Johnny Cakes with Sorghum-Glazed Bacon and Corn Cream
This brunch recipe, courtesy of Chef Dawn Burrell, is a blend of salty, sweet, savory, and spicy flavors.
cornmeal | bacon | brunch
are a beloved Southern staple that likely originated as an Indigenous dish. Chef Dawn Burrell developed this recipe from memories of the ones her grandmother used to make growing up. Check out her forthcoming restaurant
for more takes on comfort food from all over the world.
If you’re short on time, you can just whip up a batch of these hearty cornmeal pancakes on the
, but if you can, take the time to candy some thick cut bacon in a sweet and spicy sorghum glaze and purée fresh corn into a savory cream sauce. The mixture of flavors and textures are perfectly balanced and lead to a delicious and filling meal.
For the Cream Corn
ears corn, shucked
shallot, thinly sliced
cups heavy cream
teaspoon kosher salt
For the Sorghum-Glazed Bacon
cup cane vinegar (or rice vinegar)
cup sorghum syrup (or maple syrup)
tablespoon chili garlic paste (such as sambal oelek)
pound thick-cut bacon (sliced about ¼” thick)
Neutral oil, for cooking
For the Johnny Cakes
tablespoons unsalted butter
cups light brown sugar
cups yellow corn meal
tablespoons baking powder
tablespoon kosher salt
cups all-purpose flour
Clarified butter or ghee, for cooking
To make the Corn Cream, cut the corn kernels off of the cob. Place kernels in a
. Add shallot, thyme, and heavy cream. Simmer until cream has reduced by half, 10–12 minutes. Let cool slightly, discard thyme, and blend in a blender until completely smooth. Season with salt. Return puree to a pot over low heat and keep warm. (Makes about 3 cups.)
To make the Sorghum Glaze, add thyme, vinegar, syrup, and chili garlic paste to a
and heat over medium. Cook until reduced by half, stirring occasionally, 15–20 minutes.
Pour off the excess fat (reserve for later use if you like) and reduce the heat to low. Add about 2 Tbsp. sorghum glaze to the pan and turn to coat and glaze the bacon. Wipe out the pan and repeat the process until all the bacon is glazed. Transfer the bacon to a
and set aside. Reserve remaining sorghum glaze for serving.
To make the Johnny Cakes, start by browning the butter. Place the butter in a
over medium heat and melt. Swirl the pan occasionally until the butter stops foaming and the milk solids start to smell nutty and turn golden brown. This process should take 3–5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Crack eggs into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add light brown sugar and brown butter and whisk together. Whisk in buttermilk. Add cornmeal, baking powder, and salt and whisk again (there might be some foaming). Gently fold in flour with a spatula until just combined; the batter will still be lumpy.
over medium. Add clarified butter to the pan. Use a large spoon or ¼ cup measure to pour about 3 Tbsp. of johnny cake batter to the griddle and cook until bottom edges crisp up and bubbles form on the top, 3–5 minutes. Lower heat as needed to cook cakes all the way through without burning them. Flip and finish cooking on the other side, about 1 ½ minutes. (Makes 25–30 3” cakes.)
To assemble: place three johnny cakes on a plate, shingling the bacon in between. Finish with corn cream on the side and a drizzle of sorghum glaze over top.