Cornmeal mush is a Southern favorite—a combination of cornmeal and water or milk, cooked on the stove until it is a creamy consistency. It is like grits' distant cousin, but whereas grits are not to be eaten with a sweetener added (according to true Southerners), cornmeal mush seems to be crying out for a swirl of maple syrup, making it a comforting porridge.
Cornmeal mush is also commonly served fried, as in this recipe. The mixture is left to set or placed in the refrigerator to chill and then cut into squares or rectangles. After coating with a dusting of cornmeal, the slices are fried in bacon drippings, butter or oil. The pieces remain creamy inside while developing a crispy exterior.
Fried cornmeal mush is great as an appetizer, side dish or snack, or served with bacon and eggs for breakfast. Your kids will love them as an alternative to French toast and pancakes—cut the set mush into "fingers," fry, and let the kids dip into syrup.
- 2 3/4 cups water
- 1 cup cornmeal (plus extra for frying)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 bottle oil for frying (or bacon drippings)
- Optional: butter and maple syrup for serving
- Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Combine remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- Gradually add cornmeal mixture to the boiling water, stirring constantly. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently. When thickened, cover, turn heat to lowest setting and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Pour into a small loaf pan. Cool then chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
- To unmold the cornmeal mush, loosen edges with a spatula. Turn out onto a cutting board. Cut into 1/2-inch slices.
- Place extra cornmeal on a shallow plate and dip each slice into cornmeal, coating both sides.
- Heat a few bacon drippings and/or oil over medium heat in a skillet and fry cornmeal slices. Turn to brown both sides.
- Serve with butter and hot syrup. Delicious with bacon and eggs, too. Wrap unused cornmeal mush in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.