Simple Sunday Dinner – Carnal Pudding and Fried Chicken

I’ve been feeling poorly the past few weeks (whine).  What was terrible to me was having no sense of smell or taste.  The few times I was able to cook, I felt like I was having “safe cooking”, if you know what I mean.  FINALLY yesterday, I realized I could smell and taste again. 

When my father-in-law offered to bring over some freshly pulled corn and tomatoes and cucumbers from his garden, I gave him an enthusiastic yes!  Within a few minutes, I was the lucky possessor of said items.  Now, some folks say only white corn is sweet and others go for bi-color.  He raises a yellow variety called Super Fantastic and it is an understatement.  Whether the kernels are small and like tiny pearls or larger, they are always tender, full of milk and oftentimes so sweet, when I make my Carnal Pudd’n, I only need to add a minimal amount of sugar.  

Sunday dinners (lunch for folks who aren’t Southern) were always special at our house, but especially in summer.  We’d go out the back door to pull corn, green beans, squash, tomatoes, okra….whatever, from our garden.  It was truly garden to table – the best way to enjoy summer produce.  Our soil was acidic so I grew up eating tomatoes with so much zing to them, they’d jump up from the serving dish and slap you before you had a chance to spear a thick slice and put in the middle of the puddle of creamed corn on your plate. 

I celebrated feeling better by fixing fried chicken (in this case, the little drumettes from the chicken wing) and creamed corn with slices of homegrown tomato.  I did, for a change, take a picture of the double cut corn, the hot and buttery creamed corn, and the chicken frying (middle and end stages).  I will make my Carnal Pudding next week when more corn is available and I can make a triple batch.  

Ya’ll enjoy and just eat (as my great-grandaddy Luther used to say) ’til your little bellies become big bellies!

Creamed corn, simple recipe:4 servings

2 cups fresh double cut corn kernels

3 TBS unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Some milk or water 

Melt butter in skillet.  Add corn and lightly toss on medium heat for about three minutes.  Add salt and pepper.  Add milk or water and bring to boiling.  Cut off heat and let stand about five minutes.  Dependent upon how “soupy” you want this will determine how much liquid you add.   The picture shows where I made a little pond of butter in the corn just before a final stir and serving.

  double cut corn     creamed corn

Carnal (Corn) Pudding  4 servings

2 cups fresh corn kernels, coarsely chopped (4 to 5 ears)

6 TBS. unsalted butter

½ c. granulated sugar

½ c. heavy cream, half and half, or milk

1 tsp. good vanilla extract

¼ c. flour

1 tsp salt

5 large eggs 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the butter in a baking dish (an 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish or iron skillet works well) and slide into the oven so the butter melts while the oven is preheating.   Combine the corn kernels, sugar, cream or milk, flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Lightly beat the five eggs and add to the mixture.  When the oven has preheated and the butter in the baking dish has melted, carefully tilt the melted butter from the baking dish into the corn mixture and combine with a few swift strokes. Then tilt the buttered corn mixture back into the baking dish.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until a golden crust has formed and the interior has set.  For a savory version, omit the sugar, add a nice grind or two of pepper, and a dash or Tabasco. 

NOTE:  I use my Wusthof filet knife rather than the smaller paring knife or chef’s knife.  I find the filet knife works perfectly.  It is flexible and does not bruise the kernels as does the chef’s knife nor tear the kernels as does the paring knife.  Double cut the kernels and then use the back of the blade to scrape down the cob releasing the remaining milk in the kernels.) 

fried chicken      fried chicken 2

Fried Chicken Some people marinate their chicken in buttermilk.  Others make a liquid batter and dip the chicken into.  My Papa and my Grandma Ninny always held that simplest was the best.  I agree.  I like a nice coating on my chicken but not so much batter or breading that it soaks up a lot of grease and all you taste is coating.  I make my own dredging mix from flour, a bit of double sifted white corn meal, salt, pepper and secret stuff.  Since I am not telling you the secret stuff, you can purchase two products that come close:  House-Autry Chicken Breader or Moss’ Chicken Breader.  I use my breader to dredge my chicken, okra, squash, eggplant in to fry. 

Rinse off your chicken and leave damp. Dredge your chicken to coat well.  Into a deep skillet with enough oil to reach halfway up a piece of chicken, carefully lay your pieces of chicken.  Make sure the oil is hot enough.  If not, your food will soak up too much oil.  You want the breader to quickly crisp and seal out the oil and seal in the moisture. When the oil looks like it is “crawling” on the bottom of the pan or, the handle of dry wooden spoon stuck in the oil sizzles, the oil is hot enough. I do not cover my chicken while it is cooking.  After it goes into the pan, I keep on medium high to keep the heat up and seal the breading.  Then I reduce the heat.  I’ve been doing this long enough I can tell by the smell when to turn the chicken.  I only turn it once.  Papa and Ninny said too much turning didn’t make for good chicken,  I agree with that too.  Use tongs to turn so you don’t pierce the meat and cause spatters than can burn you.  Good common sense is the key to cooking anything.. 

Remove chicken from pan and drain on absorbent paper bag or paper towel. 

PS Note to Gamers:  cold or room temp chicken is most excellent to eat while gaming!

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