Thursday, April 23, 2020

Corn Meal Mush

This is a great quarantine food. Lots of us have very old bags and boxes of cornmeal sitting on the shelves. As the other foods disappear things like this can come in very handy.

This was one of the staples of American food. Cornmeal was the calorie engine that fueled western expansion.

Here's how to make cornmeal mush.

3 cups of water with 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a rolling boil.
1 cup of cornmeal, whisked smooth into a cup of water. Do not allow for any lumps. If you have lumps at this stage of the game you will have lumps from now on.
Whisk that into the 3 cups of boiling water. Bring back to full boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and leave it alone for 20 minutes.
Line a loaf or other pan with plastic and pour the mush into it. Cover closely. Exposure to air will cause an inedible skin to form.

Right now, this is a great hot cereal breakfast or a side dish that can cover for mashed potatoes or rice. It takes gravies like a champ.

Be sure to wash your pans and utensils right now. Also, wipe up any spilled mush. Do not allow this to set. You'll never get it off.

There is another thing you can do with chilled cornmeal mush.

Fry it!

Unwrap your chilled mush. Cut off a serving. Thinner slices will produce very crunchy corn sticks, which are the moral equivalent of french fries. For this, I am using about a 2 inch cut.

That goes into hot oil (375) I like the oil depth at a bit over halfway up the mush. Deep frying has a tendency to have the mush explode and go everywhere. This gets a nice crust formed that will help it hold shape.
Turn when it gets to a sexy golden brown.
As a side dish for breakfast in the morning it is a champ. A little maple syrup enhances the nutty flavor of the cornmeal. There is a great crunch as you bite through the crust, this exposes a luscious fluffy custardy cornmeal.

As a side for another meal, this takes gravy well, it will easily substitute for things like mashed potatoes or rice dishes. I love sauteing a sausage with some of my home made over a crispy chunk of cornmeal mush.

Happy quarantine cooking!