Posts Tagged ‘southern cooking’

Chicken Fricassee???

March 14, 2022

My family isn’t at all French. We’re probably 75% Cornish and 25% Norwegian. The meal I most requested from my grandmother, a truly wonderful southern cook, was Chicken Fricassee though. Or that’s what she called the bone in chicken in gravy, cooked in a bag if memory served, over rice that she whipped up to my constant demands. I’ve chased whatever that was for my entire adult life, though I don’t frankly remember very much about it except how satisfied it made me feel. It was hearty, and savory, and like any good southern girl “smothered” is my favorite adjective. This is my version.

6 bone in, skin on chicken thighs patted dry w/ paper towel
2 tbs bacon fat
2 leeks, quartered/rinsed/sliced
16 oz button mushrooms, quartered
1 tbs dijon mustard
2 lemons, juiced
4 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbs cornstarch in 2 tbs water slurry
1/3 cup chopped tarragon

Set a straight sided sauté pan on a medium heat. Liberally season the chicken thighs on all side. Add bacon fat to pan and allow to render. Then place the thighs, skin side down in the fat. Brown them on all sides until a deep mahogany color forms. Also great… encourage that brown-ness on the bottom of the pan. That’s the flavor.

Remove browned thighs to a plate and add the diced/cleaned leeks. Soften the leeks, then add the mushrooms until they’re also browned. Sometimes I need to lid the pan w/ the leeks and sometimes not. Just don’t let them burn. Drizzle in a little more bacon fat or butter if necessary to keep it all from sticking. Squeeze in the lemon juice to deglaze, then add the stock and mustard. Let that come to a boil and reduce slightly. Add S&P, and cream. Add the starch/water slurry and stir until uniformly thick.

Add the browned chicken back to the pan with the skin side up. The darkly colored tops should sit proud of the liquid. Put the lid on and cook on low, just barely a simmer, for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and cook another 5 or 10 minutes. Sprinkle with tarragon.

Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Saltine Toffee

April 29, 2017

Southern cooking relies on ingredients that are a.) Cheap, b.) tasty, and c.) generally pretty terrible for your body.  Saltine Toffee historically  meets all of those criteria.  It’s often a Christmas cookie treat, but it’s one of my go to treats to send along on trips and as a gift.

Start by lining a sheet pan with saltine crackers.  I line with foil for the mess and a sheet of parchment paper to stop the candy from sticking to the foil.  Who wants to eat little bits of foil? (Foil sounds like f-oh-l when I say it, if that helps.)

IMG_8977.jpg

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring butter and brown sugar to a boil.  Stir to keep the sugar from burning for 3 minutes.

IMG_8979.jpg

Pour the boiled sugar mixture over the crackers (it will plop, more than stream) and spread evenly.
IMG_8981.jpg
Bake in the oven at  425 for 5 minutes until the sugar mixture is hot and bubbling, then remove and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips.  I’m a stickler for fair trade chocolate because imho, child slavery tastes bad.    Cover with foil and let sit for 5 minutes until the chocolate has melted, then spread the chocolate out across the toffee crackers.  I top it with pecans, because Central Texas, but it’s good as is or even with crushed peppermint.
IMG_8985.jpg

Refrigerate until cool, peel the candy from the lined pan and break into bite sized pieces.
IMG_8987.jpg

Saltine Toffee:
Soda crackers, about 50
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup salted butter
2 cups fair trade semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 pecans

Preheat oven to 425. Cover a lined baking sheet with soda crackers, leaving as little gap as possible.  Place butter and brown sugar in a heavy sauce pan and bring to a boil for 3 minutes.  Pour boiling sugar mixture over crackers and place the sheet pan in the oven.  Bake for 5 minutes or until bubbling.   Remove from heat and immediately cover with chocolate chips.  Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Spread melted chocolate chips with a rubber spatula and then top with pecans if desired.  Place the sheet pan in the refrigerator for 15 or 20 minutes until cool.  Break into serving pieces.  Best fresh while the crackers are still crisp, but can be stored in an air tight container.