Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fried Cornmeal Mush

This is an old fashioned, family recipe that I thoroughly enjoyed as a child. While it may have been traditionally served for breakfast, my mother used to make it for dinner on nights when my dad was out of town. It makes a wonderful, winter lunch or snack, served when the kids come in from playing in the snow.

The origins of this thick corn pudding are disputed.  While most regions of the United States make claim to it in some form or other, this version is the one most commonly made in my native state of Pennsylvania, and is still popular with the Amish today.

3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup milk
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
(about 1/4 cup cornmeal and 1 tablespoon flour reserved)

Bring 3 cups water to boil in medium saucepan.  Add salt and sugar.  In small bowl, whisk cornmeal, 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup cold water (COLD).  

Pour cornmeal mixture into boiling water. Whisk well to blend. Carefully, bring mixture back to a boil.  WARNING: the mixture thickens quickly.  If the heat is too high, the mixture will 'pop' out of pan as it begins to boil, and can cause skin burns.  Be ready to quickly reduce heat, or move pan from burner when it begins to boil again.

Cover and simmer mush on stovetop for one hour.  Remove from heat and pour into a large, greased loaf pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, cut 'firm' mush into slices about 1/2 inch thick.  Mix remaining 1/4 cup cornmeal and flour on sheet of waxed paper. Carefully remove the slices from the loaf pan.  Gently coat each slice with cornmeal/flour mixture.  Fry slices in small amount of oil (can use cooking spray) in skillet, until crispy and golden brown.  

Serve with butter and warm maple syrup.  YUM!!

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