I love cornbread – not the sweet stuff from the southern states of US of A, but the rustic savory kind of the Southern Europe. And I think you will love it too!
I recently shared a recipe for basic gluten-free cornbread, which I hope you tried, especially as a side for a nice pot of bean chili. This, on the other hand, is not your basic cornbread and it’s not gluten free, so make a note of that if you need to (I offer advice on how to make it gluten-free if you need to below).
This cornbread is a bit inspired by lasagna, and a bit inspired by lovely summer produce and flavors. With a bit of freshly grated vegan Parmesan or a dollop of vegan sour cream, and a side salad this can be your lunch or a light dinner! Or: you can serve this as appetizer bites at your next party when freshly baked and warm!!!
The key to this recipe are three layers that make the stuffing: sautéd kale layer, topped with sliced artichoke hearts layer, topped with sun dried tomatoes layer! Doesn’t this just make your mouth water?
The cornbread better is a mix of three flours: semolina (wheat flour; you can use all purpose white flour or all purpose gluten-free flour as well), fine corn meal and chickpea flour (or other bean-based flour like mung bean flour, or soy bean flour, for extra protein). What helps the bread rise is a mix of baking powder, baking soda and lemon juice, with added acidity giving an extra leavening boost.
The recipe is a bit labor intensive as I don’t recommend using raw kale, and advise getting your kale cooked all the way beforehand. Depending on how “mature” your kale is, this could take anywhere between 10 minutes if working with baby kale to 20 minutes if working with really old kale.
Additionally, I recommend that you soak the sun dried tomatoes in some hot water, to spruce them up a bit. If you are using sun dried tomatoes stored in olive oil, please skip this step and make sure the tomatoes have been well drained to remove excess oil. Better still, use the excess oil to sauté the kale and infuse it with more of that great tomato flavor!
Stuffed Cornbread with Kale, Artichoke Hearts and Sun Dried Tomatoes
What you’ll need:
- 1 bunch kale (about 1 lbs or 450g), de-stemmed, and finely chopped
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 6 oz sun dried tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can artichoke hearts
- 1 cup fine corn meal
- 1 cup semolina flour (or all purpose flour, or all purpose gluten-free flour for a gluten-free version)
- 1 cup chickpea flour (or other bean flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus some for greasing the baking dish
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups water
What you’ll do:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
- If using sun dried tomatoes that are dry, I recommend that you reconstitute them by soaking them in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. If you are using sub dried tomatoes in olive oil, please skip this step.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a very large frying pan, or a wok. This will take 30 seconds or so. Add diced onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until soft and golden. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
- When garlic begins to bloom and develop the aroma, add chopped kale. The volume of a bunch of kale may seem like a lot, but it will cook down. If you are having difficulty fitting all the kale in at once, add in batches. Sauté kale until fully cooked, which will take about 10-15 minutes. You may need to add a tablespoon of water to keep kale from sticking to the pan, so stir frequently and keep an eye to prevent burning.
- While the kale is cooking, drain and rinse the artichoke hearts. Shake off the excess water, and slice thinly. Set aside.
- Drain the sun dried tomatoes either from the water they were soaking in or from the oil they are stored under. Slice them thinly and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl combine cornmeal, the flours, baking soda and baking powder. In a separate container mix two cups of water with lemon juice then pour into the flour mix. Use a spatula or a wooden spoon to mix well. Add more water if needed. Depending on how fine your corn meal is (there is some variability between brands) you may need more than 2 cups of water to make a smooth, yet thick batter. Your batter should be pourable but not runny. If you run a spoon through it, it should come apart with ease.
- Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 in (23 x 33 cm) baking dish with some oil. Pour in half of your batter and spread evenly. Top with sautéd kale that you drained from access liquid, then top with sliced artichoke hearts, then with sliced sun dried tomatoes. Finally, pour over the rest of the batter, smooth the top and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Increase the temperature to 425 F (220 C), and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Take the stuffed corn bread out and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve as an appetizer or as a really wonderful side dish with your main course. I also enjoy it for breakfast, with some grated cheese, or as lunch with a side salad and some yogurt. Yummy!