Country Cornbread

Mile-High Country Cornbread

June 4, 2020

Just had the pleasure of writing about Chicago chef’s favorite food memories, represented in this photo of a golden hour picnic I made with the recipes from the chefs .(I’ll post more here in coming weeks!)  Chef Lamar Moore’s recipe for a fabulously tall and tender country cornbread is the first I’m sharing. Growing up on Chicago’s West side, Lamar Moore spent a lot of time with his grandparents. Afternoons, while his grandfather made a one-pot goulash of chicken neckbones, with potatoes, celery, onions, carrots, “and any herbs he could find,” Lamar says his grandmother would busy herself making cornbread to go alongside. “It was simply white cornmeal, eggs, dried-evaporated milk powder, and lard,” says Moore. “Sometimes, she’d get busy doing something else in the kitchen, and the cornbread would get burnt on the edges. When that happened, she’d crumble it into bowls, pour some buttermilk and sugar on it, and my brother and I would eat it with spoons.”

The flavor was so good, Moore patterned his Burnt Buttermilk Cake on it. But at his home now, Moore likes to make cornbread he’s perfected to include buttermilk in the batter, serving it with whipped honey butter. “You have to bake it in a cast iron skillet that you’ve heated with a little fat in the bottom—that makes the crust crisp up when it hits the pan,” says Moore. The stiff, rich batter includes choice of butter or shortening, with both flour and white cornmeal, buttermilk and a splash of molasses in the mix. It bakes up into a corncake that’s a full four inches tall, with crispy outside edges and a tender, inside texture. “I learned a good portion of my recipes from my grandmother, and my version of this one is a summer favorite,” says Moore.

Mile High Counry Cornbread

Mile High Counry Cornbread


  • For cornbread:
  • 2 cups white cornmeal
  • 2 cus all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup pure-cane sugar
  • 6 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tsp lard, butter, or vegetable shortening, divided
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • For Honey-butter:
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • Mix together well, keep room temperature


  1. Preheat oven to 400. In a bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter with two forks, a pastry cutter, or your fingers until mixture is crumbly with a texture like damp sand.
  2. In a separate, medium mixing bowl, beat egg until frothy. Stir in buttermilk and molasses. Add wet mixture to the dry mixture, stirring just until blended.
  3. Place remaining 2 tsp fat in cast-iron skillet and put skillet in oven. When oil is shimmering and skillet is very hot, add the batter to the skillet.
  4. Bake cornbread 25 to 35 minutes, until center springs back when pressed, and toothpick comes out clean when inserted into bread.
  5. Serve hot, with honey butter.

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