The holidays bring about a fresh deference for traditions. We break out the heirloom recipes, feed nostalgia with timeless movies and music, and we rely on multi-generational gatherings to help connect old school traditions with the new wave trends.
Chef Vincent Huynh, the culinary director at Indianola in East Downtown Houston, pays homage to Gulf Coast and Texan heritage through contemporary takes on classic ingredients and dishes. One that particularly tickles nostalgia, especially for those accustomed to Texas cooking, is the iron skillet cornbread.
This cornbread recipe prioritizes pure and simple ingredients (grandma would be proud). It uses Hopi blue corn, an heirloom indigenous variety that, in the words of Huynh, “brings early American foodways to the table and shines in simple preparation with no added flours or grains.”
Cooked up in a cast iron skillet, the resulting cornbread is light, crisp on every edge, and heady with a sweet corn aroma. Indianola’s kitchen doctors up the cornbread with seasonal flavors throughout the year. Coming up on the holidays, Huynh says, “Our current version pays homage to southern Louisiana staples of satsuma oranges and Steen’s cane syrup from Abbeville, Louisiana.”
This rum-inspired syrup, juicy satsuma segments, and charred poblanos mingle together and add a spicy, sweet, and smoky spin on the traditional cornbread.
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