Confederate Cooking, Part Two

No good deed goes unpunished.

No sooner did I post my “Confederate Yankee Cooks” list of Thanksgiving recipes than I was inundated with complaints from fellow Southerners that my recipes were too Yankee-fied. That I had, somehow, missed some essential Southern favorites.

Fair ’nuffm bless your heart. Herewith is my list of essential recipes from the country side of the country. Just like grandma used to make.

To get in the mood, music-wise, try this or this by George Strait, or the duet here, or our own Patsy Cline here. If you don’t like the music, you prob’ly won’t like the food, either…

Turkey Giblet Stuffing

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 sack giblets from one turkey, or extra if preferred
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 8 cups dry bread cubes
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Chop giblets and cook in butter in a skillet over medium heat for two minutes. Stir in celery and onion and cook until tender, but not brown. Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Place bread crumbs in a large bowl. Toss with giblet mixture and enough broth to lightly moisten the bread. Use stuffing to stuff an 18 pound turkey, or bake separately, in a 2 quart dish, covered, 40 to 45 minutes in a 375 degree F oven.

If you REALLY want to go country, remember that oysters used to be considered a poor man’s food, and was a high-country food, until it was “discovered” by the Yankees. Go ahead and substitute a dozen oysters for the giblets.

Mashed Potatoes

Seriously. You need instructions to boil potatoes then mash them? Okay, go buy two boxes of…oh, never mind y’all.  Betty Crocker will help you here.  Or for a better experience, just follow this recipe:

  • 2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 5 pounds russet or Yukon gold potatoes
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • Or 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 4-quart baking dish. Peel and cut the potatoes into 1″ chunks. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Salt generously. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a large colander. Place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape before adding in all the other ingredients. Turn off the heat and add 2 sticks butter, the cream cheese or sour cream, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Mash to combine. Spread the potatoes in the 4-quart baking dish. Throw pats of the remaining butter onto the top of the potatoes and bake until the butter is melted and the potatoes are warmed through, 20 to 30 minutes.

Southern Fried Cabbage

  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped and fried
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, divided
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large head of cabbage, chopped in 1″ squares
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • Dash dried red pepper flakes, optional

Chop the bacon and cook until the fat is rendered. Add 2 tTbs of the butter and the onion and saute about 4 minutes. Add 3 Tbs of apple cider vinegar to the bottom of the skillet to deglaze the browned bits in the bottom. Add half the cabbage, salt, and pepper. Add the remaining cabbage, stir, reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes, or until cabbage reaches the desired consistency. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the red pepper flakes if preferred. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

Home-Made Cranberry Sauce

This version leaves in the berries. If you can’t deal with berries, go buy the canned stuff.   Just say’in.

  • 1 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest of one orange
  • Juice of one orange (well, the same one you vested, above)
  • Salt and pepper, if you like

Empty the cranberries into a saucepan. Add sugar, orange zest and juice to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add additional sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate and then serve.

Sweet Potato Pie

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, baked until soft, skinned and mashed
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 unbaked pie crust

In a medium bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Add evaporated milk and stir mixture into sweet potatoes. Beat together with mixer until smooth and pour into an unbaked pie shell. Bake on bottom rack of oven for 1 hour or until center of pie is firm. Serve warm. Add dollop of whipped cream if desired.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

  • 4 strips thick-cut bacon
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, cleaned and cut in half
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. In same pan with bacon fat, add butter and then the onions and Brussels sprouts. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sprouts are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to taste, then add bacon back into pan.

Country Green Beans

Country people in general do not eat the “green bean casserole” that Yankees grew up on. For that recipe, see http://www.campbellskitchen.com/recipes/green-bean-casserole-27303?fm=internal_search. Or for a more sophisticated version, the recipe at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/not-your-mamas-green-bean-casserole-recipe/index.html.

Most country folk grew up on this:

  • 20 slices bacon, chopped
  • 3 cans (14.5 oz.) whole green beans–do not drain liquid
  • 1/4 of a medium sized onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 4 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

In a two quart sauce pan on medium heat, cook bacon until lightly brown but not crisp. When bacon has browned, add green beans and liquid. Add salt, sugar, pepper and vinegar, mixing well. Place onion on top of green beans; cover with a lid and bring to a light boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer beans for 45 minutes. Cooking the green beans for hours on a very low simmer will blend the flavors — but add water if needed to keep beans from drying out. As an option, you may add small, peeled potatoes or turnip cut in small cubes to the green beans, and cook them covered on low until tender.

Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 stick butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 can Cheddar Cheese soup
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of salted water until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan, mix butter, Worcestershire and 2 cups cheese, stirring until the cheese melts. Add drained macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 9×13″ pan. Sprinkle last cup of cheese on top. Bake at 350 F degrees for 45 minutes.

Roasted Winter Vegetables

  • 12 cups vegetables (potatoes, onions, parsnips, turnips, sweet peppers, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, pumpkin, celery, or carrots), sliced into 1″ cubes
  • 5 oz. Olive oil
  • ¼ stick butter
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Put sliced vegetables in 9×13″ dish. Cover with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Bake at 350F for 1 hour. Take from oven, slice in butter, stir to coat. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Broccoli Salad

  • 2 heads broccoli, trimmed into small florets
  • 12 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 lb shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place broccoli in a large bowl. Add the crumbled bacon, onion, raisins and cheese. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, stirring well. Add to broccoli mixture and toss gently. Chill thoroughly. A more ambitious version adds sliced cherry tomatoes, slivered red and green peppers, green olives, carrot slivers and even almonds to the blend. Another uses ranch dressing instead of mayonnaise.

Cooked Okra

If you are not from Louisiana and making gumbo, why on earth would you want to prepare this? It is slimy, disgusting, and flavored obnoxiously. This may be just my Yankee side expressing an opinion.


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