Food Flirt

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Location: Petaluma, California, United States

Jacqueline is an international award winning journalist whose stories about food never fail to tantalize her reader's taste buds.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hush Puppies

I'm just back from Louisiana, which is considered a “red” state, and was surprised at the number of people I met who are Obama fans. I was in Shreveport and Monroe for a food and heritage tour. Naturally I sampled many of the local dishes including delicious hot pickled peppers and hush puppies fresh out of the fryer, smothered in creamy butter. Oh my! It was love at first bite.

History of Hush Puppies

Hush Puppies are dumplings of cornmeal that are deep-fried and traditionally served with fried catfish. There are many stories about the origins of Hush Puppies.

The oldest story is that Hush Puppies originated in the settlement of Nouvell Orleans (later called New Orleans, Louisiana), shortly after 1727. They were created by a group of Ursuline nuns (the Ursuline nuns also introduced lace making in Ireland during the potato famine) who had come from France. The nuns converted cornmeal into a delicious food that they named croquettes de maise. The making of these croquettes spread rapidly through the southern states.

Then there is a story that an African cook in Atlanta gave the name hushpuppy to this food. When frying a batch of catfish and croquettes, a nearby puppy began to howl. To keep the puppy quiet, she tossed it a few croquettes and said, "Hush, puppy."

Another story states that after a long day of work, hunters and trappers would gather around the campfire for a fish fry. They would take the cornmeal leftover from preparing catfish, fry it up in little balls and toss them to the dogs to silence their whining saying "hush, puppies."

Made simply from corn meal, eggs, etc., these tasty and traditional treats are a part of life in the southern states where ever seafood and fish are served. Below are several recipes for these delicious morsels of southern food heaven. I especially like the ones with the Jalapeno peppers. Take them hot from the fryer, slather with sweet butter all over and enjoy!

Hush Puppies

2 Eggs

1/3 cup Buttermilk

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 cups cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt
2 Garlic cloves minced

1 cup Corn, canned or frozen niblets drained

3 Jalapeno peppers seeded and minced

1 quart corn oil for deep frying

Heat the oil in deep saucepan to frying temp of 350 degrees F. 
 if you don't have a thermometer, you can test the oil by dropping in a small amount of batter. If batter sizzles and then rises to top, the oil is ready.

Place eggs, buttermilk into large bowl and mix
Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly
Using a tablespoon get a large dollop of batter and drop into the hot oil
Cook until golden
Remove and drain on paper towels

Hush Puppy Recipe

4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk
1 cup water

In a cast-iron skillet or a large heavy fry pan over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil to 350° F or until a small
amount of batter dropped into the hot oil sizzles and floats. Do not let the oil get too hot or the center of the hushpuppies will not cook thoroughly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, egg, salt, baking soda, milk, and water. Mix until batter is smooth and free of any lumps. Batter should be stiff (if batter is too dry, add milk; if batter is too thin, add cornmeal).

Using two spoons, push a small amount of batter into hot oil (370° to 380° F). After about 10 seconds, Hush Puppies will float to the top and begin to brown. Fry for approximately 5 minutes or until golden brown, turning to brown all sides. Remove from oil and place Hush Puppies on paper towels; continue cooking the remaining batter (fry in small batches, adding 4 to 6 Hush Puppies to the oil at a time).

NOTE: They can be held in a 200° F oven until serving time (approximately 30 minutes). Serve hot.
Makes 2 dozen Hush Puppies.


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