Monte Cristo Cornbread Skillet Supper wins the 2006 National Cornbread Cook-Off

Tue, 07/18/2006 - 8:57am
By: The Citizen

The 10th Anniversary of the National Cornbread Cook-Off served up quite a celebration at the festival which annually honors cornbread and cooks -- the National Cornbread Festival®, in South Pittsburg, Tenn. On April 29, the Monte Cristo Cornbread Skillet Supper was named the grand prize winner of the Cook-Off, which is the search for the best main-dish cornbread recipe, sponsored by Martha White® and Lodge® Cast Iron.

Ten finalists were chosen to compete at the Cook-Off from more than 700 entries from across the country. Entrants were asked to submit original, main dish recipes prepared with Martha White® corn meal or cornbread mix and cooked in Lodge® cast iron cookware. Cheered on by festival-goers, the 10 finalists from nine different states cooked their original recipes under a big tent on FiveStar®gas ranges. A panel of food experts from around the country judged the prepared dishes and selected the winners.
The dish prepared by first place winner Janice Elder from Charlotte, N.C., was inspired by the classic Monte Cristo Sandwich.

“The recipes this year were so creative, especially this strata-like dish which combined cooked cubes of cornbread with ham, turkey, and cheese in a cast iron skillet with a milk and egg mixture poured over it,” said Linda Carman, Martha White® baking expert. “Each serving, topped with a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar and currant jelly/mustard sauce, is ideal for a flavorful brunch or casual supper.”

Elder’s original recipe earned her the top prize of $4,000 and a FiveStar® stainless steel range from Brown Stove Works 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.

Barbara Estabrook of Rhinelander, Wis., won second place and a $500 cash prize for her Grilled Chicken Skillet Pizza with Cornmeal Crust. “Barbara created a trendy pizza by using Martha White® Yellow Corn Meal to make a polenta layer topped with vegetables, chicken and cheese – a great meal for busy families,” said Carman.

This year’s third place prize and $300 was awarded to Janine Washle of Sonora, Ky., for her Mile-High Greens and Creamy Cornbread Skillet. “Taking a cue from traditional Southern fare, Janine reinvented cornbread and greens,” said Carman. “She made a moist cornbread, then topped it with cooked ham and a pile of wilted greens with strips of roasted red pepper—proving that classics never go out of style.”

Other National Cornbread Cook-Off finalists were Faye Hunton, Sedalia, Mo.; Candace McMenamin, Lexington, S.C.; Della Byers, Rosamond, Calif.; Diane Sparrow, Osage, Iowa; Bonnie Cooper, Carrollton, Ga.; Zan Brock, Jasper, Ala.; and Shannon Kohn, Simpsonville, S.C.

The eleventh annual National Cornbread Cook-Off will be held April 28-29, 2007, in conjunction with the National Cornbread Festival® in South Pittsburg, Tenn. Contest rules and entry requirements for the 2007 National Cornbread Cook-Off will be available after the first of the year on the Martha White® web site –

A leading manufacturer of Southern baking mixes and ingredients, Martha White® was founded in Nashville, Tenn., in 1899.

National Cornbread Cook-Off
First Prize Winner
Janice Elder
Charlotte, NC

Monte Cristo Cornbread Skillet Supper

1 (6 oz.) pkg. Martha White® Cotton Country™ or Buttermilk Cornbread Mix
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked turkey
1/2 cup chopped cooked ham
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons honey mustard, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup currant jelly
Confectioners’ sugar

Prepare cornbread mix according to package directions, except bake in a 10 1/2-inch Lodge® cast iron skillet. (Cornbread will be thin.) Remove cornbread from skillet; cool and cut into cubes. Wipe out skillet with paper towels; grease generously.

Heat oven to 350° F. Place cornbread cubes in skillet. Top with turkey, ham and shredded cheese. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of mustard, salt and pepper until well blended. Pour evenly over ingredients in skillet. Bake at 350° F. for 30 to 35 minutes or until set and lightly browned.

Meanwhile, warm currant jelly slightly to melt. Add 1 tablespoon honey mustard; whisk to blend.

Remove skillet from oven. Cut in wedges, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve with currant jelly and mustard sauce.

4 servings

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