Red Pepper Corn Bread with Farmer Cheese
- SERVINGS: 12
Farmer cheese, which is available at most supermarkets, is a sweet and creamy fresh cheese that dairy farmers originally made for their families. Any fresh cheese, such as ricotta or goat cheese, will give this savory corn bread the same moist texture.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 small onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups farmer cheese (15 ounces), softened
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus 3 tablespoons chilled butter
- 2 tablespoons minced rosemary
- Preheat the oven to 375°. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the red bell pepper, onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Preheat a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal with the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a food processor, puree the farmer cheese until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and process until blended. Add the milk and the melted butter and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the pepper and onion mixture and the rosemary. Add the cheese mixture to the dry ingredients and beat with a wooden spoon until the batter is just moistened.
- Add the 3 tablespoons of chilled butter to the cast-iron skillet and swirl to coat. Pour the batter into the hot skillet, smooth the surface and bake for about 50 minutes, or until the corn bread is golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cut the corn bread into wedges and serve.
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