Today for a special Sunday brunch, Ian suggested we make bacon cornbread.
The man is a font of good ideas.
I dug up my old standby cornbread recipe, made a few alterations in the name of bacon, and we had our bacon cornbread cooling on the windowsill in a little over an hour. The loaf gets a thick golden bottom crust from bacon-greasing the pan. It’s surprisingly light in texture, as Ian noted while cutting our second helpings, and the fluffy slices are flecked with smoky pink bits of bacon that offer a pleasant chew every few bites.
I think this would also be good with 3 or 4 Tbs minced chives or scallions stirred in with the bacon. Some smoked paprika would also be a good addition, probably about 1/2 tsp. Cornbread keeps well up to a week when wrapped and refrigerated, but it dries out quickly after the first day and is best toasted. I’m very tempted to toast a slice and spread it with peanut butter, perhaps in honor of the king. (Understandably so, since I’m still reading Mystery Train.) This cornbread is pretty rich, so maybe I’ll just wait until next January and make that my toast to Elvis’ birthday.
- 5 slices bacon
- 1 cup flour
- 3/4 cup fine cornmeal (we used stone-ground white cornmeal)
- 2 Tbs dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4c milk
- 2 eggs
- 6 Tbs bacon grease/olive oil (Your bacon might not render this much fat, so supplement it with some olive oil if you don’t save bacon grease.)
Preheat the oven to 350. On a foil-lined baking sheet, lay out the five slices of bacon and bake for 15 minutes, or until crisp. In the meantime, measure dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir to combine. In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs. Measure the milk and have it at hand.
Remove the bacon from the oven when it’s crisp and let cool. When the foil is cool enough to touch, use it to pour the bacon fat into a loaf pan. Swirl the fat around and use a brush or your hand to lightly grease the whole pan. Measure the fat by pouring it from the pan into a tablespoon and add each tablespoon of fat to the beaten eggs. Make up the difference in olive oil (we used about 2 Tbs olive oil). Whisk the oil into the eggs, then whisk in the milk.
Dice the bacon and stir into the dry ingredients. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and spread resulting batter into loaf pan. Bake about 45 minutes, until a knife poked into the loaf comes out clean. (Check it after 30 minutes, by which time it should have risen and the crust will have cracked. Overcooked cornbread is dry cornbread, and dry cornbread is disappointing.)