We are smack dab in the center of my favorite season, FALL. The autumn in Santa Barbara has a golden warmth and crisp air, all set against crazy sunrises and sunsets. It's an invigorating place to be! I much prefer it to the heavy grey clouds and drizzle of Portland . . .
As the November food magazines come piling through my little green mailbox, I've been percolating a few ideas for Thanksgiving. I can't help it. The side dishes, twists and potential for reinvention is tantalizing. This Cornbread with Apples & Onions seemed to be made from the same Autumnal ingredients my favorite stuffing is comprised of, just self-contained, in my Mother's ancient cast iron skillet.
My family needed a morale boost, so I made it yesterday -- a bit early for Thanksgiving table -- but no less satisfying and divine. Dripping in sweet/soft onions and apples, married with the grit of cornmeal and finally balanced with a glut of butter this cornbread is INSANE.
Cornbread with Caramelized Apples, Onions and Fresh Thyme
adapted from Bon Appetit
¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
3 medium apples, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
1½ cups cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1½ cups buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 400°. Melt butter in an cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Pour all but 2 Tbsp. butter into a small bowl; set aside.
- Add onion to butter in skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add apples, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and 2 tsp. thyme and cook, stirring often, until apples are softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to a medium bowl and reserve skillet.
- Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in eggs, buttermilk, and ¾ cup reserved melted butter until smooth (no lumps should remain). Fold in half of onion mixture and scrape batter into reserved skillet. Top with remaining onion mixture and remaining 1 tsp. thyme.
- Bake cornbread until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30–40 minutes.