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October 2013 Country Kitchen

October 2013 Country Kitchen

Cornbread with a Cajun flair won first place in the Alabama Farmers Federation Women’s Leadership Division Heritage Cooking Contest Sept. 5 in Montgomery.

Jefferson County cook Polly McClure of Clay said her winning recipe, Cajun Party Cornbread, is a favorite among family and friends. While the all-in-one dish has a hint of the bayou, the ingredients include Alabama-grown products.

“It’s really an adaptation of a recipe a lady at our church makes,” McClure said. “My husband and I both love Cajun food, and we wanted to add that Cajun flair to it. We got some Conecuh sausage, some Alabama wild-grown shrimp, added a little bit of Cajun seasoning, and that’s where we came up with the recipe.”

McClure, who baked the dish in a traditional cast iron skillet, described it as a Cajun pizza with a cornbread crust.

“It’s got that great cornbread flavor on the bottom with cream corn, sour cream and a little bit of Cajun seasoning,” she said. “On top are the shrimp, Conecuh sausage and Monterrey Jack cheese. All of that goes together to make a tasty dish that can be a main entrée, or served as a side. Our favorite side at home is gumbo, which my husband happens to make very well. You can also serve it with coleslaw.”

McClure, who won the Jefferson County Heritage Cooking Contest earlier this year, received $150 as the state winner.

Meanwhile, Barbara Lawson of Baldwin County won second place and $100 for her Tomato Tart Cornbread. Mitzi Moran of Tallapoosa County won third place and $50 for her Sweet Potato Cornbread.

Recipes from the state contest, including the winners, are available in the Country Kitchen section of AlfaFarmers.org.

The Heritage Cooking Contest is held annually to highlight Alabama agriculture and acknowledge the tradition of sharing and preparing favorite recipes. This year’s contest featured cornbread.

“Cornbread is a staple of southern cooking,” said Kim Ramsey, director of the Federation’s Women’s Leadership Division. “The contest included traditional recipes, while others showcased just how versatile cornbread can be. It’s a fun, delicious way to bring some of Alabama’s best cooks together under one roof.”

While judges sampled dishes and examined the recipes, Federation members heard from Jennifer Shambrook of Memphis, Tenn., author of The Cornbread Bible.