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Cornbread Kush Recipe

The precursor to modern cornbread stuffing was developed by enslaved African people out of leftovers and transformed over the years into the Thanksgiving staple we know today.
Cornbread Kush Recipe
Photo by Sydney Kramer.

"Kush was a cornbread scramble made from the basic elements of the antebellum ration system, which spread from the enslaved person's quarters outward to the Big House and the kitchens of whites high and low."

Serves: 6
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes


2 white or yellow onions, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons of lard, shortening, or cooking oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or one crumbled pod of long red cayenne pepper
dried herbs to taste (sage, bits of rosemary, thyme)
¼ cup of bits country ham or smoked turkey (optional)
1 medium pan yellow cornbread (cool, slightly dry, and crumbled)
¼ cup|60 ml chicken, ham, beef, or vegetable stock (you may choose to use the pot liquor from greens as your stock)



  1. Heat the lard, shortening, or oil in a large skillet over medium-high.
  2. Sauté the onions until they are translucent. Add half of the salt and half of the red pepper flakes, and some of the herbs.
  3. As the onions begin to turn clear, add the meat (if using), and add the rest of the oil to the pan. Slowly stir the crumbled cornbread into the skillet until all of it is completely incorporated.
  4. Add the rest of the red pepper, herbs, and salt. Add more stock to moisten. Cook over a low heat and stir frequently until the stock has been fully absorbed. Do not allow the kush to burn.
  5. Serve immediately with boiled vegetables or fish.

Recipe courtesy of Afroculinaria.

From A People's History of Cornbread Stuffing

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