For most home cooks, cornmeal is something purchased every now and then for a specific purpose, such as making cornbread. However, this simple ingredient can become more of a mainstay pantry ingredient if you know how to use it in more versatile ways. Here are some fun and tasty ways to use cornmeal in your kitchen more regularly.
Dust Your Pans
Pizza makers often use cornmeal to dust their pans, thereby preventing the dough from sticking. You can obviously do this when you make pizza, but you can also do it when you make other baked goods. Dust your muffin tins with cornmeal instead of flour. Do the same when you make a quick bread. It adds a light sweetness and nuttiness to the crust of these items, and it does do a good job of keeping things from sticking to the pan.
Coat Your Chicken and Other Foods
Coated chicken, coated potatoes, and even coated carrots are delicious. If these are a weeknight staple in your home, you may use breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs as the coating. Switch it up, and add some cornmeal. You can coat the items entirely in cornmeal, or just use it in place of half the cracker or breadcrumbs that your recipe calls for.
Add It to Cookies and Cakes
While you can make cookies and cakes entirely with cornmeal, that does change the product completely. A more approachable, everyday option is to use cornmeal in place of just a small portion of the flour your cookie and cake recipes call for. Start with just replacing 2 tablespoons of the flour with cornmeal. If you like the sweet, nutty flavor and lightness that it imparts, then replace 1/4 cup next time.
Thicken Soups and Stews
In the same way that adding flour to stew thickens it, cornmeal thickens these foods. When your stew is almost done, just stir corneal in a tablespoon at a time, letting your soup or stew simmer for a few minutes between additions. When the soup or stew reaches the consistency you like, take it off the heat. A little cornmeal is excellent in hearty beef stews and even a nice chili.
Now that you have a better idea of how you can use cornmeal in your everyday cooking, head out and buy a bag! This versatile, milled product deserves a more prominent place in your pantry, and once you start using it, you'll understand why.
Contact a cornmeal supplier like Dover Corn Products LTD to get more ideas.