I just made the best Mexican cornbread I’ve ever tasted! Hubby said the same thing, too. I’m serious—I’d put this crackling bread up against any in the entire world.
Originally, I was planning to make regular crackling cornbread, but I decided to turn it into Mexican cornbread, instead. I wanted to make some homemade bread to go with my homemade Brunswick stew. I didn’t have enough time for the yeast rolls I often make with that stew to rise, so I needed a different type of quick bread. I thought about biscuits, but for some reason, I was craving cornbread. Boy howdy, am I glad I followed my cravings!
What is it about homemade bread that makes it so appealing? It’s definitely my biggest weakness when it comes to food. Just smelling any type of bread baking in the oven makes me salivate in the anticipation of that first delicious bite—especially when it’s slathered with real butter. I know I’m not alone here. Practically everyone I know feels the same way about warm bread and butter. If you’re with me on this, try this recipe for cornbread. You can forget the butter, though. There’s plenty of fat with the cracklings, so you won’t need butter with this bread!
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
- Corn oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeño peppers
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup self-rising cornmeal, preferably buttermilk cornmeal
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Lawry's garlic salt with parsley
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 pound pork cracklings
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Generously oil the bottom and sides of a black iron skillet.
- Add onion, jalapeño, and butter to a microwave-safe bowl and heat until veggies are soft. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, milk, and egg. Add sugar, black pepper, garlic salt, and cayenne. Stir until a batter forms.
- Add onion, jalapeños, melted butter, and cracklings. Stir to distribute.
- Turn out the batter into the skillet and bake for about 35 minutes, until the top is brown. Allow the cornbread to cool for a few minutes before serving.
I make Mexican cornbread pretty often. We like it with chili con carne, homemade soups and stews, greens and ham, lima beans, pinto beans, and lots of other dishes.
You can add some authentic flavors to just about any basic cornbread recipe. I change up ingredients, depending on my mood and on what ingredients I might have on hand when the homemade bread mood hits me.
Some of the ingredients I’ve used in my Mexican cornbread recipes include whole kernel corn, creamed corn, onions, scallions, bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, garlic, ground beef, and sausage. Today, I included pork cracklings—a lot of them. In fact, I used a whole pound. The crackling bread ended up being more crackling than bread, but that was okay with us. There was just enough cornbread to hold the tasty morsels of pork together. The top, sides, and bottom were brown and crusty, and the cracklings were soft but chewy, except for those near the surface. They were wonderfully crunchy!
More About Cracklings
If you don’t like cracklings, you won’t like this recipe. You might want to use fewer cracklings than I used. If you do, use about half a one-pound bag. Oh, and buy the cracklings that you find in the meat case—not those dry cracklings. You want moist cracklings with visible fat covering the individual pieces. I never claimed this was a low-fat recipe!
- Black iron skillet: First of all, you need a black iron skillet if you want a nice crust to form on your cornbread. The skillet needs to be greased with vegetable shortening, corn oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil. Some people heat the oiled skillet in the oven or on top of the stove before pouring in the batter, but I don’t always do that. Even so, my recipes for cornbread always turn out with a great crust.
- Buttermilk cornmeal: If you can’t find it in your neck of the woods, use regular self-rising cornmeal. I like to make my cornbread with a mixture of meal and flour. I think it gives the bread a better flavor and a better texture. Notice that I use the self-rising version of both the flour and the meal. I don’t have to worry about baking powder or baking soda that way. Anyway, combine 2 cups of cornmeal, a cup of flour, a teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. If you like slightly sweet cornbread, add about 3 tablespoons of sugar. To the dry mix, add 1 3/4 cups milk or buttermilk and a large egg. Stir in 1/3 cup oil or melted shortening. Pour the batter into the oiled skillet and bake at 400°F for 30 to 40 minutes, until the bread has a brown top.
- Muffin variation: Of course, you can also make cornbread muffins from the basic recipe.
You can take this easy cornbread recipe and create lots of other cornbread recipes with it. Stir in some pork cracklings for crackling bread, add chopped jalapeños for jalapeño cornbread, or include some red or green bell peppers, minced garlic, cooked and crumbled bacon, corn, onion, cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, or green chilies.
Feel free to call this recipe for Mexican cornbread anything you like—crackling cornbread, jalapeno cornbread, crackling bread—it won’t bother me at all. If you decide to make this, please let me know how you liked it. I just can’t get over how awesome this stuff is. Healthy, it’s not, but it’s definitely worth a splurge once in a while!
Rate My Cornbread! Thanks!
Questions & Answers
Question: I hate pork fat that isn't cooked completely. Is it necessary for Mexican cornbread?
Answer: If you don't like it, don't use it. Try canola oil, instead.
Question: What are pork cracklings?
Answer: Skin and fat from a pig's hide that has been fried.
Question: Can this recipe be made into muffins instead of in a skillet?
Answer: I've never tried that, but I'm sure it would work. Muffins shouldn't require as much time in the oven, so be sure to keep an eye on them.