Hush puppies, a fried cornmeal ball, are a Southern delicacy, often served with deep fried seafood and a range of dipping sauces. The dipping sauces offered in this recipe include a hot pepper jelly, a citrus marmalade and a tomato jam.Jump to Recipe
What are hush puppies?
Hush puppies are a savory, deep-fried, round cornmeal ball. A perfect hush puppy is crunchy on the outside and soft inside. The original creation itself is said to have started with French nuns who had immigrated to New Orleans.
However, hush puppies didn’t acquire their common name until one day when an African cook was frying up a batch and a puppy began to howl. She gave the puppy a plate full of the deep-fried dough balls and told the puppy to “hush puppy.” It must have worked because the term hush puppies is now ubiquitous.
Hot Pepper Jelly as a Dipping Sauce
Three preserves that I have tried with success as dipping sauces to accompany hush puppies include raspberry hot pepper jelly, lime marmalade, and a heirloom tomato jam.
My favorite of the three was the raspberry hot pepper, but it was nice to add some variety with the other two milder choices. The tomato jam has a little kick, and the lime marmalade has just the right amount of pucker to go with the cornmeal hush puppies.
I think these fried green tomatoes might be nice with this dinner also. Don’t forget the sweet iced tea either!.
Southern Hush Puppies with Three Dipping Sauces
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal fine grind
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- 1 cup buttermilk can also use whole milk or combination of milk and beer
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 2 Tbsp melted bacon fat
- In large bowl, whisk cornmeal with the flour, sugar, pepper, salt, cayenne and baking powder. Add the egg, milk, butter and bacon fat and whisk until dry and liquid ingredients are combined (do not over-mix or texture will be tough)
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In pot that is at least 6 inches deep (6-qt. Dutch oven works great) heat 2 inches of oil to 350 – 375 degrees. Don’t skimp on the oil, the batter needs to submerge in the oil. Use a thermometer to maintain the 350 – 375 temperature, because if the heat is too low the puppies will absorb too much oil and if it is too high the outside will burn before the inside is done. Remember, the heat goes down when you add a lot of batter to the oil.
- Set a rack over a baking sheet and place near the stove. Drop tablespoon-size balls of batter into the hot oil, about 6 at a time. You can drop the batter using 2 soup spoons sprayed with vegetable oil or a small ice-cream scoop.
- Fry puppies until they are a rich golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Some of the puppies will flip themselves over, but use a slotted spoon or utensil to turn those that don’t so they cook evenly. With a slotted spoon, transfer hush puppies to rack to drain. Repeat with remaining batter.
- When all of the puppies have been fried, reheat them in oven for about 3 minutes, or until they’re hot. Serve with variety of hot pepper jams or dipping sauces.
My mom grew up in Shreveport Louisiana, and her all-time favorite dinner was fried catfish, hush puppies, and sweet iced tea. In rural Minnesota however, it’s hard to find decent hush puppies and catfish. This Southern dinner was made in honor of my mom’s 90th birthday. reminiscent of the food she grew up eating.