Lentil Soup and Cornbread
So, after a delightful supper yesterday of Lentil and Bulgur Soup made in the crock pot and probably my favorite cornbread recipe ever, I had to head out to the theatre to unlock a cabinet, pass out a few t-shirts, and set up for a reception. I got home late (with a little extra cake) and was way way too tired to blog about our dinner. So, today’s post will be a little long, but it’s for two days.
Maybe I’m not making the grade with the blogging-every-day thing.
But let me tell you about this cornbread. The original recipe is called Country Cornbread and I couldn’t find it on the internet. But, I am going to re-name this Caveman Cornbread because my sister tells a story about making a recipe called Caveman Beans that made a ginormous amount of beans that she and her husband ate for days and days–or maybe weeks. I’ve never asked for the recipe. I couldn’t find that one on the internet, either. But, anyway, I thought this was a lot of cornbread.
I think cornbread should only be cooked in cast iron, so when the recipe said, “grease 2 8-inch square baking pans,” I thought, “I wonder if I have enough cast iron?” So, I heated the oven to 400 and pulled out my set of 3 cast iron skillets and 1 cast iron corncob pan. I put them in the oven to heat up while I mixed up the batter.
If you don’t have cast iron, don’t let that stop you from making this cornbread. Just keep an eye out for some at thrift shops and garage sales. Or ask for one for your birthday. Cast iron is great to cook on. It’s also great to chase people with if you happen to be the type that doesn’t have weapons in the house.
Once, when Justin and I were first married, we lived in a basement apartment. Well, in our neighborhood, there was a Peeping Tom. (I am not making this up.) One night, when I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom, I looked up at the window. This was one of those basement windows made of clouded glass blocks. But through the blocks, I could see a form of a person. Someone was watching me brush my teeth! Justin grabbed the big cast iron skillet and ran out the door, yelling and chasing the person away.
Later when we moved away from the neighborhood, we saw on the local news that the neighbors had set up a surveillance camera and had caught the Peeping Tom. I felt vindicated, but maybe not as vindicated as I would have if someone had actually gotten him with a cast iron skillet.
3 cups cornmeal (white or yellow. Or, actually, if you only have 2 C. cornmeal, you can substitute 1 C. grits for 1 C. cornmeal. It makes the cornbread a little more crunchy.)
1 C. whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
6 T. sugar
1 t. salt
2 T. baking powder
1 C. milk
1 C. plain yogurt
1/4 C. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 C. vegetable oil or olive oil
4 large eggs
1 can (15-16 oz.) creamed corn
Heat oven to 400. If you are going to use cast iron, put the skillet(s) in the oven. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another, starting with the eggs and, after you mix them up, adding the rest of the ingredients. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. If you’re using cast iron, pull it out of the oven and grease it. Butter or bacon grease is good, but you can also use oil. Pour in the batter to make the pan about 1/2 to 2/3 full. If you are not using cast iron, pour the batter into prepared (greased) pans–2 8″ square ones. Bake about 45 minutes for a large cast iron skillet; smaller breads will bake faster, but you know that.
Serves 12-18 regular people or one caveman
Lentil and Bulgur Soup (Crock Pot)
The original recipe is from Martha Stewart herself, but I adapted it for a crock pot.
Heat the crock pot to high while you prepare the ingredients.
Place in the crock pot: 2 T. olive oil.
Add: 1 medium carrot, chopped; 1 celery stick, chopped; 1 small onion, chopped.
Cook for awhile while you take a shower or feed your baby or go for a run. (Guess which one I didn’t do.)
When the vegetables start to smell like they’re cooking, add: 6 C. water, 1 C. green or brown lentils and 1/2 C. bulgur wheat.
Cook the soup on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8. If you cook it for a long time, the lentils may get mushy, but it will not ruin the soup. Some people like their lentils mushy.
Right before you serve, check the soup and add salt and pepper. Also add 2-3 T. red wine vinegar. This is what really makes it good.
My baby likes this soup a lot, but it gives her enough gas to propel her across her crib.