We had a cold snap today. I went out for the paper about 6:00 a.m. and it was windy and starting to get damp. By 7:00 a.m. snow was starting to stick and El Paso was starting to panic. Mountain roads were closed, streets were getting slick and reports of car crashes were on the news flashes. We don’t handle snow and wet very well here.
It was a good day to stay off the streets, hike down to the doublewide and think about a big bowl of something. I wasn’t in the mood to go to the store, so I went to the cupboard to see what was there. When I found a bag of Anasazi beans, I knew what to do. Anasazi beans are an ancient bean grown by pueblo dwelling farmers in the southwest. They are now grown commercially and are readily available in New Mexico and Arizona. They have a pale background marbled by cranberry colored lines. When cooked, they darken and look like pale pinto beans.
I used a quick cook method for them. I boiled them in plain water for 15 minutes, then turned off the burner and let them sit a half hour. They began to absorb the water and start to get tender. This technique substitutes for soaking them overnight. After that half hour, I drained them and added fresh water to cover them and poured in 1 Cup of chicken broth. I brought them to a boil and reduced them to a simmer. After they got “going good,” I added a chopped onion, a couple of crushed garlic cloves and two or three diced slices of bacon and let it all simmer for a couple of hours, checking for doneness along the way.
When the beans were done, I turned the burner to its lowest level, added a pinch of salt to the pot and let them stay warm a while longer.
Next I made skillet of cornbread. I use my step-grandmother’s cast iron skillet that has been used only for corn bread since before I was born. It is perfectly seasoned and I will have her haunt anyone who messes with that pan.
At last the corn bread was done. I dished up a bowl of beans, topped it with a generous side of corn bread with a dab of butter and a spoonful of green chile sauce — just the way to end to a snowy day!
Cornbread makes me think of my grandfather. One of his favorite suppers was a tall glass of buttermilk and crumbled up cornbread left over from lunch. It took me a long time to learn to like buttermilk. As a senior citizen, I like a glass now and then. With a salute to my grandfather’s memory, my dessert was a short glass of buttermilk with cornbread and a grind of black pepper.
Cornbread and buttermilk with a grind of pepper – pure goodness from the doublewide.
By the way, I had to cross town to pick up someone at the airport. The wind stopped around 7:00 p.m. and so did the snow. It is now 10:45 p.m. and streets are clear and most of the snow has melted. Bad weather seldom lasts long in El Paso.
1 C cornmeal
1 C flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1-1/4 C buttermilk
1/4 C vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Sift dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl, or, you can also stir them with fork until the white and yellow ingredients are a uniform color.
Whisk egg, milk and oil together. Melt 1-4 tsp butter in a an 8-9 inch cast iron skillet, pour in batter.
Bake 25 minutes or until a straw or tooth pick inserted into the bread comes out dry.
Rest pan on a rack for 10 minutes and invert onto a plate. Slice and serve.
*If you have Yankee ways about you, you could add 2-4 Tbsp sugar to the dry ingredients. Then you might as well drench it in syrup or molasses. If you like good cornbread, you will skip the sugar. All it really needs is a generous pat of butter.