Crowd-Control Sloppy Mikes


Here’s a larger, crowd-pleasing version of my southwest winning Sloppy Joe recipe, made with five pounds of ground chuck. This recipe will serve 4-6 sandwiches per pound. I’ve tweaked the recipe to include a few ingredients I had on hand for a social get-together at work this week.  Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

5 pounds lean ground chuck
5 10.75 oz. cans tomato soup
4 full cans hot water (use one of the soup cans for this purpose)
2 large Spanish onions, peeled and diced
4 ribs celery, with greens, diced
2 dashes Worchestershire sauce, (about 1 tbs.)
1/2 heaping cup of chili sauce
2 tsp. salt, to taste
4 tsp. garlic powder (not salt!)
4 tsp. whole cumin seed, toasted, then ground by hand in a mortar
2 tbs. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. ground dry mustard
1 tsp. ground Mexican oregano
2 tsp. dry basil

6 tbs. ground pure chili powder comprised of:
-1 tbs. medium-hot Chimayo chili
-2 tbs. Ancho chili
-3 tbs. smoked paprika

1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 large sweet red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced

 

Preparation:

Dice the onion, bell pepper and celery and set aside. Using two large heavy skillets (preferrably cast-iron) brown the ground beef in batches until no longer pink, over medium-high heat. Drain of fat and place back in the pans with the onion and celery. Reduce heat to medium and saute for 5-7 minutes, until the onions and celery are softened. Remove and place in a six-quart Nesco covered roaster with the tomato soup and water. Stir to incorporate and keep covered over medium heat.

Add the Worchester sauce, chili sauce and dry spices. Mix well. Bring to a rolling boil and let simmer for two to three hours until reduced and thickened. Stir occasionally. Add the red bell pepper during the last hour. Reduce heat and cover until ready to serve.

Serve on buns with pickle chips and sliced Colby cheese.

 

Serves 20-25 individual sandwiches with plenty of second helpings.

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Country Buttermilk Biscuits


This is a great recipe for southern-style country buttermilk biscuits. I’ve had great success using my Breville Sous Chef food processor. The buttermilk makes for richer, more flavorful biscuits.

 

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the countertop work surface
1⁄4 tsp. baking soda
1 tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. white sugar
1 tsp. table salt
6 tbs. cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk (more if needed)
1/4 cup melted butter

Softened real butter for serving

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 450°F. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the work bowl of a food processor.
Cut the butter into small squares and add to the bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut into the flour until it looks like coarse crumbs.
If using a food processor, use the pulse feature so you don’t overwork it. It will only take a few seconds. Add the buttermilk and mix until just combined. DO NOT overwork.
If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk. The consistency should be wet.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Using your hands, gently pat down until the dough is 1/2″ thick. DO NOT use a rolling pin or your biscuits will not rise as high, and be dense. Fold the dough about 5 times, and gently press the dough down to 1″ thick. Use a round cutter to cut into ten rounds. The folding will produce a flaky, layered texture.
You can gently knead the scraps together and make a couple more, but they will not be as fluffy as the first ones.

Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet leaving about 1″ of space between each. The biscuits will rise higher if they are touching. Brush each with a bit of melted butter.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes (default to 10 minutes to ensure they don’t overcook.) When done, they will be a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom.
Do not over bake.

Serve with softened real butter.

 

Makes 10-12 biscuits

Eula Mae’s Maque Choux (Stewed Corn and Tomatoes)


A classic, Acadian French-Indian inspired side dish from Louisiana.

Ingredients:

2 tbs. butter
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup seeded and chopped green bell pepper
4 cups kernel corn (canned, fresh or frozen, but thawed)
1 medium-sized tomato, peeled and chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Tabasco® hot pepper sauce

Directions:

Melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often until soft – about five minutes.

Add the corn, tomato, salt and pepper sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, until the corn is tender, about 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Note: the traditional method uses rendered bacon fat instead of butter.

Recipe courtesy Tabasco.com

Fried Green Tomatoes


Fried Green Tomatoes | Culinary Compost Recipes
Tart and crisp – these wonderful fried green tomatoes make the perfect side dish for an end-of-summer dinner. It’s a great Southern recipe for using garden tomatoes that drop before they’re ripe.

Serve with Ranch or Bleu Cheese dressing and Tabasco® sauce on the side.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. finely-ground black pepper
3 firm green tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ thick.
1 cup crushed saltine crackers
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil for frying

Bleu cheese or ranch dressing
Tabasco® sauce

 

Directions:

Wash and core the tomatoes. Slice in 1/2″ thick rings. Set aside on paper towel to draw the excess moisture out. This will ensure that the batter sticks.

In a small bowl or plastic shaker bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Crush the saltine crackers very fine by either using a mortar and pestle, or by placing them in a plastic food storage bag and hitting them with a rolling pin.
Place the crackers aside.
Beat the eggs and place in a third bowl.

Heat a medium-sized cast-iron skillet over moderate heat and place the cooking oil in the pan. Heat to 375-degrees F. When ready, a drop of water should sizzle on contact.

Dip the tomato slices in the egg, then the flour mixture, then the egg again, and finally in the cracker crumbs.

Fry in the pan until golden brown on each side; about two to three minutes per side. Turn them carefully so the batter doesn’t flake off.  Remove and drain on paper towel.

Serve hot with your choice of dressing and Tabasco sauce on the side.

 

Note: If the batter fails to evenly stick to the surface, simply re-dredge in egg, and again in the cracker crumbs.

Blackened Catfish


Authentic Louisiana Blackened Catfish

Traditional Louisiana-style blackened catfish seared
on an outdoor grill in a cast-iron skillet

This authentic recipe is taken directly from a restaurant in New Orleans. The seasoning is quite hot, so you may want to experiment with the cayenne powder the first time. A good, heavy cast-iron skillet is a must with this recipe. The high temperatures required for the blackening process will warp or burn the nonstick coating off of most other pans.

The process puts off a lot of smoke, so open up your windows and turn on the exhaust fan! I’ve also had great success cooking this on my outdoor charcoal grill.

The aroma is quite pungent, but ohhh so good!

Ingredients:

Click here for the Rub.

One or two fresh catfish fillets, pressed flat
Milk, buttermilk or olive oil
Butter for searing
Fresh lemon
Scallion for garnish

Preparation:

Mix the dry rub ingredients well and store in an airtight jar in your fridge or cupboard. Will keep for up to one year. This recipe uses only a couple tablespoons for dusting, so you will have plenty leftover for next time.

Make sure the catfish fillets are washed and patted dry. Press them flat with a heavy spatula. This will ensure more even cooking.

Dip each fillet in milk, buttermilk or olive oil. Shake off the excess and put in a plastic bag with about two tbs of dry rub. Shake evenly to coat.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet to medium-high. Put a pat of butter in skillet and sear each fillet for about 2-3 minutes per side until blackened. Depending on the thickness of the fish, actual time will vary. TURN ONLY ONCE OR YOU WILL PULL THE COATING OFF. Check the thickest part of the fish for doneness; it should flake easily with a fork and the juices should run clear.

Remove immediately and serve with lemon wedges and chopped scallion for garnish.

Red Beans and Rice


This is an easy version of Red Beans & Rice that goes well with a number of main dishes like ribs, chicken and even steak. Make it as hot as you’d like. The chimayo controls the heat.

Ingredients:

2 cups long-grain uncooked rice (basmati or other variety)
1 14oz. can chicken broth
1 14oz. can stewed tomatoes (plain)
1 14oz. can red beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 lb. bacon
2 medium Spanish or white onions – coarse chopped
4 cloves garlic, mashed
1 tbs. new-mex hot chimayo powder
1 tsp. mexican oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin from toasted seed
1/2 tbs. salt (go easy on the salt)

Preparation:

Saute the onions and bacon in a large skillet until slightly browned. You may want to start the bacon first.
Place in a 5-quart cast-iron dutch oven on medium heat.

Add broth and stewed tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes on the bottom of the pot with a masher. Add spices and simmer for 15 minutes, covered.

Add beans and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add dry rice and cover. Stir once and reduce heat to absolute minimum. Cook for 15 minutes more. Fluff and serve with Tabasco on the side.

Serves 6-8.

Chicken-Fried Steak with White Gravy


From most references, the history of this recipe originated somewhere in Texas during the Depression Era. Other accounts indicate that it came from the German people who settled in the Lone Star state around 1844-50.

The first written reference to “chicken-fried steak” appeared around 1952. This is an entirely-Southern inspired dish which is very economical to prepare. Serve with mashed potatoes and grilled corn-on-the-cob. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup vegetable oil or 1/2 stick real butter
2 lb. tenderized round steak
Meat tenderizer to coat steak
1 cup all-purpose flour for dredge (reserve 3 tbs. after for gravy)
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tsp. salt (or Lawry’s seasoned salt), to taste
1 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tsp. garlic powder
4 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups milk, warmed to room temperature
1 small onion, cut in rings
Dash of Worchestershire sauce

Preparation:

Put the flour, corn starch, garlic powder, salt cayenne and black pepper in a shallow dish reserved for dredging the meat. Mix well.

Beat the four eggs and place in another shallow dish large enough to coat each side of the steaks.

Round steak by nature is a slightly tougher cut of meat. Try to buy round steak that has been run through a tenderizer by your butcher. If this is not possible, you can use a meat mallet and pound each side. If the steaks are large, cut each in half. Sprinkle both sides with meat tenderizer and set aside on a plate and allow to warm up to room temperature.

Preheat a large 12″ cast-iron skillet (please, no other skillet will produce the same results with this recipe) to medium heat and lightly spray with non-stick cooking oil.

Dredge the steaks in flour, then the egg (ensuring that they are evenly coated) then back into the flour and place in the skillet with enough vegetable oil or butter to just coat the bottom surface. Increase heat to medium high and brown each side about 4-5 minutes. Work in batches, cooking two steaks at a time. Add more butter or oil if needed. Fry the sliced onion until lightly carmelized.

If the heat is too high, the batter will come off the steaks. Turning them only once will ensure the batter sticks.

When steaks and onion are done, remove from skillet, reduce heat to medium-low and reserve in a heated covered baking dish or dutch oven placed in your oven at 275 degrees.

FOR THE WHITE GRAVY:

In the same skillet, reserve three tbs. of the pan drippings. Add three tbs. of the reserved seasoned flour and three tbs of butter. Stir with a spatula until mixed. Add the milk and a dash of worchestershire sauce.

Increase heat and bring gravy to a low simmer, stirring constantly to deglaze the skillet. Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary. When thickened, transfer the gravy to a serving dish.

When ready, spoon gravy over steak and mashed potatoes.

Serves 4-6.

NOTE: For more flavor, add a small amount of rendered bacon fat to the pan when frying the steaks. It will create a richer gravy.