Fried Mush: A Green Family Tradition
We “Greens” like our fried mush! This is a favorite of Dad’s and when any of us girls are home, we try to make up a batch. The upscale name for mush is “polenta” but for country people we have always known this delightful side dish as “mus.h” I shouldn’t really call mush a side dish because it overshadows almost anything that is served with it. I also want to give highest mention to my sister Donna who, for years, has been the “queen of mush making” in the Green family. I am a late comer and am perfecting the recipe and the cooking of the delicacy.
This recipe naturally calls for cornmeal and you can certainly use a good store-bought product. We have a grain grinder and for the batch that is featured in this article, Dad ground whole corn into meal – using the flour setting on our grain grinder. The outcome was great – the meal thickened nicely and had a wonderful fresh corn flavor. Also I want to mention that this recipe is not my original – it was taken from an old cookbook years ago so I cannot give proper credit for the origin. It is the recipe that my mom used and later each of us girls.
Corn Meal Mush
2 2/3 cups water
1 cup corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup cold water
Bring the 2 2/3 cups water to boil in a saucepan. (I use a heavy enameled covered iron soup pot. I like the way these pots radiate heat evenly.)
Combine the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Gradually add the cornmeal mixture to the boiling water, stirring constantly. (This is a must! If you do not stir constantly the mixture can lump up and it is not a pretty sight!) Cook on high heat until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently. When the mixture is thick, turn down the heat to medium, cover and cook 20 to 25 minutes. (I set the timer for 10 minutes, uncover, stir and then cover and set the timer for another 10 minutes.)
While the mixture is cooking, butter a bread loaf pan. When the mixture has finished cooking, pour into the buttered loaf pan and allow it to cool for 25 minutes, then refrigerate overnight.
To unfold the cornmeal mush, loosen the edges with a spatula. Move it to a cutting board. Cut into 1/2-inch slices and dip in cornmeal so that the surface is dry. This is just a light coating and will help the mush brown nicely. To fry the mush, I use a little butter – 1 teaspoon or so mixed with 3 to 4 teaspoons of coconut butter – the coconut butter does not burn at a higher temperature and did you know the properties in coconut butter feed your brain! Yes, coconut butter, in small amounts, is good for your thinker! (I am not a scientist or a doctor – so do your own homework.) I would also note that we prefer the slices fairly thin, which results in a crisp finished product.
Serve with butter and hot syrup, in addition to eggs, bacon or actually all by itself if you like!
You should wrap the unused portion in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for later use. That is VERY FUNNY! I make a double batch and there is never any left!
Enjoy and thanks for shooting the breeze!