I recently came across cornbread while on holiday in Canada. It's not really bread in the traditional sense - the texture is more like a savoury cake. Fortunately, it's also much less hassle than traditional bread, with no kneading or resting required.
Cornbread is great served warm with lashings of butter. It's also best friends with strong savoury flavours like bacon or cheese. My recipe is for a pancetta cornbread, but you could skip the pancetta and make it plain, or substitute cheese, sundried tomatoes or whatever you fancy.
Pancetta Cornbread (serves 4 greedy people)
You will need:
- 70g pancetta, diced
- 125g polenta
- 125g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp honey
- 150g buttermilk
- 150ml milk
- 25g butter
- Grease and line a 23cm square pan (please don't skimp on this unless you love washing up! This stuff sticks). Preheat the oven to 220c.
- Fry the pancetta in a non-stick pan until browned and crispy. Drain on some kitchen roll.
- Mix the polenta, flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre.
- Melt the butter.
- Whisk together the eggs, honey, buttermilk, milk and melted butter in another bowl.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the well in the dry ingredients. Combine it gently but be careful not to overmix it (it's fine for the batter to be quite runny and lumpy).
- Stir in the pancetta.
- Pour the batter into the tin and whack it in the oven - don't leave the batter hanging around before cooking it as the bicarbonate, etc will be reacting. Bake for 20-25 minutes. When done it should be golden on top and a toothpick poked into the middle should come out clean.
- Slather with butter and tuck in.