Extra virgin olive oil
5 ounces bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 lb dried kidney beans, pinto beans or cannellini beans
Roughly 10 cups of water, enough to cover the beans by 2 inches
¾ cup ketchup
½ cup tomato paste
¼ cup molasses
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons mustard powder
1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
One day before cooking, place the beans into a bowl and cover with water by about 2 inches. Soak overnight at room temperature or in the fridge.
The next day, add about a tablespoon of oil and the bacon in a room temperature sauté pan. Cook in the oven until the bacon is lightly crisp and has rendered its fat. Pull the bacon out of the pan and set aside. Into the rendered fat, add the onion and garlic and cook in the oven until softened and fragrant.
Add the soaked beans along with their soaking liquid into a terra cotta beanpot or Dutch oven. Stir in the cooked bacon, onions, garlic, ketchup, tomato paste, molasses, cider vinegar, mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Put the lid onto your pot and slide into the oven (note that if you are using the terra cotta beanpot you will need to temper it by placing it into the mouth of the oven for a minute before sliding it in). Cook, further away from the fire so the sugar in the beans doesn’t burn, until the beans are softened and the broth is thick and rich; about 2 hours.
Check the beans half way through and add water if needed.
Place a 10 inch cast iron skillet into the oven to preheat for about 5 minutes.
Place the butter into a small saucepan and set in the mouth of the oven to melt. Once melted, pull forward and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a small well in the center and add in the buttermilk and eggs. Whisk together until just coming together. Then add in ½ cup of the melted butter and fold in using a rubber spatula. Do not overmix.
Carefully remove cast iron pan from the oven and brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Add the cornbread batter into the pan (you should hear it sizzle slightly) and push back into the oven. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Check the cornbread half way through to see how it is coming along.