For the October 2004 issue, Saveur sent Carolynn Carreño to cover the extravagant tailgating scene at a University of Mississippi football game. She made her way through sausage biscuits, caramel cake, cream-cheese crab dip, and a pork loin with horseradish-pineapple sauce—all before noon. Yet it was this cornbread that Carreño still considers the standout. As the writer explains, “You can put ‘cornbread’ in quotes, because this is more puddinglike, and stuffed with black-eyed peas, sausage, and cheddar.” The genius behind it? A retired home-ec teacher named Becky Miller Tollison, whose late husband, Edward “Bubba” Tollison, played football at Ole Miss in the 1970s.
Featured in: Breakfast Without Borders
- Unsalted butter, for greasing
- 1 lb. spicy pork sausage meat
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup white cornmeal
- 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
- 8 oz. cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
- 1 15-oz. can black-eyed peas, drained
- 3⁄4 cup canned cream-style corn
- 1 4-oz. can diced green chiles
- 1⁄2 cup drained, sliced pickled jalapeños, chopped
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease a 9- by-13-inch baking dish with the butter and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the sausage and onions, and cook, breaking up the meat frequently, until it’s cooked through and the onions have softened, 10-11 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Pour the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture, and use a silicone spatula to fold together until just combined (the batter will still be lumpy). Fold in the reserved sausage mixture, cheese, black-eyed peas, corn, green chiles, and jalapeños. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, and smooth the surface with the spatula. Bake until golden brown, 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.