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
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!