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Corn Dodgers from Drums of Autumn & The Winner!

Corn Dodgers from Drums of Autumn & The Winner!

Drums of Autumn

The English had always thought the Scottish Highlanders barbarians; I had never before considered the possibility that others might feel likewise. But these men had seen a ferocious savage, and approached him with due caution, arms at the ready. And Jamie, horrified beforehand at the thought of savage Red Indians, had seen their rituals—so like his own—and known them at once for fellow hunters; civilized men.

Even now, he was speaking to them quite naturally, explaining with broad gestures how the bear had come upon us and how he had killed it. They followed him with avid attention, exclaiming in appreciation in all the right places. When he picked up the remains of the mangled fish and demonstrated my role in the proceedings, they all looked at me and giggled hilariously.

I glared at all four of them.

“Dinner,” I said loudly, “is served.”

We shared a meal of half-roasted meat, corn dodgers, and whisky, watched throughout by the head of the bear, which perched ceremonially on its platform, dead eyes gone dull and gummy.

Diana Gabaldon, Drums of Autumn (Chapter 15, Noble Savages)

Corn Dodgers, Johnny Cakes, Corn Pone and Hoe Cakes are are variations on a hot-water corn bread theme.  Although they are cooked using different methods, they all begin with the same basic batter of yellow cornmeal, boiling water, fat and salt.

Claire’s dodgers on the trail would have been basic.  I’ve dolled mine up a bit, because, to tell you the truth, 18th Century corn dodgers would have been hard as bricks almost as soon as they had cooled.  In actuality, leftover dodgers were carried and served 2 or 3 days later — which I can’t even imagine, without a good soaking in milk, stew, even ale — how their teeth managed, weak and loose already, is a mystery to me.

So I added an egg and a touch of cream for tenderness, a little baking powder for some lightness and cilantro for colour, taste and vitamins.

I like to think Claire would approve of my 21st Century dodgers.

corn-dodgers

Lacking half-roasted bear meat, we had our dodgers with some beef kebabs and a green salad with tomatos, blue cheese and toasted pecans.  We saved the whisky until after the dishes were done.

(Click on the link below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Corn Dodgers from Drums of Autumn

Individual cornmeal loaves cooked on the stove top or in the oven.
Yield:  10 small loaves

  • Vegetable Oil – 2 Tble
  • Cornmeal – 1¼ Cups
  • Sugar – 1 Tble
  • Salt – ½ tsp
  • Boiling Water – 1 Cup
  • Butter – 1 Tble
  • Cream or Milk – 2 Tble
  • Cilantro or Parsley, finely chopped – 2 Tble
  • Egg, lightly beaten – 1 Large
  • Baking Powder – 1 tsp

Adjust the rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 450°F. Brush 1 tablespoon of the oil on a rimmed baking sheet.

Stir together the cornmeal, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Pour the boiling water over this mixture, stir well and allow the mixture to rest on the counter for 15 minutes. Stir well, then whisk in the bacon fat/butter, cream and cilantro/parsley, then the egg and baking powder.

Fill a cereal bowl with tap water. Wet your hands in the water, scoop out approximately 2 tablespoons of the mixture into your fingertips and form into a small loaf about 4” x 1½”. Lay on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining mixture, wetting your fingers in-between and spacing the dodgers about 2”  apart. Brush the tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.

Bake until deep brown on the bottom and golden brown on top, rotating the pan halfway through, about 15-20.

Cool slightly on a rack before serving warm (with butter).

Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)

Notes:

  • I included cilantro or parsley in the recipe to give the dodgers a little colour and extra flavour.  Other tasty additions include small amounts of finely chopped:  sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, fresh basil, reconstituted dried mushrooms, crisp bacon, etc.
  • My dodgers are a bit fat, because I was trying to be fancy and stuff some of them with bacon & blue cheese, which didn’t work all that well — the batter is too wet.  Claire’s dodgers would have been slightly skinnier, I think.

corn dodgers

And now for the big announcement…congratulations to Tonya Farrington Covello, whose entry was chosen by a random number generator.  Tonya, you got all 13 questions correct, and as soon as you send me your mailing address, I’ll get your apron on its way to you.  Thanks to everyone for playing!

13 Comments

  1. OutlanderFan
    July 9, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Mmmmmm, bacon sounds like it would be good in them!

  2. Paschendale
    July 9, 2012 at 8:27 am

    I think the tomatoes would also be quite good. Lots of folks in my neck of the woods also add finely chopped jalapenos and corn to cornbread.

  3. Ruth
    July 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    These sort of reminded me of trying to make Pesach buns – mostly because of the limited ingredients – which is just matzo meal, hot water, and oil – if you mix them right, they actual rise while baking, making them great for stuffing. I really love reading these recipes, and it ALMOST makes me want to cook *g*!

  4. Bri
    July 13, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Have you heard of the National Cornbread Festival? It’s a quick drive from our house and we try to go every year, it’s your classic small town festival and we always have a wonderful time. The town is also home to the Lodge cast iron factory, so you can pop over and buy just about any cast iron cooking utensil that has ever been made (which, of course, goes perfectly with cornbread dishes!). I realize it would be a bit of a drive for you 😉 but you should check out the creative recipes on the website! (Although I second Paschendale’s comment, jalapeno cornbread remains my all-time favorite!)

    http://nationalcornbread.com/

    • Theresa
      July 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm

      Thanks for the link, Bri! I’ll check it out.

  5. Peggy
    July 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    These sound so good – and I agree with OutlanderFan – bacon would be a perfect addition to these too =)

  6. Kathy C
    July 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I baked these a half hour ago. I left the herbs out this time. Yummy…I’m eating one with butter and maple syrup, and a cup of coffee.

    • Theresa
      July 23, 2012 at 11:08 am

      That’s a delicious sounding breakfast, Kathy!

  7. ssleblanc
    October 25, 2012 at 10:33 am

    When reading the books I kind of imagined the corn dodgers to be a bit drier version of the hot-water cornbread my grandparents made. They were deep fried (almost hush puppy like). I think these might be as close as I can get without the mess and fat of deep frying.

  8. Ina
    October 31, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    I’ve never had corn dodgers but it sounds like a recipe that could use a bit of finely diced green onion and some finely diced sweet bell pepper – maybe a red pepper to add some colour

  9. Carol Mackey
    July 7, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Was is 2012 wjen you first posted this recipe??? Wow!! Time sure flies when you’re “Eating Outlander”!! Seriously, though, your recipes have been an inspiratioon for all of us over the yeare, Theresa!! Can’t wait for your cookbook–I want to be on your “preorder list”!! <3 =D

    • Theresa
      July 7, 2015 at 7:52 pm

      I began I Outlander Kitchen in October, 2011, Carol…time does fly!

  10. Carol Mackey
    July 7, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Oops–‘i_t_’, not ‘i_s_’, w_h_en, inspirati_o_n, year_s_! Hate when I _do_ that (former teacher–proofread, proofread, proofread!)!

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