A good cornbread recipe is worth its weight in gold. This classic recipe from the Cooking Down East by Marjorie Standish is one of my tried-and-true standbys. If you haven’t seen this cookbook yet, go find a copy, trust me.
Marjorie writes, “an old Maine recipe is just as much of an heirloom as a lovely antique.” It’s particularly fitting, then, to make this recipe using stone-ground heirloom cornmeal from Johanna and Adam at Songbird Farm in Unity. Made with the Abenaki Flint cornmeal, maple syrup instead of sugar, and local butter or duck fat rather than shortening, and with or without the bacon, this cornbread is truly local, and incredibly delicious.
Abenaki Flint corn is native to the Northeast, and has been revived by farmers and regional seed producers in recent years. It’s a great “new” addition to the local farm scene in Maine, and a favorite of the customers who participate in Songbird Farm’s Pantry Share.
1 cup Abenaki Flint cornmeal
1 cup flour, sifted (I used Maine Grains flour)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
2 Tablespoons butter or lard, melted
optional: 3 to 4 slices finely cut raw bacon
Preheat oven to 425. Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the egg, milk and butter/lard and stir to combine. Lightly grease a 8×8 pan and pour the batter into it. If using, sprinkle the bacon pieces over the batter and bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve warm, with butter.