Monday, August 22, 2011

southern dinner!

Even though I grew up in the South, my parents are both Yankees and therefore I didn't really get to experience great southern food until I was older. To think of the years I missed eating grits, greens, and jambalaya. 

For my southern themed dinner party, I made summer succotash, deep fried chicken, and greens with cornbread dumplings. 

Summer Succotash

1 bag frozen lima beans
 olive oil
red wine vinegar
1 small Vidalia onion chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pints)
Fresh kernels from 4 ears corn
fresh basil leaves

To prep I grilled the four ears of corn until done, then cut the kernels off into a small bowl.

 Then I cooked the lima beans as directed, and placed them aside as well. That way I had all my ingredients prepped for when my guests arrived. 

To put it all together, cook onion over moderate heat, stirring, until just softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, corn, lima beans, and vinegar and cook, stirring, until tomatoes just begin to lose their shape. Remove skillet from heat and add more vinegar/ oil to taste with salt and pepper, fold in chopped fresh basil leaves. I was lucky enough to have fresh baby cherry tomatoes and basil from my friend's garden- yum! 

Greens with Cornbread dumplings
1 (1-pound) smoked keilbasa
1 medium vidalia onion
8 cups chicken stock
1 large bunch mustard greens
1 large bunch turnip greens

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
some fresh kernels from the succotash recipe

Chop kielbasa into small cubes. Cook kielbasa in olive oil with onion on low for around 10 minutes, until all fat is rendered and onions are soft.

Discard any coarse stems from greens and coarsely chop leaves.
Add greens, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, then blend in butter well with your fingertips. Stir in milk until just combined. Let dough stand 5 minutes.

With wet hands, roll rounded tablespoons of dough into balls.
Gently place dumplings on top of greens. Cook, covered and undisturbed, over low heat until greens are very tender and silky and dumplings are puffed and cooked through, about 20 minutes.. Season with salt and pepper.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe

for this recipe I used a slightly altered version of the Simply Recipes recipe; we had 7 people do I made two chickens

2 (3 pound) fryer chickens , cut into pieces
 1 liter buttermilk
 a teaspoon each parsley and thyme, dried
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
several cups flour
two cups cornmeal
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
Salt and pepper
 vegetable or peanut oil to cover

 Soak chicken overnight (at least 8 hours and up to two days) in buttermilk with herbs, paprika, cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper. 

 In a large bowl combine flour, cornmeal, seasonings.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed dutch oven or other hearty pot (I used my marmite creole from La Reunion).  
Coat chicken with flour and lay on a baking sheet. Let sit for at least 15 minutes. Before adding to oil, toss chicken one more time in flour mixture. 

When oil is very hot and bubbling, add chicken to oil carefully. Fry until coating is golden brown and chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes for small pieces and 20-30 for large breast pieces. 

mmmmm dumplings bubbling and chicken frying...

Drain chicken on paper grocery bags. Salt and pepper the finished pieces while hot. 

And voila! A Southern dinner!

And for dessert? Grilled peaches over vanilla ice cream of course...

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