I have been obsessing about making Cheddar Cheese Hushpuppies ever since we had some as an appetizer at a wonderful restaurant while on vacation in Santa Barbara with our friends Jim and Michele. The hushpuppies were so good that we all went back to the same restaurant on the last day of our trip and ordered them again. Several months later, Mr. Kitchen and I headed back to Santa Barbara for a weekend stay. Guess what we had with our cocktails...
Clearly, I needed to try to make these at home.
I'm ashamed to say that, while I'd heard of "hush puppies" before, I really was not familiar with them. They are essentially made of cornbread dough that is deep fried, and they have strong roots in the South as well as the Caribbean. Why, of course, they have their own Wikipedia page!
I made a chipotle honey dipping sauce to go with these, and it was the perfect compliment to the savory hushpuppies. Maple and chipotle would probably be good too.
I'm usually pretty hesitant about deep frying anything. Things have a way of breaking apart the minute I drop them into the hot oil, or the oil isn't the right temperature.. or I splatter my entire kitchen with little droplets of oil. I also hate throwing out so much oil.
Kitchen gadget obsession alert... I finally got this mini deep fryer! It worked so perfectly. I've been trying to be "good" and not buy more kitchen gadgets, but this one made it so easy, and it used less than one liter of oil.
Speaking of gadgets, this tablespoon cookie scoop was perfect for measuring and dropping dough into the deep fryer. I have a collection of these (told you I have a kitchen gadget problem), and they are great for measuring out cookie dough and cupcake batter.
These hushpuppies were so moist and incredibly crispy, and were delicious dipped in the sweet honey and chipotle.
I can't say that I perfectly recreated the hushpuppies we had in Santa Barbara, but I came pretty close!
Cheddar Cheese Hushpuppies with Chipotle Honey Dipping Sauce
Makes about 20 hushpuppies.
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I used white cheddar)
1/4 cup minced onions
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels
2 tsp minced jalapeños
2 large eggs
1/2 C plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
Vegetable oil, for frying
About 1/4 cup of honey
About 1 to two tablespoons of chipotles in adobo, mashed with a fork
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Add the cheese, onions, corn, and jalapeños.
- Whisk the eggs and buttermilk together and add the mixture to the dry ingredients.
- Stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
- Add oil to a deep fryer or a heavy pot so that it is deep enough to fry 1 1/2 inch rounds. Bring the oil to 360 degrees F.
- In batches, drop tablespoon sized rounds of the dough into the oil and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes, turning to brown all sides, until they rise to the surface and are crispy golden brown.
- Using tongs, remove the hushpuppies from the oil and drain on paper towels.
- Place the honey into a small microwave safe bowl or mini souffle dish. Add the chipotle in adobo to taste. Microwave for about 30 seconds, until warm.
- Serve immediately.