NEW YEAR’s DAY DINNER – Southern Style


Cooked pork, black-eyed peas and cornmeal dumplings for dinner.

We had our classic Southern New Year’s Day dinner of roast pork and Black-eyed peas. I  addition, I added in cornmeal dumplings cooked in the pork broth and made a winter squash soup. I was thrilled to discover a recipe for the Cornmeal Dumplings in my old Joy of Cooking cookbook.  All I needed to do to make the dumplings gluten free was to substitute 1/4 cup of wheat flour with 1/4 cup of All Purpose Gluten Free Flour.  It doesn’t get any simpler than that.  Of course, the real bonus was being able to cook the dumplings in the broth left over from cooking the Pork Roast.

I started with about a 4.5lb Boston Butt that I had purchased at Three Folds Meats in Berea, KY. They assured me that the pork had been locally raised. It was a beautiful bone in roast.

While the oven preheated to 450 degrees, I spread mustard all over the roast and placed it into a large cast iron skillet.


Once the oven was preheated, I placed the roast into the oven and let it roast for 90 minutes. I know that 450 degrees sounds like a very high temperature for a pork roast but, I’m going for a good rich browning and not fully cooking it.  The roast was  nicely browned all over and had a nice coating of fat and drippings on the bottom of the skillet.

IMG_3031I trimmed off the rest of the fat, cut the roast into about 2 inch pieces and placed them in a Dutch Oven along with small bit of shoulder blade bone.  I covered them with water that was used to rinse the drippings out of the skillet and about 1 cup of white wine.  I added 2TBL chopped garlic and 2 sprigs of fresh Rosemary ( instead of fresh Rosemary, use about 1/2 tsp. dried.) and 1 tsp of sea salt. The pork was left to simmer, covered,  for about 2 hours.


Pork starting to simmer.

While the meat was cooking I was also fixing the Black-eyed peas, squash soup and mixing up the dumplings.


Cooking dinner.

I’ll post the soup and black-eyed peas recipes in another post. For now, I’ll do the Cornmeal Dumpling Recipe.

Here is the very interesting introduction to the recipe, as it appears in the 1975 version of the Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker.

To quote:


Cooking in the United States is undoubtedly up-and-coming, but it seemed to us that a peak was reached in a small Kentucky town where we were served chicken with dumplings—the latter light as thistledown. “Oh yes!” exclaimed the hotel proprietress wearily when we exclaimed over them. “They are always like that when our cook is drunk.”

I would love to know what small Kentucky Town they were in.

Moving on, I was completely sober when I cooked our dumplings and they were as light and fluffy as any dumpling I’ve ever had.

To make Cornmeal Dumplings with my changes to the recipe:

Remove all the meat from the pot.  If needed, add enough water to make about 6 cups of liquid.

While the liquid is coming up to a nice simmer, mix together:

1 cup cornmeal ( I always use Weisenberger’s White Stone Ground Cornmeal. It’s milled in Lexington, KY from corn grown in Hardin County, KY. )

1/4 cup of All Purpose Gluten Free Flour ( I use Bob’s Red Mill).

1tsp. gluten free double-acting baking powder ( can be purchased at the Good Foods Co-op in Lexington.)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Beat together:

2 eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

Combine the egg mixture with the dry ingredients. Drop the batter by large spoonfuls into the simmering broth. Take the spoon under the broth so that the dumpling easliy releases into the broth. This recipe will fill the Dutch Oven with 8 large dumplings. Once all the dumplings are in the broth, cover the pot, and keep it over low heat. The broth should just barely simmer.

IMG_3036NOTE: If the broth is allowed to boil, the dumplings will break apart. It’s important to remember that they are really steamed biscuits and are very tender.

Check the dumplings after about 10 minutes by gently inserting a fork into one of them and seeing if they look dry inside. If not, cook for another 5 minutes.

The finished dumplings will have increased in size and be very fluffy.


Finished dumplings.

Gently remove them from the broth, which will have thickened into a gravy, and place them into a serving bowl with the gravy.

To eat: Place the dumpling on your plate, split it apart with your fork and butter it with ghee or cold butter. Ah, you might think, as our company did, that the dumplings are already rich enough without the butter. Well, the company soon was oohing and aahing over the dumplings with the ghee on them. A true New Year’s Day “light as a feather” delight.

I shared the ghee recipe in October 2014. It is in the archives. You can find it at:

Of course, these dumplings would also be wonderful as chicken and dumplings. I’ll be giving that a try later this winter, no doubt on a very cold day.

Joyful Cooking and Eating in Nonesuch,


Cooking with Joy

Cooking with Joy

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