Lodge Cast Iron Crowns Cook-Off Winner at 20th National Cornbread Festival

In a weekend-long celebration of cornbread, dishes with French influence and southern flair take home top honors at the National Cornbread Festival.

Lodge Cast Iron® hosted the 20th Annual Cornbread Festival in its hometown of South Pittsburg, Tennessee, at which Ronna F. of Rockville, Maryland, was crowned the winner of the 20th Annual National Cornbread Cook-Off. As winner of the 2016 Cook-Off, Ronna’s original recipe, Cornbread-Topped Cordon Bleu Skillet, earned her the coveted cast iron skillet crown, a $5,000 cash prize, a 30-inch stainless steel gas range from FiveStar® Professional Cooking Equipment (a $3,250 value), and special gifts from Martha White® and Lodge Cast Iron.

CORNBREAD-TOPPED CORDON BLEU SKILLET

Ingredients:
1 large egg

cup milk

¼ cup sour cream

¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 package Martha White® Cotton Country Buttermilk Cornbread & Muffin Mix

1 cup cooked chicken breast, shredded or diced

1¼ cups bottled Alfredo sauce

1 4-ounce can of mushroom stems and pieces, drained

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

2 ounces thinly sliced deli-style cooked ham, roughly chopped

4 ounces shredded Swiss cheese

cups panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon dried parsley

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a medium bowl, using a wire whisk, whisk together the egg, milk, sour cream and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Blend in cornbread mix. Set aside.

In a 10-inch Lodge cast iron skillet, combine chicken, Alfredo sauce and mushrooms. Lay the spinach leaves over the chicken mixture. Scatter the ham over the spinach. Sprinkle the Swiss cheese on top of the ham. Spoon the cornbread mixture evenly over the top.

In a small bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs, remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the cornbread.

Bake at 375°F for 25 to 30 minutes until topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cornbread comes out clean. Cut into wedges.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Lodge is a trademark of Lodge Manufacturing Company.

National Cornbread Festival is a trademark of National Cornbread Festival, Inc.

Come Celebrate 20th National Cornbread Festival With Us!

On April 23 & 24, 2016, the picturesque Tennessee River town of South Pittsburg, TN, will celebrate the 20th National Cornbread Festival. Paying homage to the South’s perfect union of cornbread and cast iron, the Festival will be a great fun-filled weekend for the entire family.

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At the 20th anniversary of the Festival, Martha White® will host the 2016 Past National Championship Cook-Off Winners’ Charity event on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Past judges from The National Cornbread Cook-Off will compete for a food-related charity of their choice. These food experts will prepare an original appetizer recipe with a Martha White Cornbread Mix that has been prepared in Lodge® Cast Iron cookware. You’re sure to leave the Cook-Off with some great new ideas for delicious party food to share with your friends.

Lodge® Cast Iron will also sponsor a consumer Cornbread Cook-Off.  Creative home cooks will prepare their original main dish recipes for a panel of judges at the Festival. The recipes will be made with a Martha White Cornbread Mix and cooked in Lodge® Cast Iron Cookware.

Make a point to arrive early so you can see the 4-H Student Cook-Off. Seeing these young 4-H members competing will give you hope for the preservation of good cornbread for the next generation.

Last year we invited past winners to prepare their winning recipes and interestingly one of our earlier recipes, Festive Good Luck Cornbread Skillet, was the winner. The dish features smoked sausage, black-eyed peas, collards and cornbread and proves that cornbread combined with traditional ingredients is always a winner!

Come and share the fun with us. See how cast iron cookware is made by touring the Lodge Manufacturing plant. Explore opportunities to enter prize drawings, shop the crafts, enjoy the music and eat lots of good cornbread!  For more information, visit www.nationalcornbread.com.

The Joy of Fresh Vegetables and Cornbread

All summer and into fall, my mother cooked fresh vegetables every day. The meat was not a necessity, but cornbread was! Now that I think back about those meals, it seems to me we always had some kind of beans or peas – like green beans, lima beans or some variety of peas like purple hull or Crowder peas. We loved creamed corn, which she cut off the cob and scraped the milk, fried okra, sliced tomatoes, slaw and new potatoes, sometimes cooked on top of the green beans.

But the final touch was mama’s cornbread. It was the last thing she made. She put a generous spoonful of shortening or bacon drippings in her large well-seasoned cast iron skillet and put it in the oven to heat.

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In the meantime, she beat an egg, added milk or buttermilk and Martha White® Self-Rising Corn Meal Mix. When the skillet was piping hot, she took it out and poured the hot drippings into the cornbread batter. Then poured the batter into the skillet and put it back in the oven to bake. When the cornbread was done, she flipped it out onto a plate with the crispy side up and cut it quickly into wedges. Oh my, it was delicious. We like cornbread thin and crispy and that was just the way it was every time.

This recipe is very similar to hers. It calls for adding oil to the batter, but you can heat it for a few minutes in the skillet first, if you like. Just be careful. It’s hot!

Do you have any special fresh vegetable dishes you’re creating right now?

Roasted Tomato and Bacon Cobbler Takes Top Prize at the 18th Annual National Cornbread Cook-Off

The 2014 National Cornbread Cook-Off, held in conjunction with the National Cornbread Festival® in South Pittsburg, Tenn., was a rousing success. For the 18th year, Martha White® and Lodge® Cast Iron teamed up to sponsor the event which celebrates the South’s perfect union – cornbread and cast iron.

Nine Cook-Off finalists prepared their recipes under a tent with an enthusiastic audience of well-wishers. It was my pleasure to join a great panel of judges who took on the difficult task of tasting and selecting the winners. All the recipes are main dishes made with Martha White Cornbread Mix and cooked in Lodge Cast Iron cookware. Each one is a tribute to the versatility of cornbread and the creative spirit that has made Southern cooks famous.

The first place winner of $5,000 cash and a 30-inch stainless steel gas range from FiveStar® Professional Cooking Equipment was Andria G. of Matthews, North Carolina for her Roasted Tomato and Bacon Cobbler. The second place winning recipe, Mediterranean Cornbread Caprese, was created by Judy A. of Prairieville, Louisiana. Susan R. of Round Rock, Texas, took third place for her Ultimate Southern Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

It’s never too early for you to start creating a recipe to enter in next year’s Cook-Off. Official Rules and entry requirements for the 2015 National Cornbread Cook-Off will be available after the first of the year at www.marthawhite.com. Hope to see in South Pittsburg next year!

Lodge is a trademark of Lodge Manufacturing Company. National Cornbread Festival is a trademark of National Cornbread Festival, Inc. FiveStar is a trademark of Brown Stove Works, Inc.