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Under the Apron Strings: Mexican Cornbread

This recipe came to me from a dear friend around 1985. Debbie Davis Foster grew up in a family of good cooks. She wrote this recipe down for me on an order form from Shields Flowers, my family’s business. It’s been highly requested from my kitchen ever since.

Over the years and years of making this recipe, I developed a way to sneak in a little bit of freshness. Around the end of summer, before the last frost or when there are plenty of peppers still on the vine, I pick all the bell, banana and hot peppers from my Mama and Daddy’s garden.

They must be washed and dried on top of paper towels. If there are any hot peppers, it is at this point that I recommend using gloves. Remove the seeds and membranes from the peppers and chop them finely in the food processor (be careful not to overdo) or by hand with a knife. Grandmommie used a small hand nut grinder, but would employ a hand meat grinder for large amounts.

I like to spoon those peppers into ice cube trays and freeze. After they are frozen cubes, I drop them all into a gallon freezer bag and keep frozen until some flavor is needed. The cubes can transform a roast, soups or, most importantly, show up as a substitute for the canned green chiles below. Big Ol’ time in the winter when I serve this cornbread with beef stew or red beans and rice.


3 cups self-rising cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

2 cups whole milk

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup canola oil

a regular can cream corn

1 1/2 grated cheddar cheese

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 small drained 4 ounce can of chopped chili peppers

Or one frozen cube (see above)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 2 quart bowl combine cornmeal, salt, baking powder and sugar; stir well. Add the ingredients in order as listed above and stir well after each ingredient.

  • Bake in a 9 x 13 pan for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

  • Remove from the oven and cool before slicing. Take time to slather on some real butter.

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