Sweet Potato Cornbread is a great pal of soups and stews. It goes well with any flavor profile and spice level. Plus it’s packed with bacon and cheese! What’s not to love?
This recipe and the giveaway included in this post is sponsored by Jackie Garvin and Sweet Potato Love. We received a free copy of the cookbook for review, but all opinions are my own.
In doing some historical research on the sweet potato, I came across this headline from The New York Times that read “All by Itself, the Humble Sweet Potato Colonized the World.” I thought, “Okay, that’s a bit far-fetched.” But maybe it’s not.
Of course, I read the article! I wanted to know if it was entirely possible. Sweet potatoes have been dated to about 750 BCE officially, but could easily go back to 2500 or so BCE in South America; Peru in particular. By the time Chris Columbus put his feet on the Americas, it was extensively cultivated and used in cooking.
Captain Cook stumbled on these tubers in remote islands of Polynesia and other European explorers found them through the Pacific from Hawaii to New Guinea. How is that even possible? That this one plant is found in all of these remote places far from where the sweet potato originated?
Theories exist about European travelers, the Polynesians who were great navigators of the seas were the culprits, and some think that the plant just floated across the ocean or somehow transplanted by birds. It’s all inconclusive.
But what we do know is that the sweet potato is one of the most valuable crops across the world. It has more nutrients per farmed acre and they are ranked high on the nutritional food index. And did you know that you can even eat their leaves? You can treat them like spinach or turnip greens in recipes.
Sweet potatoes are not new to our family. We’ve been eating them forever. Not just the canned ones but roasting them like regular potatoes. And sweet potato fries? My absolute fave. But don’t put any of that sweet stuff like cinnamon or brown sugar in there.
So, when asked to review this cookbook, Sweet Potato Love: 60 Recipes for Every Season by Jackie Garvin I couldn’t resist. I mean, a whole cookbook JUST on sweet potatoes? You betcha! They’re not just for Thanksgiving or holiday casseroles. Sweet potatoes are more than just candied and topped with marshmallows and even more than just sweet potato chips, fries, or pies. And Ms. Garvin has proven that with her cookbook.
The book is divided out into seasons, which is great! You can focus on other, in season ingredients this way. It is the main reason for organizing the book this way. Yeah, I hear you! “But sweet potatoes aren’t a year-round crop!” I know. But even back then they had root cellars and ways to keep crops like potatoes, turnips, and rutabagas (also called swedes which sound much nicer than rutabaga). So, depending on where you lived, it could possibly be a year-round crop.
Jackie’s cookbook also goes beyond just side dishes. There are cakes, pies, waffles, and even some scones. Not to worry! She included hashes and mashes, too. This cookbook has something for EVERYONE! I ear marked several other recipes I will be trying later like the scones and the stuffing. But it was the cornbread that won me over!
And because it’s cornbread. Which I’ve been dying to make for a few months now. Don’t ask me why, but I get a hankering to make something particular every now and then. I guess it’s a sort of craving, but not one that’s like “I need to eat this now!” type of craving. It’s more like, “I haven’t made this in a while and my mouth wants to taste it sometime soon-ish” type of craving.
Cornbread is a very southern dish. And Jackie Garvin was born and raised in Alabama. She was a nurse, corporate executive, and business owner. After she retired in 2009, she spent her time writing and publishing recipes on her food blog, Syrup and Biscuits. Biscuits is the the name of her first book published in 2016. Sweet Potato Love came later the same year.
Jackie is not only a published cookbook author, but she also contributes to Southern Living magazine. She publishes cooking show style instructional videos, too! They have a quick tempo, shorter, and more hands on. It’s a fun way for her to teach people how to cook which she loves to do. You can see some of her videos on her Facebook page.
Just look at how moist and delicious this cornbread is! It’s packed with sweet potatoes, bacon, cheese, and cornbread goodness. It filled my cast iron skillet to the top! which is a good thing because you’ll want leftovers to make the delicious cornbread stuffing in her cookbook, too!
The sweet potatoes adds a slightly sweet and earthy flavor to the cornbread that tastes amazing. The sweetness is offset by the cheddar and the smoky bacon. Even the hubs said it was good, which is unusual for him. He’s not a huge cornbread/baked good fan. So, if he says it’s good, then you know it’s REALLY good!
And it’s really easy to make, too! I had some left over roasted sweet potatoes, but you can use some of the frozen steamer sweet potatoes or just microwave one for about 4 to 6 minutes to cook it. I put mine through a ricer to make sure it was light and fluffy. It’s not required, but I suck at mashing potatoes by hand, so I used my ricer.
And, for those that don’t have self-rising flour, you can easily use 1 cup of flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt instead. I had to look that one up because I don’t usually buy self-rising flour. Good to know that there’s an easy way to make it at home.
You should check out this sweet potato cookbook! It has some great sweet potato recipes. Some you wouldn’t even think of! At least some that I didn’t even think of and I try to use sweet potatoes whenever I can. It has this sweet potato cornbread recipe in it that would be perfect with bean soups like this one.
- 4 strips uncooked bacon
- 1 medium-sized sweet potato, baked and skin removed
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 2 cups medium or coarse cornmeal
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- Fry bacon crispy in an 9-inch cast-iron skillet. Remove bacon, crumble, and set a side. Don't dare think about discarding the bacon drippings, but remove the skillet from the heat so they don't burn up. We will get back to them shortly.
- Place sweet potato flesh in a medium bowl and mash. Add buttermilk and eggs. Whisk until mixed well. Set aside.
- Measure flour, cornmeal, and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese. Stir until bacon and cheese are coated with cornmeal mixture.
- Add wet ingredients to cornmeal mixture and stir well. If mixture is too thick to be pourable, add a tad bit more buttermilk as needed. It should be thick but pourable.
- Reheat skillet with bacon droppings (that you didn't discard) until it begins to smoke. Drop a tiny amount of the batter into the skillet. If it sizzles, the skillet is hot enough.
- Pour batter into hot skillet. Bake at 350F preheated oven for 45 minutes or until the top has browned to your liking.
This cornbread is a great pal of soups and stews. It goes well with any flavor profile and spice level.