Bacon Upside-Down Cornbread

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Loaded with cheese, herbs, and bacon, this hearty cornbread is practically a meal in itself!

Bacon Upside-Down Cornbread
 
Makes 1 (10-inch) loaf
Ingredients
  • 5 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • Melted bacon drippings or vegetable oil, as needed
  • 2 cups white cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2½ cups whole buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups shredded Gruyère cheese
  • Garnish: chopped fresh thyme
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, cook bacon slices over medium-high heat until almost crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon, and let drain on paper towels. Add chopped bacon to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 12 minutes. Remove chopped bacon using a slotted spoon, and let drain on paper towels. Pour of drippings into small a bowl, adding additional melted bacon drippings or oil as needed to equal 8 tablespoons. Wipe skillet clean.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons reserved bacon drippings to skillet, and place in oven to preheat, about 8 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, thyme, salt, and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and remaining 6 tablespoons reserved bacon drippings. Make a well in center of dry ingredients. Add buttermilk mixture, stirring until just combined. Stir in cheese and reserved chopped bacon until just combined. Carefully place reserved 5 slices bacon in bottom of preheated skillet. Pour batter onto slices.
  5. Bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto a serving plate. Garnish with thyme, if desired.
Notes
Wiping the skillet clean removes any caramelized bits from the pan so the crust on the cornbread doesn’t bake too dark. If you prefer a darker crust, you can skip that step.