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After all the great desserts and sweets during the holiday, it’s time for some “serious” food!  In the South, we take our black-eyed peas seriously!  They’re  good anytime during these cold winter months with a big crusty piece of homemade cornbread for lunch or a light supper. That’s all you need!  Mother’s Mexican Cornbread is a little on the hot side, but not too hot. Baked cornbread is always good with a bowl of soup or chili and even turnip and collard greens. My Daddy used to break up cornbread in the “pot likker” (turnip green liquid), after he ate the greens.  He knew what was good!!

Hoppin’ John

A southern tradition…eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Days is a sure sign of good luck all through the coming year! This is a real simple recipe and one that can be cooked in the crock pot.  If you forget to soak the peas overnight, bring them to a boil and boil gently for about 15 minutes, pour off the water, rinse and cook them in fresh water and chicken broth till tender.

 

½ lb. dried black-eyed peas

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

½  large green bell pepper, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

About a 2 x 2 inch piece of salt pork

        or a ham hock

Chicken Broth

Water

Salt & black pepper to taste (at the end of cooking)

½  cup (raw) Uncle Ben’s long grain rice (will produce about 2 cups of

  Cooked rice)

Pepper sauce, at table, if desired

 

Wash peas and then soak overnight in water. Peas will absorb the water so cover 2 inches above peas. Next day, drain peas, discard water and rinse with fresh water. Sauté chopped onions, bell pepper and garlic in a little oil,  until tender. Put in crock pot with peas, ham hock, or whatever kind of seasoning meat you like, and enough chicken broth and water to cover (use half chicken broth and half water mixture). Cook on high until peas are tender. Then add salt & black pepper to taste. The seasoning meat will salt some, so be careful when adding salt.  Cook the rice separately and add to the peas.  Makes about 8 – 10 servings.

Note: If cooking peas on top of stove, simmer gently until peas are tender, about 2 to 3 hrs, adding water as necessary.

Note:  The desired ratio of peas to rice is about two parts peas to one part cooked rice.

 

Mother’s Hot Mexican Cornbread

The recipe on the right is in mother’s own handwriting!

 

1 cup plain cornmeal

2 large eggs

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup buttermilk

¼ cup cooking oil

2 or 3 tsp. crushed red pepper

   (depending on how hot you like it.)

1  8-oz. can cream style corn

¼ to ½ lb. of sharp Cheddar cheese,

    grated

 

Mix all of the ingredients together, except the cheese and pour ½ of the mixture into a greased 9-inch baking pan. Top with the grated cheese. Pour rest of batter over cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until done, 40 minutes. It will take the full 40 minutes or else it won’t come out of the pan and the middle will not be firm. The layer of cheese in the center is pretty. Also I used self-rising cornmeal and the 1 tsp. baking soda.

 

Note: the crushed red pepper is pretty hot. You may want to leave it out!

 

Note:  I like to bake my cornbread in a hot black iron skillet. Just spray the skillet really good with Pam, place in a hot oven to pre-heat and then pour the batter in. It will sizzle. Be sure the center is done or it will not turn out of the pan. When cornbread is done, turn it out, upside down, over serving plate and cut into wedges. It should have a nice crispy crust!

 

Note: If this looks like too much cheese to you, use ¼ lb. (1 cup grated). Emery thought it was too much even though Mother’s recipe called for ½ lb.

 

 Best Cornbread Muffins

These are pretty, soft and fluffy and have a great taste!

 

½  cup plain cornmeal

½  cup plain flour

1  tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1  Tbsp. sugar

1 large egg yolk

1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)

4  Tbsp. butter, melted

1  large egg white, beaten stiff

 

Spray 6 muffin cups with Pam. Preheat oven to 450º. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, whisking till thoroughly mixed.  Add egg yolk, cream, and melted butter.  Fold in beaten egg white. Spoon batter into muffin tin and bake for about 12 minutes or when they begin to brown.

Note:  Double recipe for 12 muffins.

1 lb. package of dried peas = 2 cups dried but 6 cups after soaking. (about 16, ½ cup servings) 8-oz. package of dried peas = 1 cup dried but 3 cups after soaking.

Any cornbread recipe can be made into muffins.

If possible, buy “stone-ground” cornmeal. The coarse texture makes the best "southern style" cornbread!

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