Updated: Sep 19, 2021
It‘s not that often where a side dish is actually the main event. But this is one of those times and it’s well justified.
While rambling through my pantry during these crazy Covid-19 quarantine days, I came across bacon, cornmeal and some popcorn. Most people would say “ what the hell am I going to do with those”? But I saw a window of delicious opportunity.
Cornbread takes a spin by infusing the buttermilk with the familiar smells of fragrant popcorn. If that wasn’t enough, I added in a little bacon fat and bacon crumbles. This rich bread makes an awesome side dish to any lean wild game based chili or stew.
2 cups coarse cornmeal (I prefer Anson Mills or Geechie Boy)
1.5 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, slightly beaten
4 cups freshly popped popcorn
1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon, rendered bacon fat
1/4 cup chopped cooked bacon that was used for the rendered bacon fat above
In a tall narrow jar or glass bowl combine the freshly popped popcorn and buttermilk. Ensure that the popcorn is submerged and let sit at room temperature covered for one hour.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. And place a 10 inch cast-iron skillet inside while it’s preheating.
Combine the cornmeal, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
In a blender add the popcorn and buttermilk mixture. Puree until smooth. Strain with a fine mesh strainer. Measure out 1.5 cups of the mixture and add to a bowl. Add your egg, 1/4 cup bacon fat and bacon crumbs to the same bowl and lightly beat.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.
Remove the skillet from the oven and add the remaining one tablespoon of bacon fat and coat the pan. Pour in the batter while making sure its distributed evenly.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.