The only thing Rooster Cogburn liked better than shootin' and drinkin' was eating the "corn dodgers" that his cook, Chen Lee, cooked for him. In fact, he rode for days eating nothing but corn dodgers, and even used them for shooting practice.
So, let's make some, shall we?
First, we're going to start with Bob's Red Mill Masa Harina. It's corn made the way the very first people learned to eat corn, treated in a way known as "nixtamalization."
From Bob himself:
Masa, the Spanish word for “dough,” is the traditional dough used to make corn tortillas. It is made with hominy, or dried corn kernels that have been cooked and soaked in limewater, which is ground into masa. Masa harina (“dough flour”) is flour made from dried masa.
The nixtamalization process (soaking in limewater) was developed in Mesoamerica thousands of years ago. It loosens the hulls from the kernel and softens the corn for grinding by breaking down the glue-like component called hemicellulose. This process also changes the structure of the corn, freeing the nutritionally rich niacin so that it can be easily absorbed into the digestive track. In addition, calcium is gained from the lime used as an alkali. The nixtamalization process also balances the amino acids, accessing more usable protein from the corn.
Masa harina is most commonly used to make tortillas, but it is also featured in other delicious dishes including tamales, pupusas, and arepas.
I have always loved corn tortillas, but wanted to make my own from nixtamalized corn. A couple years ago, I bought a bag of Masa Harina and a tortilla press...you know, one of these:
Never could get the hang of it! It sits in the corner of the counter, collecting dust.
But I have found a great use for masa harina corn meal...Corn Dodgers!
- Corn Meal
- Salt (optional)
Use the dough to make balls, cakes, pancakes, or whatever you want to call them, they are all "corn dodgers" to me and Rooster Cogburn!
Simply cook them in a pan. I'm sure John Wayne would prefer bacon fat, but butter, olive oil, coconut oil, or whatever you like will work. You don't need much, if any.
Here's the batch I made tonight (with diced onion and whole sweet corn).
The variations are endless, I suppose. You can put whole sweet corn in the batter and make corn fritters, chopped up zucchini, jalapeno peppers, cheese, fresh herbs...but just don't expect them to keep well in your saddle bag as you ride across hostile "injun" territory.