Southern Cookin': Breads

For More Southern Cookin'

Cracklin' Good Southern Cornbread

1 cup cracklins (recipe below)
1½ cups cornmeal
¼ cup fat from cracklins
½ cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
dash black pepper
¼ cup sliced green onion tops
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice)

To make cracklins, you'll need about ½-¾ pound pork fat, diced into ¼ inch cubes. Fry in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until brown. Stir often. Lift out of skillet using a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the skillet. Drain cracklins on paper towel and cool before adding to the cornbread. Cracklins don't get crunchy until they're cool.

To make the cornbread, preheat oven to 425°F. Measure the fat in the iron skillet; you'll need ¼ cup (add oil if there's not enough). Pour oil back into the skillet and heat until hot, but not smoking. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients, green onions, and cracklins. Add almost all the buttermilk and mix well. If it doesn't look like thick pancake batter, add more milk. Stir in hot fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the skillet. Mix well. Pour batter into hot skillet and bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown or wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.