Blue cheese is one of those things that either you love or you hate. Good quality blue cheeses have a strong flavor, to say the least. Smoked blue cheese has an even stronger flavor still, with the tanginess of the cheese and the strong, smokey flavor that I associate with barbecue. I have had a package of smoked blue cheese sitting in my fridge for quite some time (courtesy of Harry and David, and well-wrapped for fairly long term storage, as cheeses go.) and, while I like blue cheese, I haven’t been tempted to eat it on its own. While preparing a batch of chili – which had a nice smokey flavor itself – the idea to incorporated the smokey, smelly cheese into some cornbread.
Cornbread has a mild flavor that buffers the strength of the cheese nicely. You can still taste the cheese clearly, but you also get a nice flavor of corn and butter, thanks to the buttermilk in the recipe. I really like the crumbly and slightly rough texture that this cornbread has. I think it provides a nice contrast to the creaminess of the cheese (especially when the cheese is still slightly warm). It also means that the cornbread, while it slices easily, it crumbles well into chili and soups.
If you don’t have smoked blue cheese, you can use regular blue cheese. You can also use a smoked, non-blue cheese if you prefer to start with a slightly less stinky cheese to begin with.
Smokey Blue Cheese Cornbread
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
4-oz smoked blue cheese, chopped or crumbled
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Add in oil, eggs and buttermilk and stir well to combine.
Stir in blue cheese until well distributed. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
Let bread cool to near room temperature before slicing (it is quite crumbly when warm).