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Linda Master's From the Kitchen: Tennessee Onion Soup Gratin steals show

Jennifer B. of Falls Church, Va., was awarded the cast-iron skillet crown as the grand prize winner of the 2011 National Cornbread Cook-Off for her original main dish recipe Tennessee Onion Soup Gratin, according to a press release from Martha White. Entrants qualified for the contest by submitting an original, main dish recipe prepared with Martha White cornbread mix and baked in Lodge Cast Iron cookware.

Jennifer B. used classic French onion soup as her inspiration for Tennessee Onion Soup Gratin. Her rustic soup draws delightful flavor from caramelized onions, bacon, Swiss chard and white beans. Cubes of Monterey Jack cheese are mixed into a cornbread topping batter, made with Martha White Yellow Cornbread Mix. The batter is spooned over the stew and baked until golden brown reminiscent of the melted cheese on French Onion Soup. Her original main dish recipe earned the top prize of $5,000 cash, a 30-inch stainless steel gas range from FiveStar Professional Cooking Equipment and special gifts from Martha White and Lodge Cast Iron.

The second-place winner, Margee B. of White Salmon, Wash., took home a $1,500 cash prize, plus special gifts from Martha White and Lodge Cast Iron. Her creative Caramelized Maple Apple Bacon Brunch Bake recipe features cornbread made with Martha White Cotton Country or Buttermilk Cornbread Mix flavored with caramelized bacon, cheese and maple syrup. Cornbread wedges are topped with a sautéed, spiced apple, orange and raisin mixture and garnished with toasted pecans, bacon, nutmeg and a dusting of powdered sugar before serving.

Andria G. of Matthews, N.C., created Sausage and Spinach Calzone Cornbread, a new twist on a hearty Italian favorite made with Martha White Yellow Cornbread Mix. The cornbread is loaded with Italian sausage, spinach, roasted red peppers, ricotta and Italian cheeses. Individual servings are topped with marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese for an easy-to-make main dish full of robust flavor. She won the third-place prize of $1,000 along with special gifts from Martha White and Lodge Cast Iron. Additional National Cornbread Cook-Off finalists each took home $150 cash and special gifts from Martha White and Lodge Cast Iron.

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