Bacon Fat Cornbread
Bacon Fat Cornbread
For superior texture, my grandma taught me to always bake cornbread in a searing hot cast iron skillet greased with bacon fat.
We are lucky here in Nova Scotia, there are so many options for truly delicious bacon from local producers. Oulton Farms double smoked is a favorite among local chefs, and Highland Drive Storehouse recent collaboration with Boneheads BBQ brings Halifax another great choice for smokey bacon. Meadowbrook Meat Market also offers a mouthwatering array of bacon products. Whether you use a smokey bacon or a sweeter maple bacon to prepare this dish, I'm sure you will enjoy the results.
The original recipe for this quick bread came from my mom's well worn copy of the the Fannie Merritt Farmer Boston Cooking School cookbook. I've made a few adjustments, and some additions. Crumbled bacon, cheese, fresh corn, green onions, and chili flakes have all made they way into the batter at one time or another. The basic recipe is pretty tasty as is, but a little cheese is always a good thing! The addition of bacon fat to the batter results a moister loaf with a subtle bacon flavor.
Preheat oven and skillet to 425 F.Make sure all of your ingredients at room temperature, otherwise it will be impossible to incorporate the bacon fat. In a big bowl, whisk together 1 cup cornmeal, 3/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat together 1 large egg, 1 cup milk, 3 tablespoons of bacon fat. Add wet to dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until just combined. Fold in your grated cheese, crumbled bacon etc... at this point. Like any quick bread, you don't want to overwork the batter.
Once your oven has come to up to temperature, carefully remove frying pan. Swirl with bacon fat and pour in the batter, if you like, you can add some more cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes. It's the perfect accompaniment to a spicy chili or stew.