Cheesy Country Ham Cornbread!

In Kentucky we take our cornbread and our country ham very seriously!   They are both a big part of our cuisine, so I thought, why not combine them and I did!   The result was amazing, if I do say so myself.  As I have discussed before, country ham, is a very regional product. 

 You don't find it above the Mason Dixon line much, if at all, or west of the Mason Dixon line, and surprisingly, not even in the deep South...Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama.   You can order country ham on the internet now though.   However, if you don't have county ham, this is good with regular ham or just a good smoked ham. 

Here is what you will need for this yummy cornbread:

3 Tbs. shortening
1 cup self rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self rising flour
1 Tbs. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup cream style corn or a small can
1 cup finely diced country ham
1 Tbs. butter
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
3-4 green onions, sliced thin, including some of the green blades

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   Place the shortening in an 8 or 9 inch iron skillet and place it in the oven while you prepare the cornbread.   This works best in an iron skillet, but if you don't have one, use a 9"x9"  baking dish.  

In a mixing bowl, place the cornmeal, the flour and the sugar.  If you cannot get self rising in your area, add a 2 tsp. baking powder and 1 tsp. salt to plain.  For some reason self rising flour makes better cornbread and biscuits than plain, so if you can get it, try to get some for that.

Add the eggs and mix.   Add the sour cream, milk, oil and the creamed corn and stir until no lumps.

Put 1 Tbs.  butter  in a skillet and saute the country ham until brown or done.  Contrary to what some think, country ham has not been cooked and needs some cooking before you eat it.  It is a smoked and cured ham, but still need a little heat on it. 

Carefully take the skillet out of the oven.  It will be screaming hot so use a good oven mitt.  Pour half
of the batter in the hot skillet. That hot shortening will come up over it and that's a good thing.

Sprinkle green onions,  then country ham, then 1 cup of the cheddar cheese over the batter.

Carefully place the skillet in the oven.  You might put it on a cookie sheet for easier moving in and out of the oven and to prevent spills.  This is a dense cornbread so it needs to bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  About 10 minutes before time to take it out, sprinkle the top with the rest of the cheddar cheese, just so it melts and gets bubbly. 

Cut in wedges and serve!  This is so good I could eat it just by itself.  It's really good with pinto or white beans and collard greens also! 



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