To learn more about this recipe, click here to read the related story, "Golden Nugget," in TastingTable's Chicago edition.
Recipe adapted from chef Red Hauge, Dragon Ranch, Chicago
Yield: One 9-by-13-inch pan or a 10-inch skillet of cornbread
Cook Time: 1 hour
1½ sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon at room temperature for greasing the baking dish
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup fine yellow cornmeal
¼ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon table salt
2½ cups corn kernels (fresh or thawed frozen)
2 large eggs
1½ cups well-shaken buttermilk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoons honey
1. Make the cornbread: Preheat the oven to 375°. Use the room-temperature butter to grease the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or a 10-inch cast-iron pan (if using cast iron, once the pan is greased, place it in the oven to get piping hot while mixing the cornbread batter--the hot surface creates and even crispier, caramelized crust).
2. In a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a food processor, pulse the corn kernels until roughly puréed. Scrape the corn purée into a large bowl and whisk in the melted butter, eggs and buttermilk. Stir the flour mixture into the corn-buttermilk mixture until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake until the cornbread is golden and resists light pressure, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out nearly clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
3. While the cornbread cools, make the honey-bourbon butter: In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the butter. Use the whisk attachment to whip the butter on high speed until airy and light, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the bourbon. Once the bourbon is incorporated, add the honey and whip until well combined.
4. Slice the cornbread and serve with generous schmears of the honey-bourbon butter.