Sunday, November 05, 2006

Tennessee Corn Pone

For all of you who asked, here’s the Tennessee Corn Pone recipe or at least my approximation of the recipe. I think the recipe was in Laurel’s Kitchen and my copy is on long term loan to a friend.

First of all, cook up a mess of dried pinto beans. For our family, I usually cook a 2 pound bag of beans. Follow the directions on the bag – soak overnight if you want to lessen the cooking time – or allow a couple of hours for them to cook. Make sure you put in plenty of water and check them occasionally, adding water if necessary. You don’t want to do my old trick of cooking all the water out and burning the beans. Yuck! You could also buy canned beans, but this sort of seems like cheating, plus you don’t get to enjoy the lovely, homely, humble smell of (non-burning) cooking pintos.

When your beans are done, sauté a couple of chopped onions and a bell pepper. Add a can of diced tomatoes to this mix and whatever else you think will make your beans taste good. Sometimes I add fresh parsley or cilantro, sometimes chili powder and dried coriander. There are endless variations. Experiment! Add the cooked beans to this sautéed mixture. Salt to taste. Put this warm bean mixture into a 9x13 pan.

Now here’s the important part and the part I don’t know the recipe for…but not to worry. It’s easy. If you can read, you can cook! Just buy some corn meal mix – you know, the kind to which you just add an egg, a little oil, and some milk to make cornbread. Look on the side of the bag or box, and mix up enough to fill a 9 x13 pan. Add a little extra milk so that the mixture will pour, not spread, over the beans. You’ll probably need to double the recipe or use two boxes, bags, or whatever your mix comes in. Down south, I can buy a nice big bag of cornmeal mix, but you northerners may not have that luxury! Pour this cornbread batter over the beans and pop in a 350 degree preheated oven. Bake until the cornbread topping is done. You’ll know because it will be firm and golden brown on the top. The beans will be bubbling happily underneath.

Now if you live in a country where you can’t buy mixes like this, find a cornbread recipe and make a batch big enough to fill a 9 x 13 pan. As described above, add a little more milk than the recipe calls for to make a slightly more liquid mixture to pour over the beans.

Now, I think you can’t really eat this dish without a good side of greens – collards, kale, or turnip greens – with a little hot pepper vinegar on top (of the greens, that is). And maybe some sweet tea with a sprig of mint. Mmmmm!

If you aren't feeding a multitude like I usually do, try cooking the smaller bag of pintos and using one recipe of the cornmeal mix. You can bake it in a 9 inch square pan or similar sized casserole dish.

By the way, when I posted my Sunday dinner menu last week, I speculated about this week and what sort of fusion I'd try. We actually had cauliflower curry, cucumber and mixed sweet pepper raita, and my standard sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and walnuts on top... Dixie/Indian fusion this time!


5 comments:

Jen Unsell said...

Thank you Beth! I love pinto beans during the winter- but have never baked the corn bread over them. Looking forward to this now. But now you have to share your cauliflower curry too. Emmy and I love cauliflower and curry. Love your fusions! :-) You should start posting them weekly!

Beth said...

Jen,
The cauliflower curry recipe is in the August archives under Pinckney Peach Potato Pepper sauce...Check it out! We really love it. You can buy Patak curry paste at Lowe's foods and some Food Lion stores. It's really good.

Melanie said...

Well, I should probably try you TN corn pone, especially since I'm notw a Tennesseean! Thanks for the recipe.

Amber Benton said...

Beth, Thanks for the long term loan :D I just decided a few weeks ago that I'm buying both the Laurel's Kitchen and Laurel's bread book for myself. I just like having them in the kitchen and being able to pick them up and review something I read. They have both transformed my view of food and feeding my family, and lead me in a direction I would not have gone on my own. So these will be coming back your way very soon I hope. Until then, I'll try and look up the Corn Pone recipe and post it on my blog if there is anything different in the recipe, or copy out what she might say about it. But I'm sure you cook like me once you get comfortable with a new dish/style -- you make it your own!

Have you written about your rosemary shortbread yet? I will never forget walking into your kitchen just after you baked it and having a warm, fragrant, savory, sweet cookie. Mmmmm...

Beth said...

Amber, I haven't posted the rosemary shortbread recipe yet. I'll have to do that soon. Oh, I do love how it smells when it's cooking and the flavor, well there's nothing like it with a good cup of English tea, especially on an afternoon like today!