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Jalapeño Cornbread

If you like your cornbread with attitude, then this will be one of your favorite recipes. The amount of heat is up to you. This goes great with soups, stews, chili, beans, greens and all kinds of things that Texans love. If you don't have a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, you can use a 9-inch square Pyrex baking dish. (But you really ought to get yourself a cast-iron frying pan. No Texas kitchen is really complete without one.)
  • 4 slices crisp bacon, crumbled
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground cornmeal)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 to 4 canned or fresh jalapeños, drained, seeds removed, chopped
  • 2-ounce jar chopped pimientos
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 375°F.

Fry the bacon in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Crumble. Reserve bacon drippings (1 to 2 tablespoons) in skillet and keep warm.

Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and garlic powder in a mixing bowl. Stir in cheese, jalapeños, pimientos, onion and crumbled bacon.

In a smaller bowl, beat together the milk, oil and eggs. Stir in the dry ingredients until just moistened. Reheat the bacon drippings in the skillet until hot (drops of water will sizzle). Quickly pour the batter into the hot pan and bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes about 8 servings.

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