Cornbread And Eggs Is The Old-Fashioned Way Southerners Use Up Leftover Cornbread

If you haven’t tried this delicious and hearty breakfast, grab the skillet. 

buttermilk cornbread
Photo: Photographer: Isaac Nunn, Prop Stylist: Julia Bayless, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

There will never come a day when the discussion—er, argument—amongst Southerners around how to make the best cornbread comes to a definitive close. Some choose the baking dish, while others stay true to the cast-iron skillet. Many herald the addition of browned butter, while a small faction remains adamant about throwing in sugar. However, the one thing that everyone can agree on is that cornbread is always welcome on the table.

In the rare occurrence that there is leftover homemade cornbread in the house, there's no rule against merely reheating and slathering it in more butter. Yet, Southerners have their own unique ways to dress up leftover cornbread that makes it taste even better the second time around. For instance, in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, people are crazy for their Cornbread and Milk, a snack made by crumbling leftover cornbread into a tall drinking glass and topping it with buttermilk. The unexpected duo is beloved in many households and is particularly useful for when leftover cornbread becomes dry or stale.

Today, however, we're talking about a different cornbread concoction. Another such old-fashioned recipe that utilizes leftover cornbread is Cornbread and Eggs, a breakfast dish that has been heartily feeding Southerners for generations. The concept is rather straight-forward and has been amended in every way possible since it first became a popular way to make the most of whatever cornbread is left, especially for those cooking for a family or crowd. The simplest explanation of Cornbread and Eggs is that a leftover portion of cornbread (the size of a slice of pie is usually sufficient) is crumbled, added to a skillet with butter, and "fried" until toasted. Then, eggs are added straight into the skillet alongside the cornbread crumbles and cooked until it becomes a scramble. The result is a hearty meal with incredible flavor. Southerners don't stop there, though.

You can tweak Cornbread and Eggs in many ways to create your own recipe. Instead of starting with melted butter in the skillet, you can cook sausage or bacon and use the grease for an even heartier and more delicious scramble, adding the meat back in with the eggs. You can also sauté chopped bell peppers and onions before adding the cornbread crumbles for extra veggies and flavor. You can add cheese, jalapeños, or whichever ingredients preferred to the skillet for the scramble. Anything goes, and the cornbread always remains the star.

This vintage Southern breakfast is so good that it'll never be forgotten. If you've never tried it, consider yourself introduced.

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