Last week, my son, Sean, and his fiancee, Olivia, invited us for a Sunday supper with fried chicken as the star of the evening. Needless, to say, I had my doubts. I mean, who makes southern fried chicken, for the first time, and doesn’t end up with a hard learned lesson? Well, Sean does.
Sean borrowed my Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners, and decided to use their recipe. This made me a bit anxious, because the Lee brothers use a recipe I wasn’t brought up on. Still, I figured, cut the kid a break, he’s trying. I said nothing.
Sunday rolled around, and I chose a few dishes to contribute to our evening: skillet cornbread with honey butter, collards, and southern tea cakes.
ABOVE: I’d like to lie and tell you these Southern Tea Cakes are shaped like bears, but truth be told, they are supposed to be pigs. They spread like crazy when baked.
If you’ve never eaten a southern tea cake you’re in for a wonderful surprise. They are soft on the inside and have a slight crisp on the outside. These cookies are very old fashioned, and they can be sprinkled with a hint of nutmeg, sugar, or a cinnamon and sugar mixture. I prefer mine with a pinch of nutmeg. Be warned, they’re addictive.
ABOVE: Skillet honey cornbread
Certainly, not a cake like cornbread, but a perfect cornbread to lap up the pot liquor from the collards. The pot liquor is the liquid you cook your greens in, and it’s full of iron and vitamins.
ABOVE: Collard Greens with a little chard and bacon
I am addicted to these greens. I took a southern cooking class up here in Seattle, and I was shocked that everybody who tried the chef’s collards, refused to finish them. You’ve never heard so many whiny northerners! I guess it is an acquired taste. Although, Olivia had never tried them before, and the girl put the greens down! Good for her!
Sean and Olivia served up some boarding house biscuits, sweet tea, mashed taters, homemade buttermilk salad dressing, and some of the best damn fried chicken I’ve eaten in years!
ABOVE: Sean frying chicken in his kitchen
ABOVE: Sean’s sous chef/ fiancee, Olivia
Come on, you know I’m incredibly proud of these two right now!
Sean played Hank Williams on his computer, and we all had a great time just visiting and laughing. It reminded me of the days of my youth–minus the family fights of course—when the relatives would gather around and sing and play guitar. My grandma would fry up the best batch of fried chicken known to mankind, and we’d all eat like we were half starved.
I’m quite impressed with Sean’s cooking. Every since he returned from Paris, he is obsessed with cooking. Oh, and when he comes for a visit, the first thing he does is turn on the Food Network. He watches the programs like some people watch sports–yes, there is hootin’ and hollerin’. Okay, I admit it, I do it too!
Now, let’s et!
Some recipes just might be hiding behind the cut below…
Southern Tea Cakes (Paula Deen’s)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder together. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Dough should be soft. Roll dough out onto a floured surface until approximately 1/4-inch thick. Cut dough into desired shapes and bake on a slightly greased sheet for 10 to 12 minutes.
enough chopped collards to loosely fill an 8qt pot (throw in some chopped chard if you’l like)
add about a quart of chicken stock(low sodium)
boil till starts to wilt
add about a teaspoon or to taste of Old Bay seasoning (this will make it salty, so go light)
add crushed red pepper to taste–i like minehot spicey so I add about a teaspoon
add about 5 slices of bacon
grind some fresh pepper
cover and low boil for about 1-2 hours or till
as it cooks, add more stock if needed to just slightly cover them–not swimming in it
Skillet Cornbread and Honey Butter (Not the recipe I used, but pretty darn close)
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Put a dry, well-seasoned 9- to 9 1/2-inch cast-iron skillet in middle of oven to heat.
Stir together cornmeal, baking soda, and salt, crushing any small bits of baking soda.
Whisk eggs in another bowl until blended and whisk in buttermilk.
Remove hot skillet from oven carefully and add butter, swirling gently to coat bottom and sides of skillet. (If butter begins to sizzle and brown around edges, so much the better.) Whisk hot butter into buttermilk mixture and return skillet to oven. Stir cornmeal into buttermilk mixture just until moistened. (The batter doesn?t have to be smooth ? a few small lumps are good.) Scrape batter into hot skillet and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Invert skillet over a platter and cool bread at least 3 minutes.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons honey
Mix it together and serve.
Southern Sweet Tea
I will update with the sweet tea as soon as I get my cookbook back from Sean.
You can get the fried chicken and buttermilk salad dressing recipes from the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook. It’s really worth buying or at least checking out from your local library!