I might be just a little bit over the top in my affection for cornbread. I have plenty of old standbys like Anadama Bread and Buttermilk Corn Bread and I never run out of ideas for new flavors, like this Sweet Zucchini Cornbread. But when the garden has been very generous with the jalapenos and you just happened to stop by a local place that makes their own in-house bacon, Jalapeno Bacon Cornbread is an easy decision.
I made this to go with a roasted red pepper and cauliflower soup we had over the weekend and it was a perfect combination. Larry had brought in the last of the jalapenos from the garden because we were forecast for a killing frost that night, and I wanted to use some of them up. And everything is better with bacon in it, right? So, I began with the buttermilk recipe and made a few adjustments. You need to make sure you have all of your ingredients assembled before beginning, because once you get to the final combining stage, you need to work quickly. I bake this in a my cast iron frying pan, but you can use a regular baking dish – scroll to the bottom of this post to see how I would do it if I didn’t have a cast iron skillet.
You can control the heat in this by the number of jalapenos you use, and how you cut them. These were not terribly spicy, and they were small, so I used 4 of them, and cut them in thin slices, leaving the seeds in. At times, my jalapenos have been really hot, so I used just one and took the seeds out. I cut the stem end off and taste a small amount to see how hot they are. For a change of flavor, you can even used jarred, pickled jalapenos if you like – just blot them with paper towels so they don’t add too much liquid to the batter.
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut in a medium dice
- 1 - 4 jalapenos, cut in thin rings [seeds optional - take them out for less heat]
- 1 cup of stone ground cornmeal
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 400º
- Place bacon in cold 10 inch cast iron skillet - fry until crisp.
- Put jalapeno rings in a 1 quart heat proof bowl, and mix in the crisp bacon, plus to tablespoons of the bacon drippings.
- Leave a tablespoon or so of bacon dripping in the skillet and put in the hot oven to keep it warm.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- In a two cup measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and oil.
- Add the buttermilk and bacon mixtures to the dry ingredients and fold together just until combined - the batter will be rough looking and that is just what you want.
- Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and spread the batter in it.
- Return the skillet to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until the top is getting browned and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Cut in wedges and serve with plenty of soft butter.
If you don’t have a cast iron frying pan, go immediately and buy one!
Here’s a nice one in my Amazon store: Lodge Logic 10.25 inch Skillet
Or – use this alternate method for baking the cornbread. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fry the bacon in a regular saute pan and follow the directions for adding the peppers to the bacon. Use the remaining bacon drippings to grease an 8×8 inch baking dish or pan – make sure to swirl it around well, or spread out with a pasty brush so that all inside surfaces are coated. Mix as directed above and spread the batter in the prepared dish – bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Either way, it is a delicious addition to your repertoire of cornbread recipes!