A few weeks ago Mom fell and broke her pelvis, so I headed down for a few days to get her and Dad set up for their new life during the twelve-week recovery period. On my flight from New York to Atlanta, I sat by Dwayne, a broadcast engineer, who worked in New Jersey during the week and traveled home to Atlanta on the weekend.
Turns out Dwayne likes to cook, and he lamented all the bad food he had to eat on the road. He loved his weekends at home and getting in the kitchen. It also turns out that Dwayne is trying to eat less meat, and that’s when our conversation got really interesting. We started exchanging recipe ideas. One dish he had recently made was a vegetable potpie with a cornbread topping, which sounded exactly like something I’d want to eat for Sunday supper or Meatless Mondays.
We exchanged cards and he said he’d send me the link. A week later he did. The recipe came from spoonful.com. Since I already had a great cornbread and white sauce, I simply used his recipe for inspiration.
You just never know where you next dish is coming from. Thanks, Dwayne, for steering me to this one.
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground, divided
- 1 teaspoon each: baking powder and sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅓ cup boiling water
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon dried tarragon, divided
- 1 can (12 ounces) low-fat or regular evaporated milk
- 1½ cups vegetable broth
- Ground black pepper
- ½ pound each: trimmed asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths, carrots, peeled and sliced, and mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green part
- Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Measure ⅓ cup cornmeal in a medium bowl. Measure remaining ⅔ cup cornmeal, along with baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside.
- Pour boiling water all at once into the ⅓ cup cornmeal; whisk to make a stiff mush. Stir in buttermilk until mush is smooth, then stir in egg. Let dry and wet ingredients stand.
- Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Whisk in flour and ¼ teaspoon tarragon; cook until golden, about 1 minute. Vigorously whisk in milk and vegetable broth; simmer until sauce comes to a boil and fully thickens. Turn off heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in a large ovenproof skillet. Add asparagus, carrots, and mushrooms: saute until bright in color and tender-crisp, seasoning with remaining ½ teaspoon tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in peas and scallions and turn off heat. Stir in sauce and adjust seasonings.
- Whisk buttermilk mixture into dry ingredient and pour cornbread batter over sauced vegetables. Bake until sauce is bubbly and crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve.