Here in the South, barbecue (a noun, not a verb) is a very serious thing. And the perfect barbecue accompaniment? The hush puppy -- a dollop of cornmeal batter fried and served hot and crunchy.
I love hush puppies, but I don't love frying (the mess! the smell!) so I'd never made them. Then I found this recipe from the Deen brothers, sons of Paula Deen the Butter Queen. And the Deen boys suggested baking, not frying, these Southern delecasies.
Easier, yes. Healthier, yes. Real hush puppies? No.
Which is not to say that these little bites weren't tasty, because they were. Kind of like a butterier, onionier version of corn bread. But if you were hoping for the crunchy outer shell of a hush puppy (and I was) you were out of luck.
When you're eating, texture counts just as much as flavor, and these were hush puppies perhaps in taste but not in texture. They're good in a pinch, and I'll make them again, but for the real thing, I'd recommend a trip to one of the fine barbecue joints that dot the North Carolina landscape. (And if you're in Raleigh, I'd suggest you start at The Pit.)
Baked Hush Puppies (Courtesy of those wacky Deen brothers)
- 2/3 c. cornmeal
- 1/3 c. flour
- 1 t. baking powder
- 3/4 t. salt
- Pinch black pepper
- 1/2 c. onion, finely diced
- 1/3 c. milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 T. butter, melted
Combine all of the dry ingredients. Separately, combine the onion, milk, eggs and butter. Fold the milk mixture into the flour mixture until just blended.
Spoon 1 T of batter into each cup, then bake for 10 minutes or until the hush puppies are set and golden around the edges.
The food: Baked hush puppiesThe verdict: Healthy, easy, but not a real hush puppy