Upside Down Skillet Dinner is my new favorite thing. To make it, you simply bake — in a skillet — some vegetables and meat beneath a layer of cornbread batter. Then you invert the works, all in one shimmering piece, onto a plate or platter. The finished product resembles a savory Tarte Tatin. Here’s the simple step-by-step:
Note: Feel free to experiment with ingredients! Upside Down Skillet Dinner can be made almost exclusively from garden (or farmers’ market) gleanings plus leftover cooked meat.
Wanna watch me make this dinner in real time? Click the play arrow above. Otherwise, scroll down for the photographic howto and the printable directions:
To start, select 4 cups total of whatever filling ingredients you wish to use. I used diced onion, diced red bell pepper, broccoli florets, and already-cooked ground chicken — roughly 1 cup of each.
Next, grab a 10-inch-diameter oven-proof skillet. I used my well-seasoned cast-iron skillet here. You might like to use a non-stick skillet. Again, just make sure the skillet is oven-safe!
Tip 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil into the skillet, and let it warm over medium heat.
Add the veggies, some salt and pepper, and a dash of crushed red pepper.
Cornbread and crushed red pepper are a match made in heaven.
Lower the heat, cover the skillet, and let the veggies sweat until fork tender — about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F. Also, prepare the cornbread mixture. I used Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. Even nicer, I think, would be the cornbread topping we used for Tamale Pie (click here for the recipe).
If you use the Jiffy mix, ignore the directions on the box! In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 large egg and 2/3 cup buttermilk (or regular milk).
Then add the contents of the box…
And whisk to combine. Let the mixture sit while we finish off the filling.
Scatter the already-cooked ground chicken as evenly as you can over the veggies.
Give the chicken a blast of garlic powder, but do not stir it in. For the prettiest presentation, the veggies must remain in a colorful layer at the bottom of the skillet.
Spoon the cornbread batter over the chicken layer…
And then spread it out, all the way to the edge of the skillet.
In the video, I sprayed the exposed part of the skillet with non-stick spray. Feel free to omit this step if you are using a non-stick skillet.
Pop the skillet, uncovered, into the preheated oven. Bake until the cornbread topping turns golden brown — 25-30 minutes. Then transfer the skillet to a wire rack and let it cool for 5 minutes.
Run a knife or an offset spatula between the “pie” and the edge of the pan.
Then place a round platter or plate over the skillet…
Invert the two…
Et voila — Upside Down Skillet Dinner! As you can see, the cornbread topping is now the savory base for the jewel-toned veggies on top.
Divide the pie among 4 plates…
And dig right in!
This Upside Down Skillet Dinner is a complete meal. The only accompaniment you’ll need is a bottle of ice-cold Sancerre. Or a pitcher of iced tea.
I hope you’ll give this easy main course a try some day. What a great way to use up the odds and ends that one finds while cleaning out the refrigerator! xKevin
Upside Down Skillet Dinner
- A 10-inch-diameter well-seasoned cast-iron or non-stick skillet, and a lid
For the filling:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder -- a sprinkling of each, or to taste
- 1 cup cooked ground meat (chicken, turkey, or beef)
For the cornbread crust:
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cup buttermilk (or, use regular whole milk)
- 1 (8.5 ounce) box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Warm the vegetable oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, broccoli, and seasonings. Stir to mix. Cover the skillet, reduce heat to "low," and let the veggies sweat until tender -- about 10 minutes.
- Make the cornbread batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Then add the packaged mix, and whisk to combine. Let sit for a minute or two while you finish the filling.
- Sprinkle the ground meat as evenly as possible on top of the veggies. Spoon the cornbread mixture on top, and then spread it out to the edge of the skillet.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the cornbread puffs and browns -- 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.
- To unmold the dinner, first run a knife between the crust and the sides of the skillet. Remembering the skillet handle is red hot (use an oven mitt!) set a round plate or platter on top of the skillet, then invert and unmold. If any bits have stuck to the bottom of the skillet, simply scrape them up and return them to the top of the molded dinner. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.