There aren’t enough recipes out there that start with bacon.
Today was a raw and chilly day, by El Paso standards. I decided to make chili and cornbread.
My son had found the meat I had been saving for chili, so his lunch was taken care of. This torpedoed my idea of chili but I still couldn’t forget the image of steaming-hot cornbread with melting butter. So, we lacked chili but the cornbread was a success.
It is quite possible to buy a boxed mix and follow the instructions. It’ll generally give you a serviceable cornbread. I had the ingredients on hand to start from scratch (this is cornbread! It doesn’t need exotic reagents), though, so I made it fresh. It’s really easy..
Our oven is on a long term vacation, so I found an internet recipe for stovetop cornbread — and facepalmed. It had enough sugar to be a corn cookie, used flavorless vegetable oil, and just generally looked like a dessert gone terribly awry.
So, here is my modification of my go-to cornbread recipe, for stovetop-only cooking.
It can go with nearly any simple dish- chili, chowder, chicken, or something else that starts with C and is a tasty food.
- 2-3 strips bacon
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (or the same amount of bacon fat)
- In a nine-inch cast-iron frying pan (with a lid available but not used in this step), cook the bacon over low heat. Once the bacon is done, eat it. Swirl the bacon fat that remains so that the frying pan’s sides are well-coated with oil, then save the remaining oil in a heat-safe container.
- Return the pan to very, very, VERY low heat, As low as your stove will go.
- In a large mixing bowl, blend all of the dry ingredients well.
- In a small bowl, combine the egg, milk, and melted butter.
- Pour the wet into the dry and mix just enough to combine. it’ll be lumpy and unattractive.
- Pour the batter into the hot frying pan, spread it out so that it is mostly even, then cover the pan and cook for 30 minutes.
- With hot pads, pick up the pan, hold on the lid and turn the whole thing upside-down.
- Ideally you’ll feel the cornbread drop into the pan lid; if it doesn’t, gently shake the frying pan until the cornbread drops into the lid
- If the pan still doesn’t want to let go of its beloved cornbread, you’ll have to remove the lid (while the pan is on the stove off heat) and run a knife around the rim to help break the cornbread loose, the flip and shake as described above.
- Brush the pan bottom and sides with some of the bacon fat that you saved from step one.
- Put the cornbread raw-side-down back in the pan. Cook over that same very low heat for 5-10 minutes (five minutes if you like the cornbread pale, ten minutes if you like a bit of a crispy top).
- Serve with butter, honey, or soup.