Food & Drink

The Cornbread-Topped Casserole of Your Dreams

This one-dish wonder is the ultimate Southern comfort meal

Photo: Johnny autry | Food Styling by Charlotte Autry

When Steven Satterfield cooks for others, he does it with intention. “If someone brings you something delicious they’ve made, you know they’ve been thinking about you the whole time they were making it,” says the co-owner and executive chef of Miller Union in Atlanta. “I think that’s really comforting and makes people feel appreciated at a time when they might really need it.” At the height of the pandemic, with the restaurant shuttered, Satterfield and his team answered the comfort-food call, feeding two hundred meals a day to health-care workers as part of a program funded in part by the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. And they did it in style: Each meal not only delivered an appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert for two, it also included a handwritten thank-you note, menu, and ingredient list.

When cooking for friends and neighbors or anyone in need of a pick-me-up, the vegetable-loving chef turns a classic casserole into a showcase of Southern flavors, combining greens, field peas, and a healthy helping of cornbread. “This is the ultimate comfort dish, and I love that it’s uniquely Southern,” Satterfield says. “The wet cornbread topping bakes in the oven, and the top gets crispy while the bottom gets steamed—like spoon bread. Everyone I make this for is like, ‘This is my new favorite jam.’”


  • Greens, Field Pea, and Cornbread Casserole (Yield: 8 to 10 servings)

    • 4 cups slow-simmered field peas (recipe follows)

    • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

    • 1 large bunch (about 1 lb., trimmed) mustard greens (or your favorite greens), washed, stemmed, and chopped

    • Kosher salt

    • Fresh-ground black pepper

    • ½ cup crème fraîche or sour cream

    • 2 to 4 tbsp. hot sauce, to taste

    • 1 cup fine cornmeal

    • 1 tsp. kosher salt

    • ½ tsp. baking soda

    • 1½ cups buttermilk

    • 1 large egg

    • 2 tbsp. melted butter

  • For the field peas

    • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

    • ½ cup finely diced (1/8-inch) yellow onion

    • ½ cup finely diced celery

    • ½ cup finely diced fennel bulb

    • Kosher salt

    • Fresh-ground black pepper

    • 1 thick slice of country ham or 1 small piece of smoked ham hock

    • 4 cups fresh-shelled field peas (lady peas, pinkeyed peas, blackeyed peas, crowder peas, zipper peas, or a mix), washed and picked over

    • 1 sprig thyme


  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and set aside.

  2. Warm prepared peas through if they’ve cooled and set aside. In a large saucepan or 10-inch Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm olive oil. Add greens and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, turning with tongs, until the greens are wilted and tender, about 8 minutes. You may need to add a bit of liquid from the cooked peas to help wilt the greens.

  3. Remove from heat. Pour off most of the cooking liquid from the peas and reserve. Add the cooked peas to the wilted greens. Stir in crème fraîche and hot sauce to the field pea and greens mixture, adding a little of the reserved pea cooking liquid to make a smooth sauce.

  4. Spread the peas and greens mixture into the prepared baking dish and check the level of liquid. Add more of the reserved cooking liquid from the peas to come about halfway up the sides, and gently stir to combine. Cover to keep warm while you make cornbread topping.

  5. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, salt, and baking soda. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Whisk the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients, then whisk in melted butter. Carefully pour the cornmeal mixture evenly over the hot peas and greens mixture, covering the entire surface. Bake until cornbread topping is set and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

  6. For the field peas: In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and fennel. Season with a little salt and pepper, and sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add ham, peas, and thyme, and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Simmer on low heat until the peas are tender, occasionally skimming, for 45 to 60 minutes.

Recipe by: Steven Satterfield
Atlanta, Georgia

Drop-off Tip: Deliver the casserole warm with a light red wine (like pinot noir or grenache) or lager-style beer.