A few months back, our son called to ask if I’d ever made hot water cornbread; I had not. He ate some at a friend’s house and loved it. He said it was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Then a few weeks later, I saw this article in the Penzeys catalog. The cornbread was paired with a curry-flavored kale dish. I immediately tore out the recipes to try as soon as the spring CSA kale was plentiful again. I’m always eager to try new flavors with kale, and I can now say I have made hot water cornbread!
WHAT YOU NEED for the kale:
1 T vegetable oil or bacon grease
1 bunch kale (about 1 lb)
1/2 medium onion, minced (I used red)
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c water
WHAT YOU DO with the kale:
Wash and de-stem the kale. Stack the leaves, roll and slice into shreds. My kale bunch weighed in at half a pound, so I halved the ingredients.
Heat the oil or grease over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan.
Add the onion and cook until it begins to brown.
Add the kale, curry powder, salt, and water.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 20-25 minutes, while the cornbread is in the oven. I did have to add more water while this was cooking and still didn’t have much pan juice.
Serve hot, letting the juices moisten the cornbread while you’re eating.
WHAT YOU NEED for the cornbread:
2 Cups yellow stone-ground cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar, optional
1/4 tsp. PENZEYS ROASTED GARLIC, optional
black pepper to taste
2-3 Cups water, boiling
3-4 Cups vegetable oil for frying 1-2 TB. bacon grease, optional
WHAT YOU DO for the cornbread:
In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, egg, salt and sugar (if using), ROASTED GARLIC (if using) and pepper. I got this FREE jar of roasted garlic with a Penzeys order, so I used it. You could omit or use garlic powder.
Stir in enough boiling water that the cornmeal mixture looks like a thick batter—holding together enough to spoon out but not runny. Mine looked like mashed potatoes. I used about 3 cups of hot water.
Heat the oil and bacon grease (if using) in a large cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. The oil should be 1/3 of the way up the side of the skillet.
As soon as the oil is hot, spoon the hot cornmeal mixture into your hands and form into a small patty, saucer-like in shape. Because of the hot water, the mixture is HOT, so be careful.
Place the patties gently (and carefully!) in the oil. Don’t crowd the pan; usually 3 at a time or so would be good.
Turn each patty once and cook until crisp and golden brown, about 3-4 minutes total for small patties.
Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
I served the kale and cornbread patties with left-over pulled pork and beans.