Whether it comes white, yellow, soft, crusty, cool, hot, savory or sweet cornbread is a delicious accompaniment to any meal though the debate over proper cornbread is quite controversial. Is it sweet, or is it savory? Do you add sugar or molasses? Should you add actual corn kernels, cheese, peppers or even bacon? (Yes! Duh. Always add bacon.) Should it be a muffin? Baked in a pan or fried in a skillet? Not to mention all the derivatives of cornbread—from hush puppies and johnnycakes to cornpone and, dare I say, Couche Couche, a Creole version of polenta—and you’ve got a real debate on your hands. Just Google it and see! The South is known for cornbread but even they are divided. Most Southerners will tell you cornbread should NEVER be sweet, or rise like a cake, while Northerners insist on adding sugar, butter and baking powder for fluff. Even Mark Twain weighed in on this great debate, in his biography saying "The North thinks it knows how to make cornbread, but this is gross superstition!" Don't get us started Mark.
No matter how it's served cornbread is particularly useful in soaking up every tasty morsel of sauce, or juice, however folks everywhere tend to think of cornbread as solely a side dish. But don't put your cornbread in a box, don't make it from a box either and remember cornbread has the ability to stand on its own. Additives are highly recommended. What do we like? Some of our favorites include bacon, jalapeños, cheese, and bacon and more bacon.
We use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet for this recipe giving the outside of our savory and spicy bread a buttery crusty crunch while leaving the inside light and fluffy. Just the way we feel cornbread should be.
Bacon Skilled Cornbread with Jalapeños
8 oz pack Smoked Lardons
½ cup of fine ground yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
⅓ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
16 oz Cottage Cheese or Farmer's Cheese
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2-3 Jalapeño peppers, seeds, core removed and diced
½ onion, diced
Preheat oven to 400°F
In a large bowl combine cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and stir to combine.
In a smaller bowl, beat eggs, cottage cheese (or Farmer's Cheese) and lemon juice.
Add the cheese mixture to the cornmeal mixture and mix to combine.
Cook the Smoked Lardons in a 12” cast iron skillet according to The Baconer’s favorite method.
Remove the bacon to a plate but leave the fat.
In the same skillet, over medium heat, sauté the Jalapeños and onions until softened about 7 minutes.
Remove the Jalapeño/onion mixture from the skillet and add to the cornmeal mixture. Stir to combine.
With the heat off, return the bacon to the skillet and arrange in a single layer.
Carefully pour the batter over the bacon, spreading it evenly.Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 18-20.
Insert a toothpick into the center to test for doneness. If it’s clean, it’s ready!
Remove the skillet from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
Run a spatula or knife around the edges and, using a plate or platter, flip the cornbread out of the skillet onto the plate.
Viola! Serve and devour