This recipe has been stewing in my "to try" file for a good while and finally made it to the top of the list. The recipe is an adaptation of Modern Beet's. All I did to her adaptation was add a little agave nectar to the beans and change up the cornbread topping so as not to include any white flour. Check out Modern Beet's recipe if you'd like to just use regular non-whole grain cornmeal and white flour. I'll be making this again for sure! Must be served with a side of braised greens liberally doused in hot sauce. :-)
Cornbread and Beans Skillet:
(adapted slightly from Modern Beet's recipe)
2 1/2 c. cooked pinto beans (homemade, from about 1 c. dried beans, or store bought)
2 Tbs. olive oil, or butter
1 small (fist-sized or smaller) onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 T. tomato paste
1 T. molasses
1/2 t. cayenne
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. salt (I didn't add any since my beans were salty enough, so taste before adding)
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 -1/2 c. bean cooking liquid or water
1 1/2 t. red wine vinegar
3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill wholemeal corn flour (not cornstarch!)
1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill fine ground corn meal
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
2 c. buttermilk (I used slightly less...try adding slowly until you get a consistency you're happy with)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 T. butter, melted.
Special Equipment: 9 inch cast iron skillet
Preheat the oven to 400.
Heat oil in the cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato paste, molasses, cayenne, chili powder, salt if needed, pepper and mix well. Add beans and enough bean cooking liquid or water so that the mixture is slightly soupy. Reduce the heat to low and simmer mixture for about 10 minutes or until reduced enough that it's not too liquid when you add the topping. Add the red wine vinegar, and adjust seasonings. I added some agave nectar for a touch more sweet. Remove from heat and spread the beans into an even layer in the skillet.
Mix the corn flour, corn meal, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk (I used 1 cup in the wet mix then added the rest into the whole batter until I reached a consistency I was happy with), egg, and melted butter, and I also added in a little more agave even though that wasn't in the original recipe. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour batter over the beans in the skillet and smooth the top.
Transfer skillet to oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden, the cornbread starts to pull away from the skillet at the sides, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then slice into wedges and serve.
This should feed 4 good appetites.