Deep South Dining

Monday mornings at 9 on MPB Think Radio.

There’s more to a recipe besides add a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. Pull up a chair to Deep South Dining and get a new recipe that you can try or you can share one of your own. Having some friends over and don’t k

Deep South Dining | Giving Thanks

The countdown to Thanksgiving is winding down and final preparations are happening. Today Malcolm and Java are without their skillet buddy Carol but get a very special call-in guest to help with the show. Also, Malcolm schools Java on the particulars of a wet salad and why adding a little something extra to your traditional Thanksgiving dressing won't hurt. From pillowcase turkeys to macaroni & cheese and everything in between, the table is set for a very thankful Thanksgiving. Let's eat y'all!"The Best Sweet Potato Casserole" courtesy of Bob Yarbrough (Charlottesville, Virginia)All good Southern cooks (and even those not so good) and eaters have a favorite sweet potato casserole recipe. Below is mine and this will mark the 30th consecutive year I’ve baked it for our Thanksgiving celebration. This year I’ll make a half recipe. I’m afraid if we don’t have this dish, I’ll hear from Stacy’s attorney. For those of you who need the fluffy white things on top of your sweet potatoes, I’m sorry. This recipe is marshmallow-free.The recipe is found in a wonderful cookbook given to me as a Christmas gift by my sister and brother-in-law. It’s “A Taste of the South” by Terry Thompson and if I place the book on my kitchen table, it falls open to a sweet-potato, brown-sugar-smeared page 117. A woman named Alma Smith created this recipe. It may be prepared ahead and baked just before serving; it tastes even better the next day. Ms. Smith, I bow down before you in honor. A final note…this recipe is not for the faint of heart and there will be absolutely no attempt made to calculate the caloric and/or fat content therein.Ingredients4 large sweet potatoes (about 3 lbs. total), peeled, cooked and hot1 cup unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature (set the butter out overnight)1 cup sugar4 eggs2/3 cup evaporated milk2 teaspoons vanilla extractTopping2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar2/3 to 1 cup unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature (same thing, overnight)2/3 cup all-purpose flour2 cups chopped pecansDirectionsPreheat oven to 375F (190C).Lightly butter a deep-sided 13” x 9” baking dish; set aside.In a large bowl, mash hot potatoes thoroughly. (There are no instructions in the book on how to arrive at the hot sweet potato stage. I always bake the sweet potatoes. Just rub them down in oil, slap on a foil-lined cookie sheet and throw in a hot oven until the caramel starts oozing out. Maybe 400F for 45 minutes or so. I have heard tell of others achieving satisfactory results from peeling and boiling the potatoes.)Add butter or margarine (I have never used margarine, by the way, so I can’t testify whether it makes the recipe better, but given the option, butter damn near always trumps margarine in my kitchen), sugar, eggs, evaporated milk and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until blended and smooth (3 to 4 minutes).Spoon mixture into buttered baking dish.To Prepare ToppingIn a bowl, beat together brown sugar, butter or margarine and flour until smooth and fluffy. Fold in pecans. The original recipe calls for 2/3 of a cup of butter, but I’ve found that the whole cup works as well. What the hell, it’s Thanksgiving!Spread over potato mixture (spread isn’t exactly the best descriptor of how to get the topping on the potatoes; you have to glop and very lightly attempt to spread it on in small forkfuls. Distribute the mixture as best you can, secure in the knowledge that the topping melts together to cover any exposed potatoes.).Bake in preheated oven until set and lightly browned on top (about 35 minutes or so). Then let it cool for a bit. This puppy gets all kinds of hot.

Deep South Dining | Pumpkin Spice Countdown

The month of November starting on a Monday seems pretty charmed, as it setups the rest of the month to be all about the business of the holiday season. The countdown to Thanksgiving has begun and there are plenty of items to check off to ensure success. Also remember to give yourself plenty of grace during the holiday season and maybe a pumpkin spice latte, if that is your thing. Special guest host, Joe Sherman fills in for Malcolm White and (for a time) converts Carol Puckett into a partaker of pumpkin spice. Also during the show, we hear from one of the top Cooking and Coping posters, Tim Pierce about how he achieves such beautiful food photos. Let's eat y'all!Tim Pierce’s Mom’s Chicken and DressingChicken & Chicken Stock Ingredients1 whole chicken (Mom preferred a 5-7 pound hen)1 12” iron skillet of cornbread (about 12 cups)6 slices of stale bread, buns or biscuits (Mom kept leftover bread in the freezer just for dressing)1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped, not sautéed4 celery ribs, finely chopped,not sautéed (Mom didn’t use celery but I like it)Sage and Black Pepper (Mom did it to her taste. If Dad was home he added more which she always said, ”Daddy you’re gonna ruin the dressing”).6 +/- cups chicken broth, enough to make the dressing moist but not soupyCooked chicken breast, wing, thigh and leg, (or your favorite pieces) ,rough chopped (no skin)Chicken & Chicken Stock DirectionsPlace whole chicken and giblets in a heavy stockpot. Cover with water and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and gently simmer at least 2 hours, preferably 4. Mom did not add aromatics or herbs. (After removing the meat from the bones she did add vegetables to the bones and skin to make broth for chicken soup or chicken and dumplings).Cornbread Ingredients3 cups self-rising white cornmeal¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons bacon grease1 cup full-fat buttermilk1 cup whole milk4 eggs (Add more if you like. Mom put eggs in the cornbread, not raw eggs in the dressing)Cornbread DirectionsPreheat oven to 425°. Add bacon grease to a 12” black iron skillet and heat skillet in the oven while you’re mixing the batter.Thoroughly mix the remaining ingredients. Remove the skillet from the oven and add the hot bacon grease into the mixture leaving 2 tablespoons of grease in the skillet. Stir to combine quickly. Then pour the mixture into the hot skillet so you hear the sizzle. Return the skillet to the oven and bake 20 minutes until golden brown.For AssemblyMom used a large stainless steel mixing bowl, as do I. Crumble the cornbread into the bowl and add the bread torn into small pieces. Add in remaining ingredients until thoroughly combined. Mom used her hands and made sure there were no large pieces of bread. She was always afraid the finished product would be dry. Again, make sure it’s really moist but not soupy.Pour into 9 x 13 dish (or bigger). This makes a lot of dressing and freezes well or shares well. Bake on 350° for one hour or until golden browned. Do not overbake. You should be able to scoop it to serve; not cut it in squares.*** The dressing is equally as good meatless.