Monday, November 28, 2011

Homemade Chicken Stew

A good hearty, southern chicken stew, made from a stewed chicken, fresh potatoes and your choice of veggie add-ins.

Homemade Chicken Stew

A hearty stew is a good thing when the weather turns cold and this homemade chicken stew sure made me happy today. It's been a bit gloomy around here for a few days - overcast, rainy and then cold weather moved in here last night with a vengeance. I stepped outside with the pup - gotta watch over him because we've had a couple close-up encounters with possums and raccoons here lately - and brrrrr y'all. The temperature must've dropped 40 degrees in just a few hours! I was happy that I had this stew made up, that's for sure.

The shortcut version of chicken stew that I have posted before, is a super easy and flavorful recipe for anytime you're in a hurry for a quick stew, but when you have a little more time on your hands to stew down a chicken, the added flavor from that homemade stock is just amazing.


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Roasted Turkey and a Happy Thanksgiving to You!

Oven Roasted Turkey

How to Roast a Turkey

If you think this sounds yummy, I'd sure it if you'd click to pin it, tweet it, stumble it, or share it on Facebook to help spread the word - thanks!

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Happy Thanksgiving! We are lucky to spend these major holidays with family every year, so I don't host the typical large spread at my home. I do, however, always do a little mini spread either before or after the main event, just for The Cajun and me, where I roast a turkey and do some of my favorite sides, including homemade turkey gravy from the drippings (sometimes with giblets, sometimes without), homemade mashed potatoes and dressing at the very least. What else I add depends on my mood, or if I'm trying something new.

I'll try to expand on this post more at another time to make it more of a standard recipe format, but wanted to share what I did with my turkey this year, just in case it might be helpful to anybody... even at this eleventh hour!
  • I bought a 15 pound turkey for us this year, left it in the fridge for several days for thawing, then finished with a sink thaw for about 4 hours when I was ready to cook, changing out the water out about every 30 minutes.
  • I removed the neck and giblets and used a stockpot that would fit into my refrigerator to brine the turkey. My brine was enough water to cover the turkey, plus 1 cup of kosher salt, 3/4 cup of brown sugar, dried thyme, whole peppercorns and a small bunch of sage. I let the turkey rest in the brine, in the fridge, all day.
  • Before I went to bed, I removed the turkey from the brine, rinsed it well inside and out, patted dry with paper towels, inside and out and set it inside a baker, uncovered, in the fridge overnight to dry. Just make sure the raw turkey doesn't touch the fridge walls, other food or anything else in the fridge.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Waldorf Apple Salad

Waldorf salad is a fruit salad of apples, grapes or raisins, and nuts, tossed with a mayonnaise dressing. Served alone as is, or over a bed of shredded or whole leaves of lettuce, it's a holiday favorite.

Waldorf Apple Salad

Like the Hot Brown, Waldorf Salad comes to us from the kitchen of a hotel, this one the Waldorf in New York City. It is said to have been created oddly enough, not by the chef, but by the maitre d'hotel, or kitchen manager, Oscar Tschirky for a 1893 society party. I actually have made two different varieties of this salad, trying to get one that looked good in a photograph. Just ain't happening y'all, though I tried! Some foods just refuse to be photogenic.

Not particularly southern, but still enjoyed and shared at our holiday tables nonetheless, though we tend to call it just good ole apple salad down this way. Truth be known, our favored holiday fruit salad, hands-down, is always gonna be Ambrosia, whether it be true to its pure form of simply oranges and coconut (though it rarely is anymore), or made with a variety of fruit and add-ins and more like a fruit salad like I make. In my eyes, Ambrosia trumps Waldorf in the south for the holidays, though some people traditionally serve Waldorf at Thanksgiving and save the Ambrosia for the Christmas table.


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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Old Fashioned Pan Rolls

A traditional old fashioned yeast roll, made a bit easier by using the equally old fashioned pan roll method.

Old Fashioned Pan Rolls

I will be the first one to say to you, please make my homemade yeast roll for a holiday meal. They are fabulous and worth every ounce of energy you will put into them.


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Monday, November 14, 2011

Apple Dapple Cake with Maple Glaze

Apple Dapple is a well loved heritage cake made with apples and pecans, and glazed with a crunchy brown sugar maple topping.

Apple Dapple Cake with Maple Glaze

This is such a tasty and moist apple cake, and you can make it a day ahead, because it gets even better, making it a perfect addition to the holiday table. I first met this cake 30 years ago, though frankly I'm sure it's been around even longer than that, meaning you can count on it being well-tested and reliable too.


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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Peas and Pimentos Casserole

A vegetable medley casserole with a classic mixture of pimentos, carrots, peas and corn, transformed with a few simple seasonings and a fabulous cream sauce into a wonderful vegetable casserole, topped here with panko.

Petit Pois Pea and Pimento Casserole

One of the most popular canned peas in this part of The Deep South is a petit pois variety, literally translated from French as little pea. They are the tiniest, sweetest little baby peas and not at all cheap either, but when you realize just how many peas have to be shelled to just feed a single person, like fresh crabmeat and pecans, you appreciate the labor that goes into them and happily pay the price because you understand. The petit pois have a very short fresh season, only a few weeks in early June, so we enjoy them mostly canned down here. These are the tiny little peas that usually grace the southern holiday table and thanks to their delectable sweetness, I'm not at all surprised. We do love sweet in The South.


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Monday, November 7, 2011

Butter Bombs - Mini Bite Sized Biscuits

Little bite sized biscuits made with plenty of butter and sour cream, enough that I had to call them Butter Bombs. I feel pretty certain these would make Paula Deen a happy gal.

Butter Bombs

If mixing up, rolling out and baking traditional southern biscuits makes anxiety rise in you, these little bite sized drop biscuits are so easy it's sinful.

It's also sinful the amount of fat in them, so if you're a deputy on the fat police patrol, just move along please. There's nothing for you to see here.


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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Seven Steak Gumbo

A gumbo of beef, made with a 7-steak, and cooked down with The Trinity trio, okra, and a little bit of chopped tasso for some heat.

Seven Steak Gumbo

As far as I can discern, 7 steak gumbo had to have been born out of frugality. Unlike its more pricey seafood cousin, it is a gumbo of beef and okra, but of a fairly inexpensive cut of beef, similar to round steak. Seven steak requires slow braising or stewing in order to bring out it's delicious, tender flavor, making it a suitable candidate for a gumbo. It's called 7 steak because of the bone in it that is shaped like the number 7, when you can find it where the butcher hasn't removed it already, that is. I fix it most often as a Cajun smothered steak, but it can be used pretty much anywhere that you would use a braising steak.


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