Hot Water Skillet Cornbread With Cracklins
1 tablespoon lard or olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 ½ cups stone-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (see note)
2 ¼ cups boiling water
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Heat the lard or oil in a 9-inch cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet over medium heat, add the pancetta, and cook until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crisped, about 5 minutes. Transfer pancetta with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain and set aside. Reserve 3 tablespoons fat in the skillet; discard the rest.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, sugar and salt. Add the boiling water, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Stir in pancetta. Let rest 10 minutes.
Heat the skillet with the fat over high heat, then scrape the cornmeal batter into it, spreading it out with a spatula to smooth and level the top. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is browned and the center is dry when pierced with a skewer. Unmold the cornbread on a rack and let cool 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.
Serve warm. Makes 1 (9-inch) bread.
Note: If you substitute table salt, use half as much. If you use another brand of kosher salt, reduce the amount by one-quarter.
PER SERVING (based on 6 servings): Cal 209 (24% fat) Fat 6 g (2 g sat) Fiber 3 g Chol 19 mg Sodium 677 mg Carb 33 g Trace calcium