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Josh Casper’s Buttermilk Cornbread and Tomato Gravy

Buttermilk Cornbread and Tomato Gravy by Josh Casper, head chef and owner of The Depot Kitchen & Market.

Josh Casper was raised in Picayune, Mississippi. He spent most of his younger life bouncing between the Mississippi and Louisiana state lines, which influences much of how he likes to eat and cook today. Casper spent five years in Portland, Oregon, after graduating from The University of Southern Mississippi, where he spent his time learning how to hustle and cook. He spent time at Red Hills Market in Dundee wine country and further honed his skills at Woodlawn Coffee & Pastry in northeast Portland as Sous Chef. Josh moved back to Hattiesburg in 2015, where he took over the kitchen at The Depot Kitchen and currently acts as head chef and co-owner.

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yields

4-6

    For the cornbread:
  • 3/4 cup butter, divided
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • For the tomato gravy:
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flake
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 80 ounces canned diced tomato
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
steps

Make the cornbread: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, melt half a cup of butter. Let cool. Add buttermilk and eggs and mix until smooth. In another bowl, add cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pour wet ingredients into dry and fold until mixed thoroughly.
  2. In a 8×8 in baking dish, add 4 tablespoons of butter and place in oven for 5 minutes until pan is hot and butter is melted. Pour in batter and bake for 20-25 minutes. Poke a hole in the center with a toothpick, if it comes out clean it’s done. If it’s still a bit wet, continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

Make the tomato gravy:

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and chili flakes and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add flour and stir consistently for 2-3 minutes. Add canned tomatoes, water, sugar, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering for 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and puree using an immersion blender, leaving some of the tomato and vegetables in chunks. Stir in heavy cream and adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Recipe By
    Josh Casper, chef at The Depot Kitchen

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