Of all the recipes that I post here on the blog, and there are about 700 now, the ones that I enjoy the most are the very old, very Southern, very traditional ones. And this one today is one of the oldest I’ve ever done. This recipe for Corn Dodgers takes me right back to my rural southern roots.
Before I started writing this post, I did some research on corn dodgers. At least I tried to. Would you believe there’s next to nothing on the internet about corn dodgers? Not this kind anyway. If you do an internet search for corn dodgers you’ll come up with all kinds of recipes. The majority of those are fried or baked, but the corn dodgers I remember from all those years ago were boiled. Kind of like cornmeal dumplings. And they were always served with greens. If I remember correctly, Mama actually cooks hers in the pot with the greens.
I only found two real references online for boiled corn dodgers. One was from Dictionary.com “1. South Midland and Southern U.S. a small, usually oval cake made of corn bread and baked or fried hard in a skillet. 2. Chiefly South Atlantic States and Eastern Virginia. a boiled dumpling made of cornmeal.” And the second was from thefreedictionary.com “a small cornmeal cake either baked or fried or boiled as a dumpling.” I did also find one other reference to boiled corn dodgers in the Amazon preview of a book titled “Appalachian Folkways.”
It appears that the boiled variety is not so common, but it’s what we always knew as corn dodgers in our household. These delicious little corn dumplings are a perfect accompaniment to a pot of greens. My favorite is turnip greens, but they’re just as good with mustards or collards. I really hope you’ll try this recipe if for no other reason than curiosity. You just might find that you’ve discovered a new treasure to add to your recipe box :-)
Start by cooking turnip greens following your usual recipe. About 45 minutes before serving, make the corn dodgers.
Mix the cornmeal, salt, pepper, and onion in a medium bowl. Add pot likker, starting with about 3/4 cup to make a stiff dough. Maybe I should explain what “pot likker” is?? Well, it’s just the liquid that the turnip greens have been cooking in! And, trust me, it’s some delicious broth. Oh. My. Word. I could make a whole meal off a bowl of pot likker and crumbly cornbread. But I digress…back to the corn dodgers.
The dough should be stiff enough that it easily holds together. If you’re familiar with southern cornbreads, it’s a bit thicker than corn pone dough. I hope you can see from the photo how stiff that dough is. It’s moist throughout but there is no soupy-ness to it at all.
Using about 2 tablespoons of dough for each dodger, shape the dough into rolls about twice as long as wide.
From the pot of turnip greens, remove 3 cups of pot likker (okay, broth) and place it in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Drop in the dodgers and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook slowly until done through, about 30 minutes, turning the dodgers over a few times.
Serve with turnip greens and additional pot likker.
I usually include links here to other related recipes on the internet, but for this post there’s just nothing much to link to! Instead, I’d love to hear your comments about this old, well-loved recipe. Do you think you’d try it?