Disclaimer: This post is not for anyone sticking to their New Year's diet
It's funny, there are certain dishes that only I make, and certain dishes only my husband makes. It's like we have an established unspoken rule. For instance, I don't touch a steak, and he doesn't go near salmon. One of Chris' specialties is his chilli. It is soooooo good, he doesn't stick to a recipe each time, it's more about what we have on hand. On Sunday, we woke up took the puppy for a long walk, and then Chris started prepping lots of ingredients and got a pot of chilli on the stove. This time he used a little bit of leftover coffee and also added some Abita Turbo Dog (a dark brown ale), two surprisingly excellent flavors that might of made this chili his best batch yet.
As he was busy tending to the chili while watching some football, I got the urge to add my own touch to our Sunday dinner. Other than topping your chilli with lots (and lots) of cheddar cheese, what else goes best with it? Cornbread! Then, I thought what makes ordinary cornbread amazing cornbread... bacon. Yummmmmmm. I was also inspired to make this after having some amazing bacon skillet cornbread in Charleston's Husk Restaurant. Husk was voted Bon Appetit's number one new restaurant in 2011, and it was simply one of the most amazing meals ever. This is my version of their to-die-for bacon cornbread (pictured below in Charleston, SC).
My cornbread is moist and fluffy, yet still holds together after you cut into it. I added a little bit of honey into the batter for a touch of sweetness. The secret to this cornbread is to whisk the bacon drippings into your wet ingredients. It makes a huge difference and you'll start to ponder what else you can whisk bacon drippings into....
1/2 lb bacon
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup corn meal
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup milk (I used non-fat b/c that's what we had on hand)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup frozen yellow corn
5 tbsp bacon drippings
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a cast iron skillet, cook bacon and crumble into small pieces. Set aside. Pour most of the bacon drippings into a separate bowl leaving enough fat so it still coats the pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and frozen corn. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, honey and egg. Add 5 tablespoons of the bacon drippings, whisk together. Combine the wet and dry ingredients into one bowel. Pour into the skillet and top with cooked bacon pieces. Bake for 30 minutes until you can cleanly stick with a toothpick. Enjoy with a bowl of chili for dinner or on its own with some honey butter for breakfast!