Cornbread Festival serving up Southern classic

    7:11 AM, Nov 5, 2011   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- What self respecting Southerner doesn't love cornbread? Many of you probably know someone who claims to make the best cornbread around.

    Now there's a competition in central Arkansas where cornbread experts can come to show off their recipes. 

    The inaugural 2011 Cornbread Festival is today (Nov. 5) at the Bernice Garden in downtown Little Rock.

    People attending the event, as well as a panel of celebrity judges, will taste-test samples to determine the best traditional, nontraditional and sweet cornbread recipes.

    Enjoy blues, bluegrass and folk music while you stroll vendor booths for Arkansas goods, learn about nonprofits, play games with your kids and experience South Main.

    Staff and volunteers from the Arkansas Food Bank will be stationed at the entrance to the festival ready to take your donations of canned goods. For every item you donate, you'll receive a chance to win dinner at Brave New Restaurant.

    Schedule of Events
    11 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Cornbread tasting
    11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Music
    2-3 p.m. - Present awards

    Admissions is $5 for adults, $3 children ages 6-12 and kids 5 & under get in free. Pets are allowed.

    Professional contestant Tandra Watkins from the Capital Hotel stopped by 'Today's THV This Morning' to show how to prepare a deliciuos recipe for jalapeno cornbread.

    Jalapeño Cracklin Cornbread

    1 ½ cups War Eagle Mill yellow cornmeal
    ¼ cup bacon drippings
    ½ cup all-purpose flour
    ¼ cup sugar
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    ½ teaspoon salt
    pinch of black pepper
    1 cup Petit Jean Meats or cracklins (recipe below)
    1 cup buttermilk
    2 large eggs, beaten well
    1 tablespoon jalapeños, minced

    Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine dry ingredients and cracklins (recipe below) in a large mixing bowl and then stir in the buttermilk, eggs, and jalapeños, mix well. You want the batter to look like thick pancake batter, so you may need more or less than 1 cup of buttermilk. Pour bacon drippings in cast iron skillet (10" skillet), and heat until hot, but not smoking. Add the hot bacon drippings into the batter, leaving 2 tablespoons of the fat in the skillet. Mix the batter well and pour it into the hot skillet.
    Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and the center is completely cooked through.

    Cut 1 lb. of pork fat into ¼" square cubes. Fry the pork fat over medium heat until crispy and golden brown, they will crisp up more as they cool. Drain and season with salt immediately while hot.

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