Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cornmeal Pancakes with Ham

Sunday mornings and pancakes just seem to go together. So when I was flipping through my cookbooks, feeling that I needed to do something creative and get back into some regular cooking, I came across this recipe and the search was over. Granted, I have a known love of ham that pops up on the blog on a regular basis but even without it, I think I would have made this anyway. With the onions, there's a pleasing reminder of potato pancakes, which brings back some happy memories of my best friend and I chowing down on her mom's potato pancakes with apple sauce and syrup.

I had some issues with getting the consistency that the recipe called for but it might have had more to do with the water not being at a full boil when I added it to the cornmeal. And I also had issues with grating the onions, so I made do with chopping them and adding them to the mix. But considering I've never been a fan of polenta, which I always associate cornmeal with, the texture of this was surprisingly good and tender. This would be a great dish for a company brunch if I ever do one. But I would definitely make this again for myself!

From Williams Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch

1 1/2 cups fine grind white or yellow cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 small yellow onion grated
1/4 to 1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup finely chopped cooked ham
Freshly ground pepper
2-3 tbsp melted butter
Sour Cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Whisk cornmeal, sugar and salt in large bowl. Add boiling water slowly and whisk until smooth and batter is very stiff. Let batter stand for 10 minutes. Stir in onion. Stir in just enough milk to make a batter with a porridge like consistency. Stir in ham and season with pepper.

Place large griddle or frying pan over medium heat until pan is hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle and evaporate. Brush with melted butter. Ladle 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto pan and flatten cake with spatula. Cook until browned and crisp, approximately 5-7 minutes. Carefully flip pancakes and cook other side for 5-7 minutes. Transfer to platter in oven to keep warm - do not cover or pancakes with get soggy. Repeat with remaining batter and butter.

Serve with dollop of sour cream or drizzle of warm maple syrup (or both if you're anything like me!).

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