Bacon isn’t just for breakfast: Bacon Cornbread Recipe

This is one of our favorite bacon recipes. It travels well to potlucks, picnics, and barbeques, and still tastes good as leftovers. CSA customers, you’ll be getting a pound of bacon this week, along with chicken, pork chops, ground beef, a ham hock, and sausage. Enjoy!

Bacon Cornbread
Makes one 10-inch round bread

Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, an excellent bread-baking book.

1 cup coarse cornmeal
2 cups buttermilk
8 ounces bacon
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 T baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 T honey
2 T unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 T bacon fat or vegetable oil

1. The night before, soak cornmeal in the buttermilk. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight.

2. Fry bacon in a 10-inch iron skillet. Using tongs, remove pieces to cool on a paper towel. Drain all but 2 T of fat from the skillet. When the bacon has cooled, crumble into coarse pieces.

3. Lower the oven setting to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl. Stir in sugar and brown sugar.

In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Dissolve the honey in the melted butter and then stir the honey-butter mixture into the eggs. Add this to the soaked cornmeal.

Now add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until well blended and smooth, like thick pancake batter. Stir in the corn kernels (we like to use frozen sweet corn).

4. Reheat skillet with bacon fat until fat is very hot. Turn off the stove, then tilt the pan to grease the sides of the pan. Pour in the batter. Sprinkle crumbled bacon pieces evenly over the top, pressing them into the batter.

5. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until corn bread is firm, spongy, and golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then slice and serve.

Note: you can try this recipe in a 10-inch cake pan, 12-inch square pan, or 9 by 13-inch pan. We like the iron skillet because it gives the bread a sweet brown crust.

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