With her recipe, Chili Shrimp and Coconut Cornbread, Hidemi Walsh won the 21st Annual Lodge National Cornbread Cook-off on Sunday, April 30.
Ms. Walsh, a resident of Centreville, Va, received the coveted cast iron skillet crown, a $5,000 cash prize and a FiveStar 30-inch stainless steel gas range (a value of $3,200).
Sponsored by Lodge Manufacturing Company, the National Cornbread Cook-off is a Main Dish/Entrée contest, with contestants required to use a Lodge Cast Iron Skillet or other Lodge Cast Iron product and a package of Martha White Cornmeal.
Recipes throughout the 21-year history of the cook-off always expand the concept of Southern Cuisine, with contestants utilizing a broad range of culinary genres and cooking techniques.
Ashlyn Morgan from Englewood, Tn. earned second place and $1,500 in cash. Her recipe was Cornbread Cuban Sandwiches with Mojo Sauce.
Raleigh, N.C.’s Felice Bogus earned third place honors and $1,000 with her Smokey Chicken Tinga Street Gorditas recipe.
All finalists received $500 travel reimbursement and a gift basket courtesy of Martha White and Lodge.
Lodge received submissions from 39 states between early December 2016 and February 5. The finalists were announced on March 1.
Finalists for the 2017 National Cornbread Cook-off:
• Robin Kessler, Sarasota, Fl.; Butternut and Sage Sausage Skillet Tart with Mushrooms and Smoked Gouda;
• Pamela Gelsomini, Wrentham, Ma.; Cornbread Crusted Catfish Jambalaya;
• Devon Delaney, Westport, Ct.; Seared Steakhouse Cornbread Crepes with Horseradish Caper Sauce;
• Sherry Kozlowski, Morgantown, WV; Seafood Pot Pie;
• Shauna Havey, Roy, Ut.; Steak & Eggs Cornbread Dutch Baby;
• Mary Edwards, Long Beach, Ca.; Cajun Spoon Bread; and
• Michele Kusma, Columbus, Oh.; Shakshuka-Topped Cornbread Skillet
Top three recipes for the cook-off are:
First Place: Hidemi Walsh
Chili Shrimp and Coconut Cornbread
For Coconut cornbread:
1 package (7 oz.) Martha White Sweet Yellow Cornbread & Muffin Mix
1 Large Egg
1/2 cup Canned coconut milk
1 tablespoon Water
1/4 cup Unsweetened coconut flakes
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/2 tablespoon Unsalted butter, melted
For Chili Shrimp:
24 Frozen medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail removed and thawed
1 tablespoon Grated fresh garlic
1 tablespoon Grated fresh ginger
2 Large scallions
3/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Sriracha tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon Soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
3/4 teaspoon Crushed red pepper
1/16 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Black pepper
1 Large Egg, beaten
1/2 tablespoon Cornstarch
1 tablespoon Water
4 slices Bacon
1. Make coconut cornbread. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 egg, coconut milk, 1/8 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of water and cornbread & muffin mix. Mix in coconut flakes until well blended. Use the lid of the Lodge® Cast Iron 3.2-quart Combo Cooker as a skillet. Spread the melted butter on the bottom of the lid and spread the cornbread mixture evenly. Bake in preheated 400 degrees F oven for 19-21 minutes until golden brown and a tooth pick inserted in center of the cornbread comes out clean.
2. While the cornbread is baking, make chili shrimp. In a small bowl, mix together sriracha tomato ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, crushed red pepper, 1/16 teaspoon of salt and black pepper.
3. Heat the 3.2-quart Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker over medium heat. Chop bacon, add the bacon to the cooker and cook stirring constantly until the fat is rendered and bacon is almost crisp. Add garlic and ginger to the cooker. Cook stirring constantly until fragrant. Add shrimp to the cooker and cook stirring constantly until shrimp turn opaque. Stir in the sriracha tomato ketchup mixture and 3/4 cup of water. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
4. Cut out the stem end of scallions and chop scallions. In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water.
5. After 5 minutes, add the scallions to the cooker and stir to combine. Then add the cornstarch mixture to the cooker and stir until thickened. Stir in the beaten egg until egg is fluffy, not over cooked.
6. When the coconut cornbread has baked, remove the lid from the oven, cut the coconut cornbread into four and place on each individual serving platter. Put the chili shrimp over the top equally.
Second place: Ashlyn Morgan
Cornbread Cuban Sandwiches with Mojo Sauce
Ingredients: For the Cornbread:
2 packages Martha White buttermilk cornbread mix 2 eggs, beaten;1 cup buttermilk; 8 oz. can creamed corn
Oil or shortening for greasing For the Mojo Sauce:
1 red bell pepper
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
1 bunch cilantro (about 1 cup firmly packed)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 red onion
1 cup olive oil
For the Sandwich Fixings:
1 pound pre-cooked, shredded pork
3/4 pound sliced ham
8 slices swiss cheese
Mustard – to taste
Pickles – to taste
1/4 stick of butter
**Garnish sandwiches with toothpick skewered slices of pickle, jalapeno, and red onion
1. Preheat the oven to 400F
2. Grease 12-inch LODGE cast iron skillet and place in oven while preparing batter
3. In a large bowl, mix together Martha White cornbread mix, eggs, and buttermilk. Whisk to combine
4. Stir in creamed corn
5. Remove hot skillet from oven and pour in batter
6. Cook for 20-25 minutes
7. While the cornbread is baking, make the mojo sauce
8. In a food processor blend together bell pepper, garlic, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, and spices
9. Add olive oil last and only pulse for a few seconds to incorporate the oil
10. Coat the pulled pork in the mojo sauce. Set aside.
11. Remove cornbread from oven when ready. Allow to cool.
12. When cool, turn the cornbread out from the skillet. Slice in half horizontally to make 2 parts of the sandwich, a top and bottom.
13. Place the bottom of the cornbread back in the skillet.
14. Spread bottom with mustard, then add pickles, then ham, then pork, and finally Swiss cheese.
15. Place top half of cornbread back in skillet to complete the sandwich. Generously butter the top.
16. Place skillet back in oven for about 10 minutes. Optional: take another skillet (preferably hot) and place on top, to create a sandwich press while in the oven.
17. Remove skillet from oven. Slice cornbread Cuban sandwiches into triangles. Garnish with fresh pickles, jalapeno, and red onion.
18. Serve to happy guests!
Third Place: Felice Bogus
Smokey Chicken Tinga Gorditas
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 c. chopped pineapple, fresh or canned (well drained, if canned)
1 (16-oz.) bottle chipotle salsa
1 (15-oz.) can fire-roasted chopped tomatoes, with the liquid
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
4 c. shredded, cooked chicken (or 1 rotisserie chicken, skinned, boned, and shredded)
1 (6-oz.) pkg. Martha White Cotton Country Cornbread Mix
½ c. water
1 large egg, beaten
Crumbled queso fresco, queso anejo, or Romano cheese
Make the chicken:
1. Heat a large Lodge cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and heat the oil. Saute onion and pineapple about 5 minutes, or until just beginning to brown.
2. Add the salsa, tomatoes, and vinegar, and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in shredded chicken and adjust seasoning to taste. Keep chicken warm while frying the gorditas.
Make the gorditas:
4. Preheat oven to 200º.
5. Heat a large Lodge cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
6. Combine cornmeal mix, water, and egg in a bowl until completely combined.
7. Film skillet lightly with vegetable oil and pour batter by the ¼ cupful into the skillet without crowding the pan. Cook until golden on each side, flipping once. Drain cooked gorditas briefly on paper towels, transfer to a baking sheet, and place in oven to keep warm. Continue frying, adding small amounts of oil as necessary, until all the batter is used.
Assemble the gorditas:
8. Carefully cut around the circumference of each gordita, splitting in half. Top each with a generous helping of chicken tinga. Sprinkle with avocado and cheese, replace tops, and serve immediately with lime wedges.