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Lundy,-Ronni-credit-Martha-Wilson-VozosRonni Lundy has been a frequent contributor to Food & Wine, Gourmet, and Esquire. She is the author of eight books, including Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken and Cornbread Nation 3: Foods of the Mountain South.

Often confused with molasses, and ranging in color from tawny gold to a deep teak brown, sorghum syrup tempers sweetness with a hint of tart and a buttery resonance. It has been the secret ingredient in Southern baked goods, confections, glazes, and dressings since the Civil War.

In SORGHUM’S SAVOR, Ronni Lundy unlocks the mysteries of this subtle and splendid cousin of the sugarcane. She highlights the classic pairings with cornbread, buttermilk, sweet potatoes, and bacon, and reveals fresh combinations with red chiles, ginger, citrus, and cardamom. From soups to entrees, from drinks to dressings, Lundy showcases the endless possibilities of this unique sweetener, as well as the reasons why it has long been cherished in the South.

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Serves 6


This can be served as is, but it is also delightful topped with a dollop of plain yogurt and Pear and Dried Cranberry Chutney.

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
1 tablespoon sorghum syrup
2 (15-ounce) cans pumpkin purée
1 1/2 cups light coconut milk
Salt and cayenne

In a soup pot on medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook until they soften and begin to turn translucent. Add ginger and curry powder and heat, stirring, to release fragrance, about 1 minute or less. Add the broth, and as it begins to warm, stir in the sorghum until it dissolves. Add the pumpkin purée and coconut milk, mixing well to blend. Turn heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking. Add salt and cayenne to taste.


Gravy Horse

Makes enough to grace a half-dozen biscuits


The name for this ubiquitous mountain morning condiment comes from Balis Ritchie, folksinger Jean Ritchie’s father. She writes, “Dad would take his whole meal on it, just about. He would take a big spoonful of molasses and let it run thick and slow over fresh-churned butter in a dish, then he’d take his fork and mixand stir, make Gravy Horse to eat on his cornbread. Hot cornbread, or biscuits, either one would go with fine.” Not much to add to that perfect description, but for first timers, here are some proportions and hints for making what my family just called “sorghum butter.”

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sorghum syrup

Put the butter in a small bowl or saucer and let sit at room temperature until it is softened but not runny. Pour sorghum over the top and use the tines of a fork to first mash then gently whip together. You can use the fork to daub it onto hot biscuits.

 These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from SORGHUM’S SAVOR by Ronni Lundy. (University of Florida Press; March 2015; $19.95/hardcover; ISBN; 978-0-8130-6082-8). http://upf.com/

Contact: Rachel Doll