One of my favorite meals growing up was a simple bowl of navy beans and cornbread. Every time I would go to my grandparents’ house to visit, my grandmother would always fix this simple but flavorful meal for me the first night I was there. I still love this combination, and make it occasionally for my family. Today, since it’s bacon week here at Foodwhirl, I’m shaking things up a bit and adding bacon, cheddar and jalapenos to the traditional buttermilk cornbread recipe (don’t worry, I made a version sans jalapenos for the kids).
So, normally I cook bacon in the microwave. I’ve found the easiest, quickest and cleanest way to cook it is to layer two paper towels on top of a section of newspaper, lay out your strips of bacon and then cover with another paper towel. Nuke this on high for 5-7 minutes (depending on how many slices of bacon you’re cooking) and voila – you’ve got grease-free bacon! However, for this recipe, I needed that beautiful brown grease, so I cooked the bacon on the stove top in an iron skillet. I used the same skillet to bake the cornbread (yum!).
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Begin by preheating your oven to 425F.
Whisk together your dry ingredients. Add buttermilk and egg and stir to combine. Add cheese, bacon and jalapenos, mixing gently so as not to overwork the batter. Add the hot grease from the bacon and stir gently to combine. Pour entire mixture into the iron skillet you used to cook the bacon (I used an 8-9 inch skillet) and place on a rack in the center of the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cornbread comes out clean.
It may not be the most traditional cornbread recipe, but it’s going to taste oh, so good with my navy and cranberry bean soup. It would also be excellent with some chili or chicken tortilla soup. Or simply all by itself with a little butter.
I may or may not have already indulged in the latter.