Have you cooked with a cast iron skillet? If you don’t have one, put it at the top of your Christmas list and make sure you’re not on the naughty list!
It’s a MUST HAVE for everything from honey-lime shrimp to seared steaks to burgers and fries to bbq chicken to roasted veggies to focaccia bread to apple pie to pizookies. Get the picture? These pans are GOLDEN.
Take this Bacon and Cheddar Skillet Cornbread. You could go traditional, frying the bacon in one pan, stirring it all up in a mixing bowl, buttering yet another pan to bake it in. That’s all fine and good. BUT there is a better way…
Oh yes. Fry up the bacon in the cast iron, drain some of the drippings and then pour the lovely corn mixture right into the pan. Into the oven for a bit and BAM. You’ve got golden, cheesy, perfectly cooked cornbread with a beautiful little crust all the way around the edges. Mmmmm.
Just a little cautionary tale. Our son, Thomas, came home just as I had finished cooking in my cast iron a few weeks ago. He picked up the pan by the silicone handle to carry it to the sink, not realizing that the silicone was just a cover to protect you from the BURNING CAST IRON HANDLE underneath.
As he turned, the entire pan went flying out of his hands, leaving him standing there, stunned, holding just the silicone sleeve, only to watch in horror as the pan sliced completely through the cupboard under the sink. Like literally THROUGH the cupboard. These babies are HEAVY. Heavy workhorses that can last probably longer than anything else in your entire kitchen! No wonder they’ve been around for centuries.
There’s a learning curve with cast iron. If you’ve never used it, grab a recipe book with a how-to-use section. We recommend this one by America’s Test Kitchen: COOK IT IN CAST IRON. It’s like taking Cast Iron 101 and will answer all the questions you might have.
And then just get cooking. Start with something simple. Bacon and Cheddar Skillet Cornbread. Oh so good. And it just gets better from there!
- 5 strips bacon
- 1 1/3 cups cornmeal
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (or more)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut bacon strips into bite-sized pieces in a 9" cast-iron skillet. Cook until crisp.
- Take bacon pieces out of drippings. Reserve 3 Tbsp. drippings and wipe pan. Leave a thin coating of bacon grease on bottom and sides of pan.
- Measure dry ingredients into a large bowl.
- Add eggs and buttermilk and whisk.
- Add cheddar and bacon pieces and carefully fold in reserved 3 Tbsp. bacon drippings.
- Pour into hot skillet and place in preheated oven.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in to the center comes out almost clean.
Need some ideas of what to serve with this cornbread? Try these:
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