22 February 2010

Pulled pork, mustard greens, and cornbread

Some days I just feel like Southern food. I'm referring to the U.S. south. The other day we didn't really feel like cooking, and we had some leftover pulled pork barbecue in the fridge. Here's a link to the topic about making pulled pork.

We also had both collard greens and mustard greens in the freezer. These are greens that we grew in the garden last year, cooked, and packed into empty crème fraiche containers for the freezer. I thawed out a container of mustard greens and added some duck fat and black pepper to season them. I cooked them for an hour or more, because the last time we ate some I didn't think they were cooked enough.

Pulled pork and mustard greens

Then there was the question of bread. Now that we only get bread delivered four times a week instead of five — the Monday delivery has been canceled — we have to plan more carefully. On Saturday we get bread but no more until Tuesday, unless we fire up the Peugeot and go to the boulangerie.

One "survival" strategy is to buy extra bread on Saturday when the bread lady comes by and put some in the freezer for Sunday and Monday. We often do that. Another strategy is to make bread ourselves on Sunday and Monday. That bread can be pizza, for example. Walt makes his own crust.

Lunch served with pan-fried cornbread

Or it can be cornbread. We have pounds and pounds of cornmeal in our freezer, because whenever I see it at a good price I buy some. I usually get it at Paris Store, the Asian supermarket in Blois.

Saturday morning, when we were preparing the meal of pulled pork and mustard greens, I thought about making Southern-style hushpuppies. That requires deep-frying little quenelles or logs of corn batter, and means using up a lot of vegetable oil.

Here in France I get this Italian cornmeal for making polenta.

Then I remembered pan-fried cornbread. My mother used to make it all the time when I was growing up. You make a batter with cornmeal and leavening (baking soda or powder) and you fry it like pancakes in hot oil or butter. Or even bacon or duck fat. You need only a thin layer of oil — almost none at all if you use a non-stick pan.

So I went to the Internet for ideas. Here's the recipe I came up with. It's based on one I found, but modified. I wanted a recipe that used only cornmeal ("corn flour" if you're not American) and no wheat flour. The corn meal needs to be finely ground.

Pan-fried cornbread
1 cup cornmeal
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
several grinds of black pepper
½ tsp. sugar
1 egg
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup milk

Mix ingredients and fry in a skillet as you would pancakes. You can make them large or small as you like. Turn them only once — when brown on one side then flip to the other side.
Without the pepper, these would make delicious pancakes for breakfast, with butter and syrup or jam. With the pepper, they make a great side dish for a meal of meat and green vegetables. They taste as good as they look, believe me.

The Italian cornmeal is very finely ground.

I use a mixture of yogurt and milk to make cornbread here in France. If you can get buttermilk, use that instead. Sour or "soured" milk — add a tablespoon of white vinegar to a cup of milk — work well too.

As for the frying, a non-stick pan needs only to be lightly wiped with oil or melted butter. And if you make the batter with non-fat yogurt and non-fat milk as I do, there's hardly any fat at all — just the egg yolk.


  1. A perfect meal! It does not get much better than this! I love the pan-fried cornbread! It all looks and sounds delicious! Thanks!

  2. You keep coming up with great recipes for us, Ken. Those corncakes look especially good to me this morning. I like the idea of less fat in the cooking and the addition of yogurt for buttermilk.

    Don't forget about making biscuits some weekends also.

  3. You guys probably eat more bread in a day than I eat all week.

  4. You two must have so much fun :)

    That pulled pork looks mouthwateringly good, and so do the corn-bread pancake thingys :)) Yummm! I'm not a huge fan of greens, but I bet that yours have great flavor... that's when I DO like them :)



  5. I LOVE greens, so, Seine Judeet, any that you don't take, just pass them on to me.


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