Chicken Taco Cornbread Wedges with Ranchero Cilantro Drizzle was named the grand prize winner of the 2007 National Cornbread Cook-Off, sponsored by Martha White and Lodge Cast Iron and held in conjunction with the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, Tenn.
The competitors served up quite a bit of competition as food experts from across the country judged main-dish cornbread recipes. The ten finalists were chosen to compete from more than 700 entries nationwide. Entrants were asked to submit original, main dish recipes prepared with Martha White cornmeal or cornbread mix and cooked in Lodge cast iron cookware.
Jenny Flake from Gilbert, Ariz., created the grand prize winning recipe Chicken Taco Cornbread Wedges with Ranchero Cilantro Drizzle by expanding on the ever-popular taco theme. A cornbread crust, accented with crushed corn chips, is topped with a spicy chicken, tomato and green chile filling. The dish is sprinkled with cheese and baked up in a cast iron skillet. For a special finishing touch, wedges of cornbread are topped with romaine, tomatoes and a drizzle of Jenny’s special cilantro sauce – an easy-to-make combination of ranch dressing, salsa verde and cilantro.
Flake’s original main dish recipe earned her the top prize of $5,000 and a FiveStar stainless steel range from Brown Stove Works, Inc., of Cleveland, Tenn. As friends and family cheered with excitement, she was crowned with a specially designed Lodge “Cast Iron Tiara” during the award ceremonies.
Chicken Taco Cornbread
Wedges with Ranchero
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup salsa verde
1 cup tightly packed cilantro
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell
1 tablespoon finely chopped
2 cups shredded rotisserie
3 tablespoons finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes
with green chilies
1 (7 oz.) pkg. Martha White
Sweet Yellow Cornbread Mix
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup crushed corn tortilla
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
3 cups shredded romaine
1 cup chopped tomatoes
Heat oven to 400° F. Combine ranch dressing, salsa and 1 cup cilantro leaves in small food processor or blender. Process until well blended. Cover and refrigerate.
In 10-inch cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeno pepper; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently. Stir in chicken, 3 tablespoons cilantro, salt, cumin, pepper and tomatoes with green chilies; cook 5 minutes. Remove from skillet. Wipe out skillet with paper towel; grease.
In large bowl, beat egg. Add cornbread mix and milk; mix well. Place tortilla chips in greased skillet. Pour cornbread mixture over chips. Spoon chicken mixture over cornbread mixture; sprinkle with cheeses.
Bake at 400º F. for 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into wedges. Top with romaine and tomatoes; drizzle with dressing.
Makes 6 servings