And now… the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The big reveal of this year’s top ten cornbread recipes, as selected by the judges at the 16th annual National Cornbread Festival.

Without further ado, here they are:

GRAND PRIZE WINNER:
Sweet Cornbread Shrimp Cakes with Mango Salsa
Serves 6
Melanie McCoy, Knoxville, Tenn.

Cornbread
1 (7 oz.) package Martha White® Sweet Yellow Cornbread and Muffin Mix
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten

Mango Salsa
3 cups peeled and chopped mango (about 2 to 3)
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
Juice of 1 large lime
Pinch salt
1 jalapeño or Serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Shrimp Cakes
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined and coarsely chopped
3 teaspoons seafood seasoning
2 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Butter for cooking shrimp cakes
Lemon wedges and parsley for garnish

1. BAKE cornbread mix according to package directions, using milk and 1 egg. Cool and crumble.

2. STIR together salsa ingredients. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Serve or refrigerate until serving time.

3. HEAT butter over medium heat in 12-inch Lodge® cast iron skillet. Cook celery and 1/2 cup chopped red onion until tender, about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer celery and onion to large bowl. Stir in shrimp, seafood seasoning, 2 eggs, mayonnaise, cilantro, salt and pepper. Stir in crumbled cornbread until well blended. Using about 1/3 cup, form mixture into 12 crab cakes about 2 1/2-inches in diameter. Place on a parchment or wax paper-lined baking sheet.

4. HEAT 1 to 2 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium heat. Cook crab cakes until lightly browned and shrimp turn pink, about 4 minutes on each side. Cook remaining crab cakes, adding additional butter as needed. Place cakes on a serving platter. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley. Serve with mango salsa.

SECOND PLACE:
Sweet Yellow Cornbread Sausage Tomato Pie with Garlic Cream Drizzle
Serves 8
Lisa Keys, Middlebury, Conn.

Cornbread
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
6 tablespoons Crisco® Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 pint (2 cups) grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, divided
2 (7 oz.) packages Martha White® Sweet Yellow Cornbread and Muffin Mix
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Garlic Cream Drizzle
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon Martha White Self-Rising or Plain Enriched Corn Meal
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Fresh basil, cut into thin strips and shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish

1. HEAT oven 375°F. Brown sausage over medium heat in 10-inch Lodge® cast iron skillet, breaking up meat with wooden spoon. Drain on paper towels. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan along with tomatoes, onions, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally until tomatoes and onions begin to caramelize, about 8 minutes. Spread tomato-onion mixture evenly over bottom of pan. Spoon sausage evenly over top.

2. STIR together cornbread mix, grated parmesan, remaining 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, milk, sour cream, eggs and remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil until smooth. Pour over hot mixture in skillet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before inverting onto serving plate. (If any tomatoes or onions stick to bottom of pan, simply replace on cornbread.)

3. STIR together 1/4 cup heavy cream, corn meal, garlic and basil leaves in 1 cup microwave safe measuring cup or bowl. Heat on HIGH in microwave for 45 to 60 seconds or until mixture boils. Discard garlic and basil. Whisk sour cream, grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in small bowl. Add to cream mixture. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons cream if needed to make drizzling consistent. Sprinkle with parm & basil.

THIRD PLACE:
Marvelous Mediterranean Chicken Sausage Cornbread Dinner
Serves 6
Jeanette Nelson, Crab Orchard, W.V.

Filling
2 teaspoons Crisco® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped shallots
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (12 oz.) package fully cooked sundried tomato chicken sausage, diced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray

Crust
1 (6.5 oz.) package Martha White® Yellow Cornbread and Muffin Mix
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup shredded Romano cheese
1/2 cup basil pesto
1 teaspoon Mediterranean herb seasoning

Toppings
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1 cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup sliced pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup seeded and chopped Roma tomatoes
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. HEAT oven to 425°F. Heat oil in 10-inch Lodge® cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Cook shallots and garlic until shallots are beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add sausage and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add crushed red pepper. Remove sausage mixture from skillet. Wipe skillet with paper towel. Spray with no-stick cooking spray. Place in oven to heat.

2. STIR together cornbread mix, egg, milk, Romano cheese, pesto and herb seasoning in medium bowl. Pour into hot skillet; top with sausage mixture, artichoke hearts, red peppers, olives and tomatoes.

3. BAKE 15 to 18 minutes. Sprinkle with feta cheese and fresh parsley. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese is soft.

Glorious Greek Shrimp with Crispy Cornbread Cubes
Serves 6
Janice Elder, Charlotte, N.C.

Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray

Crispy Cornbread Cubes
1 (6 oz.) package Martha White® Cotton Country™ Cornbread Mix or Buttermilk Cornbread and Muffin Mix
3 green onions, thinly sliced (including green tops)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Crisco Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Glorious Greek Shrimp
1 pint (2 cups) grape tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Crisco Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 pounds large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 (4 oz.) package crumbled feta cheese
Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
Fresh parsley and lemon slices for garnish, optional

1. HEAT oven to 400°F. Coat 10-inch Lodge® cast iron skillet with no-stick cooking spray. Place in oven for about 5 minutes. Stir together cornbread mix, green onions, oregano, yogurt, l juice and zest of 1 lemon, egg, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl until well blended. Spread mixture into hot skillet. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from skillet and cool. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Place cubes on a rimmed baking sheet. Return to oven 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisped and edges are lightly browned, stirring once.

2. INCREASE oven temperature to 450°F. Toss together whole tomatoes, garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place on rimmed baking sheet and place in oven for 15 minutes. Add shrimp and roasted peppers. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or just until shrimp turn pink (do not overcook shrimp). Toss with cornbread cubes, olives, pine nuts, parsley, feta cheese and juice and zest of 1 lemon. Serve immediately. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices, if desired.

Seafood and Okra Stew with Corn Meal Dumplings
Serves 4
Rene Pare, Wilmington, N.C.

Stew
2 tablespoons Crisco® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium leek, sliced thin crossways
1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 red or green pepper
1/2 pound andouille sausage or other spicy sausage, cut into small bite size pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound okra, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1/2 pound cod or other white fish fillets, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup clam juice or fish stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Dumplings
1 (6 oz.) package Martha White® Buttermilk Cornbread and Muffin Mix
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, optional
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk

1. HEAT oil in 5-quart Lodge® cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook leek, fennel, pepper and sausage until vegetables are softened and sausage is brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add okra, thyme and tomatoes and cook about 10 minutes or until okra softens slightly. Add cod, shrimp and clam juice and cook for 5 minutes. Lower heat to simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. STIR together cornbread mix and rosemary in medium bowl. Add buttermilk and mix with fork until dough is a soft ball. Drop dough by spoonfuls into simmering stew making 8 dumplings. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

3. LADLE stew into four bowls. Top each serving with two dumplings.

Italian Sausage Stuffed Bell Pepper Rings
Serves 8
Tim Gladdish, Oliver Springs, Tenn.

4 tablespoons Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil
4 large green bell peppers
1 (7 oz.) package Martha White® Sweet Yellow Cornbread and Muffin Mix
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage, browned and drained
1 medium onion, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
1/2 cup shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend
8 slices or 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. HEAT oven to 400°F. Put vegetable oil into 15-inch Lodge® cast iron skillet. Place in oven to heat for 7 to 8 minutes or until hot.

2. CUT tops and bottoms off each bell pepper. Remove ribs and seeds. Cut each pepper shell into two rings.

3. STIR together cornbread mix, buttermilk and egg in large bowl just until blended. Add sausage, onion, jalapeños, tomatoes and green chilies and shredded cheese blend. Stir until combined.

4. PLACE pepper rings in bottom of hot skillet. Spoon sausage stuffing mixture into each pepper ring until well rounded. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until stuffing is set and golden brown. Top each pepper with a slice of mozzarella or sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top. Bake 5 to 7 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove pepper rings from skillet with spatula. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Ragin’ Cajun Cornbread topped with Etouffee
Serves 6
Dee Guelcher, Acworth, Ga.

10 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Martha White® All-Purpose Flour
1 cup chopped green onions, divided
1 cup chopped red bell pepper, divided
1/2 cup chopped celery, divided
3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning, divided
2 cups clam juice
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with jalapenos
Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
1/2 pound andouille sausage, sliced
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 (6.5 oz.) package Martha White Yellow Cornbread and Muffin Mix
2 pounds uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

1. MELT 8 tablespoons butter in Lodge® cast iron Dutch oven. Stir in flour until well blended. Cook over medium heat 15 to 20 minutes, stirring constantly, until roux becomes a caramel color. Add in 1/2 cup green onions, 1/2 cup bell pepper, 1/4 cup celery and 1 1/2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning. Cook 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in clam juice and tomatoes until well blended. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add shrimp and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until no longer opaque.

2. HEAT oven to 375ºF. Spray 10-inch Lodge cast iron skillet with no-stick cooking spray. In another 10-inch Lodge cast iron skillet, cook sausage over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes or until cooked thoroughly. Remove and set aside. Reduce heat to low. Add 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup green onions, 1/2 cup bell pepper and 1/4 cup celery. Sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat.

3. WHISK egg and milk in a large mixing bowl. Stir in cornbread mix and 1 1/2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning until well blended. Fold in sausage and vegetables. Pour into skillet. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.

To serve, cut cornbread into wedges and top with etouffee.

Peaches and Cream Cornbread with Maple Sausage
Cristy King, Scott Depot, W.V.

1 (8 oz.) container cream cheese spread
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil
1 pound maple pork sausage
Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
2/3 cup milk
1 large egg
1 (6 oz.) package Martha White® Buttermilk Cornbread and Muffin Mix
2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
1 (15 oz.) can sliced or diced peaches, drained

1. HEAT oven to 400°F. Stir together cream cheese and sugar in small bowl.

2. HEAT oil in 10-inch Lodge® cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until no longer pink. Drain. Wipe out skillet with paper towel. Spray skillet with no-stick cooking spray.

3. WHISK together milk and egg in large bowl. Stir in cornbread mix and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in peaches and cooked sausage. Pour into prepared skillet

4. DROP small spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture evenly over cornbread mixture. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes.

Skillet Chicken Cornbread Pudding Mexicana
Serves 6-8
Ronna Farley, Rockville, Md.

Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray

Cornbread Pudding
4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 (6 oz.) package Martha White® Cotton Country™ Cornbread Mix or Buttermilk Cornbread and Muffin Mix
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Chicken Mixture
2 cups diced, cooked chicken breasts
1 (1 oz.) package taco seasoning mix
1 (11 oz.) can whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, undrained
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar-Jack with jalapeño peppers cheese blend

1. HEAT oven to 375°F. Spray 10-inch Lodge® cast iron skillet with no-stick cooking spray. Whisk together 1 egg, milk and melted butter in medium bowl. Stir in cornbread mix. Pour into prepared skillet. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in large bowl.

2. WHISK together heavy cream and 3 eggs in medium bowl. Pour over cornbread cubes. Stir to coat.

3. STIR together diced chicken, taco seasoning mix and corn in skillet. Cook over medium high heat until hot and bubbly, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Spoon cornbread mixture over chicken mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Jerk Shrimp and Caribana Corn Cakes
Serves 6
Richard Swanson, Waterford, Conn.

Corn Cakes
2 (7 oz.) packages Martha White® Sweet Yellow Cornbread and Muffin Mix
2 teaspoons mild Jamaican curry powder
1 (15 oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk, divided
2 eggs, beaten
1 green onion top, finely chopped
Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil for cooking

Jerk Shrimp
1 1/2 pounds uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons Jerk seasoning (mild or hot)
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons Crisco Pure Vegetable Oil
1 cup thin onion wedges
1 1/2 cups sliced red and/or yellow peppers
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (8 oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained
3 teaspoons cornstarch
Lime wedges for garnish

1. STIR together cornbread mix and curry powder in medium bowl. Blend in 1 cup coconut milk, eggs and green onion with a fork.

2. HEAT about 2 teaspoons oil in a 12-inch Lodge® cast iron skillet over medium to medium low heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter into the skillet to make four-inch corn cakes. Slowly cook until golden brown on both sides, turning once. (Do not turn up heat. Corn cakes brown quickly.) Wrap corn cakes in foil to keep warm. Cook remaining corn cakes adding more oil, as needed.

3. PLACE shrimp in medium bowl. Add jerk seasoning and stir to coat shrimp. Stir in orange juice, soy sauce and brown sugar to coat. Marinate 10 minutes.

4. WIPE out skillet. Heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add onions, peppers and garlic, stirring frequently. Cook 2 minutes. Add pineapple and cook 1 minute. Stir cornstarch into the remaining coconut milk. Add to shrimp mixture. Stir until sauce thickens slightly. Add shrimp and marinade. Cook, stirring, until sauce thickens and shrimp turns pink, 2 to 3 minutes. To serve, place two corn cakes on each plate. Top with jerk shrimp. Garnish with lime.

All recipes courtesy of contestants, Martha White®, Lodge® Cast Iron, and the National Cornbread Festival. Used with permission.

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