3rd Place - 2002 National Cornbread Festival Cook-off
Karen Shankles Knoxville, TN
- 1 lb. Italian Sausage links
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups frozen country-style hash brown potatoes
- 2 (approx. 15 oz) cans ready-to-serve low sodium chicken broth
- 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed – OR – one (10 oz) bag fresh washed spinach, chopped
- 1 (19 oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup cream
- 1 tablespoon refrigerated, prepared pesto
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Cornbread topping:
- 1 ½ cups Martha White® Self-Rising Corn Meal Mix
- 1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
- ½ cup shredded Italian fontina or mozzarella cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon refrigerated, prepared petso
- ¼ cup extra-virgin or light tasting olive oil or vegetable oil
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Small cherry or grape tomatoes and fresh basil and/or rosemary sprigs.
1.) Preheat oven to 425°F. Place rack so that cornbread will cook in the middle of the oven.
2.) Remove casings from Italian sausage and place in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook sausage while crumbling until no traces of pink remain. Drain excess grease; add onion and cook until onion is limp and translucent. Add potatoes, chicken broth, and spinach if using frozen and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Add spinach if using fresh, and cannellini beans and cook for about 5 minutes or until spinach is limp. Stir in cream and pesto. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Reduce heat to low to keep warm while preparing cornbread topping.
3.) In a medium-size bowl, combine corn meal mix, rosemary and cheese. In a separate bowl combine egg, buttermilk, pesto, and oil, stir until well blended. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Do not overmix. Gently drop spoonfuls of the cornbread batter over filling so that most of the filling is evenly covered. There may be a few small gaps where the filling shows through.
4.) Place skillet in preheated oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cornbread is golden brown.
5.) To serve, spoon onto plates and sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Garnish with small tomatoes, fresh basil and rosemary sprigs as desired.
Yield: 8 servings