>griWhen I moved to America, I discovered a whole world of foods. During that first summer, English was still a jumble of mysterious words, but the juicy burgers and sweet corn at barbecues at neighbor’s houses were a language I could understand. I fell in love with cornbread that summer, whose sweet yet salty crumbs pair so well with some honey butter.
While plain cornbread is delicious, I love to sneak in some surprises in my batter, especially bacon and pepper. To not have to open a brand new package of bacon, I like to use the small packs of diced pancetta sold at Trader Joe’s or just buy pancetta at the deli. Toss in a little diced green pepper as well and you’ll have a rainbow of pretty colors and flavors in your cornbread. Serve it at your next cookout, and use any leftovers for a delicious base for roast chicken stuffing.
with Pancetta, Green Pepper and Shallots
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1/2 cup of pancetta, diced
3 shallots, minced
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
1 3/4 cups of cornmeal
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup of buttermilk (use powdered buttermilk if you don’t have any fresh)
1/3 cups of sour cream
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons of salted butter, cut into large chunks
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a large cast iron skillet or pan in the oven.
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium flame. Add a tablespoon of butter and melt. Add the shallots and saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Now add the green pepper and the pancetta. Saute for another 3 minutes, until the peppers are soft and the pancetta is very lightly browned. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat and pour in 1/2 cup of the cornmeal. Stir rapidly until you have a warm mush.
- In a medium bowl, blend the remaining corn meal, flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Add the buttermilk, sour cream, and eggs to the warm mush and blend well with a spatula. Now fold in the peppers, pancetta, and shallots.
- Once the oven has reached the desired temperature, remove the pan from the oven. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan and swirl to melt and grease the pan. Pour any excess butter into the warm mush mixture
- Pour the dry ingredients into the warm mush and stir until just incorporated with a wooden spoon. Don’t overwork the batter or the cornbread will be tough.
- Spoon the batter carefully into the hot pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and delicious looking. Serve warm.