Sylvia’s Cornbread with Bacon and Chive Butter

Obama at Sylvias. Note the cornbread in the basket!

Serves: 15

Nat and I visited the famous Slyvias Restauarant in Harlem two years back. Starting her restaurant 1962, Slyvia was known as the Queen of Soul Food and everyone has eaten there.

It is a complete institution.

Among other things – fried chicken, you name it – we had cornbread. And as far as cornbread goes, it was amazing.

Come last Saturday and we’re cooking as part of a big Southern American themed meal – fried chicken, you name it – and we nominated this cornbread complete with a butter we felt befitted the theme.

The bread is fabulous. Served warm with butter, it is simply heaven.

You’ll explode (in goodness) if you eat this as a side with every meal, though as an amazing once in awhile, this bread will have you coming across as a genius baker to anyone lucky enough to get a slice.



2 c yellow cornmeal (polenta in Australia)
2 c all-purpose flour
1 c granulated sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp salt
2 ½ cups milk
1 c vegetable oil
5 large eggs

Bacon and chive butter

3/4 c butter, softened
2 tbs fresh chives
2 strips bacon, finely diced and cooked
1 clove garlic, minced



  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Grease a baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, sift or stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the milk, oil and eggs. Add the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined. (Batter will be wet and a little lumpy.) Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cornbread is pulling away at the edges.
  5. Cool in the pan, then cut into 15 squares.

Bacon and chive butter

  1. Stir all of the ingredients together in a bowl until combined and evenly distributed.
  2. Spoon onto a piece of cling film and roll into a cylinder. Twist the ends and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.

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