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It's Black History Month, and we're honoring it with one of our favorite chefs! Millie Peartree is an inspiring community hero and amazing cook who's been fighting food insecurity in the Bronx. She also has a new series called "A Chef's Guide to Soul Food!" on Magnolia.com that celebrates soul food.
This is one of her favorite soul food side dishes. "Hush puppies are slightly sweetened cornmeal dough balls that are deep fried until golden and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside," explains Millie. They're a real crowd-pleaser. "Trust me," she adds, "make way more than you think—they will go quickly!"
For the hush puppies, line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, butter and ¼ cup of the buttermilk.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly whisk in the wet ingredients until a smooth batter is formed. Whisk in up to ¼ cup more of buttermilk until the consistency is slightly thicker than pancake batter. Fold in the onions.
Heat 2 inches of oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over high heat until it reaches 350°F on a deep-fry thermometer.
Meanwhile, make the whipped honey butter. Place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat with a fork or electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the honey and salt and beat until combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula and beat again until perfectly light and fluffy. Set aside.
When the oil is ready, working in batches, use a small cookie scoop or a spoon to scoop three or four ½-inch-wide balls of the batter and carefully drop them in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, turning them with a fork, spoon or silicone spatula, until golden brown, about 6 minutes.
Transfer the hush puppies to the prepared wire rack or paper towels to drain off any excess oil. Sprinkle the hush puppies with salt while warm. Make sure to bring the oil temperature back up to 350°F before cooking the next batch. Repeat the process until all the batter is cooked.
Serve the hush puppies with whipped honey butter or aioli.