This cornbread would make a great accompaniment to a steaming pot of chili on a crisp autumn evening. The trick to getting the cornbread perfectly crispy on the edges without burning is to cook it in a screaming hot cast iron pan. Since I don’t have a shallow cast iron pan or skillet, I use my 6-quart pot and it works just as well.
Bacon Cheddar Cornbread
Yield: 8 servings
Time: Active: 15 min; Total: 40 min
1 cup yellow cornmeal
½ cup flour
1½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1¼ cups buttermilk, shaken
¼ cup skim milk
½ tsp. baking soda
½ cup butter
1 jalapeño, finely diced
¼ cup scallions, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely diced
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
8 slices of bacon, cooked to be crispy*, and diced into small pieces
1. Rub 1 tbsp. of butter into a cast iron pan. Place the pan in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F.
2. Place the jalapeño, garlic, shallot, and EVOO into a small sauté pan. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add scallions and ½ tsp. salt, cooking for another minute. Set aside to allow to cool slightly.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1 tsp. of salt.
4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, milk, and baking soda. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and whisk to incorporate.
5. Melt 6 tbsp. of butter and whisk into the batter. Fold in the cheddar cheese, sautéed veggies, and crispy bacon.
6. Carefully remove the hot cast iron pan from the oven. Rub remaining 1 tbsp. of butter into the bottom of the pan to coat. Pour batter into hot pan and spread to smooth out the top. Bake at 450°F for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and the edges are crispy.
* I find that the easiest way to cook the bacon is to microwave it. Line a microwave-safe plate with paper towels, place the bacon in a single layer and cover with another paper towel. Microwave for 5-7 minutes, until cooked to desired crispiness.