Mert’s Heart & Soul is a soul food restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina that has great soul food and is famous for its fantastic cornbread, which is almost a cross between a cornbread and a soufflé. Mert’s won’t give out the recipe, and so far, several attempts at duplication of it in my kitchen have shown poor results. While perusing my favorite soul food cookbook, Princess Pamela’s Soul Food Cookbook, I ran across a recipe simply entitled “Batter Bread,” which I prepared one Sunday morning to eat with breakfast. The first bite brought back fond memories of the cornbread served at Mert’s; the following Old South Batter Bread may not be exact, but it is close, and definitely worth the 15 minutes hands-on time it takes to mix it up. Comprised of very simple ingredients, the batter is poured into a pan that has a generous amount of melted butter (the real thing, of course – no margarine), which soaks into the cornbread as it bakes.
The original recipe from Princess Pamela uses white cornmeal; my version uses yellow – both may be used interchangeably in recipes, so you can use whatever you have on hand. I also found that the cornbread turns out much lighter if the ingredients aren’t beaten as called to do in the original recipe, but just stirred until they are combined.
This easy quick bread goes well with almost any soul food such as black-eyed peas and greens, turkey and dressing, and smothered pork chops. It’s also great for breakfast with bacon, eggs, and grits.
1/4 cup butter, (no subs)
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup cornmeal, yellow or white, whatever is on hand
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Place the butter in a 9 x 9" deep glass casserole dish and put it in the oven to melt the butter while the oven preheats.
- Beat the eggs with an electric mixer until very light; add the buttermilk.
- In a small bowl, stir together the cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Add the mixture to the bowl with the buttermilk, stirring just until the ingredients are moistened and the batter is fairly smooth; do not beat.
- Pour the batter into the baking dish with the melted butter.
- Bake 30-35 minutes or until the cornbread is golden and appears set in the center.
- Remove from the oven, cut into squares, and serve immediately with lots of extra butter.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 159 Calories from Fat 70
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 44% Protein 13% Carb. 43%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 8 g
Saturated Fat 4 g
Cholesterol 71 mg
Sodium 503 mg
Total Carbohydrate 17 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 1 g
Protein 5 g
Vitamin A 8% Vitamin C 1% Calcium 0% Iron 2%