February 5, 2011

The Southern Way!

"I've noticed that once it hits the table, fried chicken becomes highly political! Honored guests are always offered the largest piece, which is normally the chicken breast, as this is the part that our society deems superior. It's downhill after that. If you are a child, you will end up with the drumstick. Or, if you are a mother who is sacrificial, " you"  will end up with the drumstick! Politics will have been served!"

Grandmother Grace's Most Perfect Fried Chicken
1 (2 1/2-3 lb) broiler-fryer chickens, cut up
Buttermilk, enough to cover the chicken pieces
1 tablespoon hot sauce
butter flavor shortening (for frying)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoons seasoning salt
1/8 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne red pepper powder
1/4 teaspoon thyme, crush between your fingers when adding
1/4 teaspoon basil

Wash chicken pieces and place in a deep bowl. Cover with buttermilk and hot sauce, and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Melt shortening in a cast iron skillet to a depth of about 1 inch.
Heat to about 370ยบ. In a doubled brown paper lunch sack, mix together all of the dry ingredients. Remove chicken from bowl. Using additional seasoned salt and pepper, lightly coat to season chicken.
Place chicken in bag, one piece at a time. Shake well until thoroughly coated. Dip each piece in the buttermilk and coat with flour once again. Shake off excess; place on waxed paper for 15 minutes or until dry. Place chicken, skin side down, in hot shortening. Do not crowd skillet.
Brown until golden on bottom. When chicken pieces are golden on one side, turn pieces over, cover with tight fitting lid, and reduce heat to a simmer, turning chicken pieces occasionally, for 35 to 40 minutes or until juices run clear and chicken is tender. When lid is placed on, and heat is reduced to a good simmer, the good side of pieces are the top sides. After about 10 minutes, turn back to skin-side down. After another 10 minutes or so, turn back to skin-side up for the last 10-15 minutes.
Uncover and cook 5 minutes longer for "crispy on the outside" crust. Remove at once, skipping this step, if a softer outside is preferred.Grandmother always drained their fried chicken on brown paper grocery bags.  Paper towels work well also.

"Who's th' one baked them good biscuits for supper?
 Louella could hardly speak. "What you want to know for?"
"Because th' one baked them good biscuits, that's th' one I'm goin' to marry!"

Louella's Buttermilk Biscuits
1/2 cup Crisco
4 cups White Lily all-purpose flour
(if you are not southern, you can use another brand of flour)
2 T. baking powder
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the Crisco with a pastry blender until you have a coarse meal. Stir in the buttermilk and form the dough into a ball. GENTLY knead on a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until you achieve a 1/2 inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. Place on the greased baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, then brush the tops with melted butter. Bake an addition 2 minutes until you have golden brown tops!

"Smells good!" as the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg
floated around the small room. 
Uncle Billy placed the pie on his desk and lifted the tea towel back to appreciate the handiwork.
 "I want to share this pie and give Miss Cynthia and you half of it.
You'uns have been awful good to me and Rose."
"Let's see," said Tim, scratching his head.
"What will I carry half of it in?"
As Uncle Billy scratched his head, he kept lookin' at the pie
 thinkin' it looked mighty tasty!
 "Tell you what,"..."let's you and me jis' set down right here and
eat th' whole dang thing!"

 Estelle's Sweet Tip: Never peel sweet potatoes before they are cooked. You lose both the flavor and the nutrients. If you peel the cooked sweet potatoes under cold running water, you will lock in their sweetness!

Estelle's Sho-Nuff Sweet Potato Pie
2 cups freshly cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup evaporated milk

2 T. unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 t. salt

Place hot mashed sweet potatoes in a mixing bowl and gradually beat in butter, sugar, vanilla and spices. Continue to beat, add the eggs and the evaporated milk. If mixture seems to stiff, add a little more milk. Pour into a nine inch pastry pie shell and bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Cool slightly before serving!
While the pie is baking, place 2 T. butter and brown sugar in small skillet. Over low heat, stir until the butter has melted and add the brown sugar. Stir until this has dissolved. Add pecans and salt. Continue to cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour this mixture onto a cookie sheet. Let cool completely. Crumble the topping into small pieces and sprinkle over the pie. Serve with sweetened whipped cream!

Southern girls are God's gift to the entire male population.
There is absolutely no woman finer than one raised below the
 Mason-Dixon line and once you go southern,
may the good Lord help you - you never go back.” Kenny Chesney

Excerpts from Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader

1 comment:

  1. [Drooling as I write this...] Love the food...love the recipes...love the Mitford and Father Tim books. Just about as close to a perfect post as humanly possible, I'd say!!


I so love receiving your thoughts and comments. I also hope you found something that made you smile.