Not your grandma’s pasty cornbread, Mexican cornbread is stuffed with bacon, jalapeños, corn and, of course, plenty of cheese. It’s light and spicy and the perfect side to just about anything you serve.
First, for the record, my grandmother makes phenomenal cornbread, the way any woman born and raised in The South should. Granny’s is fluffy and flavorful and not at all packy or pasty. I’ve sampled plenty of cornbread, though, that was dense and bland.
I’m not sure why my mother-in-law first mentioned making Mexican cornbread a couple weeks ago, but I’m really glad she did. She had a recipe she’d made before, but it was exactly the kind of packed mess she didn’t want. When she came across this recipe in an old church cookbook, made by a friend’s mother, she knew it was the one.
This Mexican cornbread recipe is perfectly balanced with sweet corn, spicy jalapeños, and salty bacon. Earthy cheddar cheese is layered in the middle and sprinkled on the top; substituting pepperjack cheese would add a nice kick of heat. The cornbread is best served warm, with the cheese melty, but it’s also tasty straight from the refrigerator.
adapted from a recipe by Beth Howington
1 lb. bacon (amount is optional; adjust to your preference)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 c. self-rising corn meal
1 can mexicorn
4 jalapeno peppers, grated
1/2 c. self-rising flour
1 1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. oil, divided
4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet, cook onion in one tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Set aside. Mix corn meal, eggs, mexicorn, peppers, flour, milk, and oil. Fold in bacon and onion.
Grease a 9 x 13 metal pan and heat it in the oven for five minutes. Pour half the batter into the pan, sprinkle with 2 cups of cheese, top with remaining batter, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 45-50 minutes.