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Martha Collison's cornbread with smoked bacon chilli butter
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Serves: 8 - 10
200g cornmeal or polenta
75g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp light brown soft sugar
½ tsp salt
284ml tub buttermilk
2 British Blacktail Medium Free Range Eggs, beaten
For the butter
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon
100g salted butter, softened
½ tsp chilli flakes
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and salt. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk and eggs. Whisk the ingredients together to form a thick batter, then set aside.
2. Heat a medium-sized frying pan or skillet with an ovenproof handle over a medium heat and add the bacon rashers. Cook for 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally, until the bacon is crisp and thoroughly cooked. Remove the bacon from the pan with tongs and drain on kitchen paper, keeping as much fat in the pan as possible. Add 25g of butter to the pan and heat until bubbling, then tip the fat and butter mixture into the cornbread batter and mix to combine.
3. Place the frying pan back on the heat until really hot, then pour in the cornbread batter. Smooth the top with a spatula, then bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
4. While the bread is baking, make the chilli butter. Blitz the bacon pieces in a mini food processor, then add the remaining butter and the chilli flakes and mix to combine. Scrape onto a piece of clingfilm, roll into a log and chill until ready to use.
5. Being careful of the hot handle, remove the cooked cornbread from the oven and brush with a knob of the bacon-chilli butter. Serve warm with the remaining bacon butter and a big pot of chilli con carne, or as a perfect side dish.
If you don’t have a frying pan with an ovenproof handle, use a cake tin. Preheat it in the oven beforehand to create the same effect. The bread is cooked in bacon fat, which yields the most incredibly rich and savoury flavour, but if you’d rather keep this dish vegetarian, you can simply use butter.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in September 2018.