pureed beans back to the beans in the slow cooker; add the lime zest, lime juice, and season with salt, and pepper to taste; because you didn't season the beans in the beginning you will probably find you need a lot more salt than you thought
  6. to serve, garnish each bowl with some fresh corn, queso fresco, mexican crema and fresh cilantro and a big hunk of cornbread
1/19/2010 07:09:29

I love a good cornbread recipe...but ours will be paired with chili tonight. Keep 'em coming!

Anne Adams
1/21/2010 20:56:14

First - I have been questing for a "perfect" cornbread for years and will try this soon. THANKS

Second - You have been holding out on us! This is a great site that more people need to get in on. Write on tart lady.

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A perfect meal to have on a cold day.


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