How to make Southern peach chutney (recipe)

Summertime is Peach Time in the South. That’s time for peach cobblers, peach pies, peach ice cream and other delicious doin’s.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

A couple of years ago, I made a savory peach jam, which was a big hit with the folks I gifted it to. This chutney recipe is quite extraordinary and a bit different from your butter-and-jelly ways. You’ll love it. It also doesn’t contain any salt, for folks watching their intake.

Try this as a last-minute grill topper on pork loin, chicken or veggies. It’s also a great condiment on the side or as a savory morning toast topper. Any way you like peaches, this works “mighty fine,” as we Southerners say.

Header image by NaJina McEnany and used under a Creative Commons license.

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How to make West Indies crab meat salad (recipe)

My brother-in-law, Tommy Ratchford of Pensacola, isn’t much of a cook, but he knows a thing or two about seafood. Hearken to his “Southfacin’ Cook” recipe for perfect boiled shrimp.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

His “West Indies Salad” is a delicious, light, crisp, tart combo of vinegar-sweetened onions, brine and juicy lump crab meat. Can’t get much tastier than that!

It’s gorgeous on toasted French bread slices and even prettier in a stemmed cocktail glass as a true salad or a buffet specialty.

Easy, delicious. A great change of pace with summertime fare, too. Enjoy any time of the year, so long as the crab meat is fresh.

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How to make crawfish chowder (recipe)

Have leftover crawfish from a boil? Try this easy recipe for crawfish chowder. We Southerners smugly think “chowder” (or “chow-dah”) is something Yankees invented and shouldn’t be trotted out in kitchens south of the Mason-Dixon line. Fear not, intrepid cooks. Chowder is just a milky stew of goodness, no matter where it comes from.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

This recipe comes to me from a colleague when I worked at my alma mater, the University of Mississippi. I gotta tell you, it’s so good that you’d serve it to Prince Charles and Prince Harry, if they were lucky enough to be in your dining room.

Add a crusty loaf of French bread or steamy cornbread and butter for soaking up the juice, and you’ll be dancing! I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten from this recipe, which has become a favorite with my friends. Now, it’s yours!

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red beans

Mondays mean red beans in New Orleans

New Orleans restaurants are fairly predictable during Lent – they have red beans and rice on Mondays and a seafood special on Fridays.

photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin' Cook

photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin’ Cook

The Monday special is a long-standing practice. Mondays traditionally were laundry day in New Orleans and red beans and rice was an easy dish to put on the stove and leave. The dish is a standard offering every Monday in New Orleans restaurants.

During Lent, Catholic believers often give up meat (beef, pork, chicken, lamb, duck, etc.) on Fridays. Seafood is OK though, so restaurants offer tasty seafood dishes on Fridays. FYI – Lent starts Ash Wednesday (the day after Mardi Gras) and ends on Easter.

Want to try your hand at red beans while you knock out your laundry this weekend? Check out this recipe from our food columnist, Patsy R. Brumfield.

Since there are so many different recipes for the classic dish, here are a few more to peruse:

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How to make white chili

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

I like chili, period. But white chili is a special treat with the tang of cilantro, yogurt and a slice of lime. It’s perfect for a wintertime crowd, especially as Super Bowl Sunday approaches.

Make a big ole pot with a skillet of cornbread, or hot pita bread, and you’ve got a tummy-warming delight.

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How to make homemade chicken-vegetable soup like a real Southerner

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

Cold weather just sets my soup-cooking emotions to stirring.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

After a look into my post-Thanksgiving freezer, I realized I had a variety of frozen vegetables I’d like to do something with because I’m not going to make them individually just for myself.

That’s when “soup!” came into my mind. I’ll have some for myself and some to share with friends, which is why I make a big pot of it. It’s also great to freeze in quart-size Ziplock bags for a no-trouble supper or lunch. Just add a salad or a toasted roll and you’re in business.

My only word of advice is to refrain from adding the chicken until the soup’s almost done. Otherwise, it will cook out all its juices and taste dry, even in the midst of the broth.

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How to make a Southern Thanksgiving meal

We’ve been doing some of our favorite activities this week – cooking, eating and enjoying time with friends and family. And of course, Southern food makes everything better.

Our resident cook, Patsy R. Brumfield, has been sharing her go-to Thanksgiving dishes the past few weeks. They are:

Roasted turkey (how to brine and roast one)

Cornbread dressing

Turkey giblet gravy

‘Sweet Potato Queen’ casserole

Sour cream pound cake
Homemade mayo
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How to brine a turkey for a Thanksgiving feast

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

A few years ago, I watched food guru Alton Brown propound the virtues of brining a turkey. He explained that the salt water brine changes the turkey’s cellular structure so that it holds more moisture, while seasoning the meat.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Boy, was he right! This has been my favorite way to roast a turkey ever since, and I’ve got a least one friend who insists it saved his family holiday meal. Amen, brother.

Of course, this recipe and approach can be used with other meats, especially chicken. For example, if you’d like to roast a whole, fresh chicken, half the recipe below.

You also should change your perspective on how long to cook the bird. Buy yourself a meat thermometer and cook by the internal temps, not how long it’s been cooking. You’ll be amazed at how much more flavorful the meat will be.

Header image is from christmasstockimages.com and is used under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 unported license.

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How to make turkey giblet gravy like a real Southerner

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Gravy sometimes is overlooked during the cooking process but it is the unsung hero of holiday meals. You do it right and no one thinks about it. You do it wrong and everyone is disappointed. This smooth giblet gravy makes everything better, from the turkey to the cornbread dressing (recipe) to the mashed potatoes.

This is a recipe that was passed down from my wonderful mother, Betty. Hope you enjoy. And make sure to check out my other Thanksgiving recipes.

Header image via Angie’s Southern Kitchen and used in accordance with the Creative Common license agreement.

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How to make cornbread dressing like a real Southerner

Thanksgiving turkey isn’t complete without moist, yummy cornbread dressing. It’s taken me years to get this one right, so I’ll share my experience with you.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

First, my wonderful mother, Betty – who adored Thanksgiving and cooked for weeks in anticipation of hosting a crowd that day – died on Halloween 1999 and left me, the eldest child, to make our first holiday meal without her. I had no idea what to do. Thank goodness she left recipes, although some have taken years to get just right. (You know how cooks are about secrets.)

This is her cornbread dressing, which I like topped with a splash of smooth turkey giblet gravy (recipe). It’s also fabulous to slice thinly onto leftover turkey sandwiches with homemade mayonnaise (recipe) and a sliver of cranberry sauce (easy recipe). Goodness, my mouth waters just thinking about it.

Header image via Angie’s Southern Kitchen and used in accordance with the Creative Common license agreement.

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