12 ounces center-cut bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
3 cups cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1. Preheat oven to 450*F.
2. Brown bacon in a 10-inch cast iron skillet or similar oven safe skillet. Add the garlic and jalapeños and sauté until softened. (At this point I remove some of the bacon fat by carefully pressing a few paper towels into the skillet. Just to remove some of the fat, not all of it.)
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper and mix well. In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just to combine.
4. Quickly pour the cornmeal batter into the hot skillet. Stir gently to distribute the bacon mixture and then place the skillet in the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until firm and golden brown on the top. Let sit for 5 minutes, turn out on cutting board, and cut into wedges for serving.
I’m a lover of cornbread, but not a fan of the sweet cake-like variety that passes for cornbread in many places. I like a more savory cornbread and it took me a while to find this recipe. Then I found it, made it, and life was good. It’s very flavorful, dense, and just all around awesome.
Shown here, although messy since I was cutting it into smaller wedges than usual, with Beef Chili with Bacon and Black Beans.