Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hell Yeah Hush Puppies

I spent ten years in the South, and my palate hasn't been the same since. I'll happily snarf down a plate of collards, a freshly steamed oyster, or a bowl of grits without batting an eye, despite the horror that such foods bring to my friends here in the Midwest. After all, many things that are popular food items in the South have a different impact in the rest of the country - I'm pretty sure none of my Ohio buddies can understand why at some point in human history someone cracked open an oyster and said, "Aw yeah, I can eat THAT."

One of the staples of Southern food, at least in the area in which I lived, was the hush puppy. Served up fried golden brown, little balls of cornmeal dough and onions are pretty much a standard on a table, especially if you're eating seafood. A plate of shrimp with a side of hush puppies is one of my favorites summertime meals ever.

Hushpuppies are made mostly with cornmeal - which has always been pretty cheap. A friend of mine who was a cook in a South Carolina restaurant told me that his great-something granddaddy ate hush puppies regularly during the Civil War. Because no matter how bad the Confederate army was starving, someone could usually find a bag of corn meal. Fry it up, and you've got sustenance. I've heard a story that the name "hush puppy" came from soldiers tossing their fried up cornbread balls to dogs to keep them quiet, but I'm skeptical about that tale - if you're cold, hungry, and not even wearing a decent pair of shoes, I doubt that you'd spare a chunk of warm cornmeal for the dogs.

At any rate, whatever their origin, hush puppies are super easy to make, and they are OMG DELICIOUS. You can bang out a batch in about twenty to thirty minutes, depending on how much you're making. Now, when I make hush puppies I tend to (a) keep it simple and (b) not really measure stuff. This is a very basic hush puppy recipe that's totally gluten free, and you can adapt it by adding other things into the mix, like chopped jalapenos or a bit of cheese. Go crazy with it.

Seriously, these are great. Even my kid who doesn't like onion loves these. Hence the name Hell Yeah Hush Puppies.

GLUTEN FREE HUSH PUPPIES

Before you get started, heat some cooking oil on the stovetop. A note about oil - the kind you use will impact the flavor of the hush puppies. For a sweeter hush puppy, I like to use a blend of vegetable oil with coconut oil. Anyway, you'll need:

2 eggs
1/2 C sugar
1 onion, finely chopped

Mix the eggs, sugar and onion together in a bowl until it's all smooth (or at least as smooth as you can get with onion chunkers in it). Then add:

1/2 C your favorite GF baking mix
1/2 C gluten-free cornmeal (I like Bob's Red Mill, but use what you got)
Salt and pepper to taste

Stir them up until it's a nice thick gloppy mix. Using a spoon or a dough scoop (spray it with cooking spray to keep the dough from sticking!), drop little balls of dough into your oil. Be sure to turn them so they evenly, and let them get to a nice golden brown. My spouse likes his hush puppies crunchy, but I like mine a little on the softer side. Play around and see which kind you like best.

Once your hush puppies are brown, remove from oil, let them dry on a paper towel, and dig in. Traditionally, hush puppies are eaten plain or dipped in melted butter, but I've found a nice blend of barbeque sauce mixed with sour cream is another great dip. This recipe should make you about 20 - 24 hush puppies, depending on the size of your dough balls. Experiment, play, and celebrate your puppies!

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the recipe. I think adding a tspn of salt was helpful, and midway through cooking them I added a bunch of cornmeal, before doing so they tasted more like indian pakora. so i think probably 1/2 C of gluten free flour to 1 C of corn meal worked a little better. thanks!

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  2. Made a bunch of these tonight at the beach. They were delicious! My wife said the original recipe was too sweet, but she's from Texas. The contention from SC thought they were dead on!!

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