I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Country Ham Stuffed Eggs

Anytime you pair a classic Southern ingredient with a classic Southern dish its bound to be a wonderful thing. And for me, these are too longtime family favorites, so I earned some extra bonus points. As I’ve said before, in my family we always call them stuffed eggs, not devilled eggs, because devilled smacks of spicy and mama don’t do spicy. Also, I love pulling out my egg trays and putting them to good use.

Salty country ham and creamy egg yolks are a beautiful combination, and I love a edge from shallot, without overpowering the little kick from mustard. I used a thick cut slice of ham for the filling to give it some nice body, but had the deli counter thinly slice a little (prosciutto style) to curl on top of each egg as a nice garnish and additional zing of salty ham. This is a great way to use up a little leftover country ham to make a whole new dish, but don’t be afraid to serve these with more ham. They would look gorgeous on a platter surrounding a whole ham or the piled up slices.

Country Ham Stuffed Eggs
Yields 24
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Ingredients
  1. 12 eggs
  2. 1 shallot bulb
  3. ¼ cup loosely Italian parsley leaves
  4. 3 ounces country ham center slices
  5. 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  6. ½ teaspoon regular mustard powder
  7. dash of hot sauce
  8. lots of freshly ground black pepper
  9. 1/3 cup mayonnaise
Instructions
  1. Place the eggs in a large pan and cover with water by about an inch. Place over high heat and when the water comes to a boil, cook the eggs for seven minutes. Fill a bowl with ice and cold water and set in the sink. When the seven minutes are up, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon to the ice water. Leave to cool for 45 minutes.
  2. When the eggs are cooled, roll them on the counter to crack the shells all over and peel. Rinse with cool water to remove any stray shell pieces and pat dry.
  3. Cut the shallot into chunks and drop into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to break up the shallot, then add the parsley and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Drop in the country ham and pulse until everything is finely chopped. You don’t want a puree, just a rough chop.
  4. Cut the eggs in half (wipe your knife on a paper towel before each egg so yolk doesn’t get on the white) and gently scoop the yolks into the bowl of the food processor. Place the empty whites on a tray or stuffed egg plate.
  5. Add the Dijon mustard, the mustard powder, hot sauce and pepper and pulse to break up the yolks. Add the mayonnaise and blend until everything is combined, but there should still be some texture from the ham and shallots – don’t go overboard and make it completely smooth. You can add a little more mayonnaise if needed. Taste and add salt if you want, but the ham is usually enough.
  6. Fill the center indentions of the whites with the filling. Cover and refrigerate the eggs. To avoid plastic wrap touching your beautifully filled eggs, store these in a 9 x 13 storage container with a snap on top or a deep baking dish covered with plastic or foil. These are best made the day you are serving, but can be made a day before and kept covered in the fridge.
Notes
  1. I like to use a very small cookie scoop to fill the whites, then go back with lightly damp fingers to press the filling in and smooth the tops.
The Runaway Spoon http://therunawayspoon.com/blog/
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Fresh Strawberry Iced Tea

Fresh Strawberry Iced Tea

Fresh Strawberry Iced Tea

Strawberry season is in full swing and I am incorporating them into as many delivery systems as I can. With baskets and baskets of berries in my house and family coming over for lunch, I decided to veer from my normal sweet tea punch and put the berries to good use.

This flavored teas is miles and miles from any packaged product packed with “real fruit flavor.” The fresh berry taste shines through with just enough sweetness to highlight it. Sure, this takes a little more work than pouring water over tea bags, but the reward is well worth it. My whole family loved it (maybe more than the actual lunch). And with a fresh berry and mint garnish, its pretty to boot.

Fresh Strawberry Iced Tea
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Ingredients
  1. 12 ounces strawberries, hulled
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  4. 3 -4 stems of mint
  5. 4 family size tea bags
Instructions
  1. Puree the strawberries in a blender, then strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. You should end up with about 1 cup of strawberry juice. Add water to make two cups, then pour it into a saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice. Stir well, then bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. As soon as it reaches a boil, remove from the heat, stir in the mint and leave to cool.
  2. Place the tea bags in a 1 gallon jar or pitcher. Pour over 7 cups of boiling water and leave to steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and leave to cool slightly.
  3. Pour the strawberry syrup back into the tea through the strainer to remove the mint leaves and stir well. Add 4 cups of cool water.
  4. Garnish with sliced strawberries and mint leaves and serve over ice.
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Hummingbird Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling and Pineapple Cream Cheese Glaze

I love a traditional Southern cake, but my ability to successfully make beautiful layered creations is limited at best. So I am always looking for ways to reimagine the classic layer cakes in Bundt, loaf or sheet form. I can’t make a tall caramel cake or a lusciously frosted red velvet, so I developed cheats that offer all the deliciousness without the wonky, lopsided, collapsing layers I usually end up with.

One of my favorite Southern cakes is the Hummingbird, moist with pineapple and banana and lightly spiced. I’ve converted this cake to a Bundt version, I’d say reconstructing rather than deconstructing the classic. Instead of the layers of billowing cream cheese frosting on a the traditional cake, I fulfill the cream cheese requirement with a cream cheese and pecan filling and cover the cake with a pineapple-boosted glaze. I love the added sweetness of diced sweetened dried pineapple sprinkled on top, plus it makes the finished product pretty.

Hummingbird Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling and Pineapple Cream Cheese Glaze
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. For the Filling
  2. 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  3. ½ cup granulated sugar
  4. 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  5. 1 egg
  6. ½ teaspoon vanilla
  7. ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  8. ½ cup chopped pecans
  9. For the Cake
  10. 3 bananas
  11. 4 eggs
  12. 1 cup canola oil
  13. 2 cups granulated sugar
  14. 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
  15. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  16. 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  17. 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  18. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  19. ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  20. ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  21. ½ cup chopped pecans
  22. For the Glaze
  23. 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  24. 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  25. 3 – 4 Tablespoons pineapple juice
  26. dried sweetened pineapple pieces
  27. chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 12 cup Bundt pan thoroughly with baking spray such as Baker’s Joy.
  2. For the filling
  3. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg, vanilla and cinnamon together in the small bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Add the pecans and beat until thoroughly combined. Set the filling aside while you make the batter.
  4. For the Batter
  5. Thinly slice the bananas and add to the large bowl of stand mixer and add the eggs. Turn the mixer on medium low and add the oil and sugar and beat until smooth. Add the pineapple and vanilla and keep beating until the mixture is smooth. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and beat until the batter is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Using a large spoon, dollop the cream cheese filling in a ring in the center of the batter. Try your best to keep it in the center of the batter. Cover the filling evenly with the remaining batter. Bake the cake for 50 minutes to an hour, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cover the top of the cake loosely with foil if it starts to brown too much. Cool the cake completely in the pan set on a wire rack, then turn it out onto the rack. Place a piece of waxed paper or foil under the rack to catch drips when you glaze the cake.
For the Glaze
  1. Beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in the small bowl of a mixer until smooth. Drizzle in the pineapple juice, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until you have a thick, spoonable glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake, pushing some of it drip down the sides. Garnish the top with the dried pineapple and chopped pecans.
Notes
  1. My stand mixer came with two bowls. I use the small bowl to make the filling, rinse and dry it and use it to make the glaze. I use the larger bowl to make the batter. If you don’t have two bowls, make the filling in the bowl, then scrape it into another bowl, clean the mixer bowl and proceed.
  2. If you don’t want to buy a big bottle of pineapple juice, look in the Latin section of the grocery for individual cans of pineapple nectar. Use the remainder to make a sweet tea punch, a great accompaniment to a slice of Hummingbird!
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Old Fashioned Chicken Salad with Cooked Dressing

Old Fashioned Chicken Salad with Cooked Dressing

I am a late in life lover of chicken salad. As a child, I had an aversion to this type of mixed up dish coated in dressing – I felt they were primarily tools my mom used to hide things I didn’t want to eat. I was always concerned that chicken salad or casseroles were stealthy ways to get me to eat my vegetables. But I got over that as an adult, in part because I reached a stage in life where you simply couldn’t stomp your feet and refuse to eat something and still be accepted in polite society. And then I realized how very good a well-made chicken salad truly is. So, all those years, my chicken salad – loving mother was right.

Over the years, I have created Lemon Dill Chicken Salad to appeal to my mother and a fall appropriate Maple Mustard version. I have made chicken salads with Moroccan flavors and with an Asian flair. These are dressed primarily with mayonnaise with additions of buttermilk and yogurt. But over the years, as I have perused my ever-growing collection of community cookbooks, I kept running across recipes for “Cooked Dressing for Chicken Salad.” Rarely is there an actual recipe for chicken salad, just the dressing, but after seeing do many recipes, I had to give it a try. And I am glad I did. The dressing is creamy and tangy with a sweet-and-sour edge from the sugar and vinegar. I kept the recipe simple here, with crunchy celery and almonds and a nice herbal note from parsley, but this salad will absolutely work with a variety of additions, so get creative. By the way, my mom loves this version.

Old Fashioned Chicken Salad with Cooked Dressing
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 3 chicken breasts
  2. 1 cup chicken broth
  3. 1 lemon
  4. 3 celery stalks
  5. 1 bay leaf
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 2/3 cup sugar
  8. 2 Tablespoons flour
  9. ½ cup white wine vinegar
  10. ½ cup water
  11. ½ teaspoon salt
  12. 2 Tablespoons butter
  13. ½ cup slivered almonds
  14. 3 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken breasts in a large saucepan that fits the breasts in one layer and pour over the broth. Squeeze the lemon juice into the pot, then drop in the juiced skin. Break up one celery stalk and add it to the pan with the bay leaf. Add enough water to cover the chicken breasts if needed, then place over high heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through (165° internal temperature), about 10 -12 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts to a plate to cool.
  2. Make the dressing while the chicken is cooling. Beat the eggs in a medium sized saucepan, then beat in the sugar. Stir the flour into the water to make a paste, then add it to the eggs. Add the vinegar and salt and stir to fully combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the dressing thickens to the consistency of runny pudding. Pull the pot of the heat, and stir in the butter, a small piece at a time, until each piece is melted before adding the next. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Finely chop the remaining two stalks of celery and place in a large bowl. Dice the chicken into small pieces and add the bowl with the almonds and parsley and stir to combine. Spoon in the dressing a bit at a time and stir to coat the chicken until you have a consistency that suits you. You may personally not want to use all the dressing.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover and chill until ready to serve. The salad will keep for two days.
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Chicken, Cheddar and Pecan Pie

Chicken, Cheddar and Pecan PieChicken, Cheddar Pecan Pie

The British have a brilliant tradition of savory pies that hasn’t quite translated to the American menu. Sure, we have chicken pot pie and the occasional quiche, but the traditional British pies of flaky pastry double crusts filled with meat and vegetables and rich sauces aren’t too common here. And it’s a shame. Because a savory pie makes a great meal. Now, I say all of this in praise of the supper pie, not because this is a traditional British style pie. I’ve gone pretty full on Southern here. The crumb crust and topping is reminiscent of our classic cheese straws, while the hearty chicken filling is studded with pecans, green onions and cheese – a few of our favorite things.

I love this pie as a homey dinner served with a lovely salad or a cup of creamy soup, but it also makes a nice brunch dish. The pie is best served warm, but is fine a room temperature for serving on a buffet or making ahead of time.

Chicken, Cheddar and Pecan Pie
Serves 6
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For the Crust
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  3. ½ cup chopped pecans
  4. ½ teaspoon salt
  5. ¼ teaspoon paprika
  6. 6 Tablespoon vegetable oil
For the Filling
  1. 3 eggs
  2. 1 cup sour cream
  3. ½ cup chicken broth
  4. ¼ cup mayonnaise
  5. 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  6. ½ teaspoon salt
  7. ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  8. a dash of hot sauce (or more to taste)
  9. 2 cups cooked chicken breast, diced
  10. 2 green onions, finely diced
  11. ¾ cup grated cheddar cheese
  12. ¼ cup chopped pecans
  13. pecan halves for decoration
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a deep 9-inch pie plate or tart pan.
For the Crust
  1. Pulse the flour, cheese, pecans, salt and paprika together in the bowl of a food processor until well combined. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil until the mixture is sticky, with the texture of wet sand. Remove ¾ cups of the crumbs and set aside.
  2. Press the remaining crumbs over the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan to form a crust. Make sure there are no gaps. Bake the crust for 10 minutes then leave to cool.
For the filling
  1. Beat the eggs in a bowl, then whisk in the sour cream, chicken broth and mayonnaise until smooth. Add the Worcestershire, salt, pepper and hot sauce and whisk until combined. Fold in the chicken, green onions, cheese and pecans until everything is combined and well coated with the creamy mixture. Spoon the filling into the crust, making sure the chicken is distributed evenly. Sprinkle the reserved ¾ cup of crumbs evenly across the top of the filling. If you’d like, decoratively arrange some pecan halves on top of the pie.
  2. Bake the pie for 50 minutes to one hour minute until the filling is set and the top is golden. Let the pie sit for 5 – 10 minutes before slicing and serving warm.
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Old Fashioned Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

Old Fashioned Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

I’ll admit, with all the travel to share Pimento Cheese The Cookbook I did in the fall, I got a little behind on recipe planning. So I’ve had a bit of a scramble to get myself organized, get things tested and photographed and out on the blog. When I started thinking about Valentine’s Day, I racked my brain to come up with something decadent, romantic, creative and over the top. But the ideas just weren’t coming. So I stepped back and said to myself, just think of something really chocolatey. And this was the first recipe that came to mind. The starting point for this is written on piece of lined notebook paper, in a much younger version of my handwriting. I must of copied it out of a cookbook or from somebody, maybe when I was a teenager. I know it was a staple of my repertoire for awhile, but I was surprised that my mind brought it out when I needed to think of chocolate. I mean, that’s going back aways! I’ve updated the recipe a bit, streamlining it and making the frosting a touch easier to work with, but this is just plain, old fashioned good.

I made this again for friends and one immediately asked for the recipe, because it was just like something here grandmother used to make, so I knew I’d hit on the right recipe for Valentine’s. Because showing someone you care isn’t just about fancy frippery and gimmicks, it’s about good old fashioned love and kindness, and this cake just shouts that out.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Buttermilk Cake
Serves 12
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For the Cake
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 cups granulated sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. ½ teaspoon salt
  5. 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  6. 1 cup water
  7. 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  8. ½ cup buttermilk
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Frosting
  1. ¼ cup (half of a stick) of butter
  2. 4 Tablespoons buttermilk
  3. 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
  5. ½ teaspoon vanilla
For the Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9 by 13 inch glass baking dish.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the butter, water and cocoa powder in a pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. With the mixer running, pour the hot chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Add the buttermilk, then the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25- 30 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
For the frosting
  1. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, bring the butter, cocoa and buttermilk to a boil in a pan (you can use the same one used earlier). Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.
  2. Pour the warm frosting over the still warm cake, tilting the pan to cover the cake evenly, and leave to cool.
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Slow Cooker Southern Black-Eyed Peas

Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Peas

I feel very strongly about the importance of eating black-eyed peas on New Years day to ensure luck for the coming year (and greens for prosperity). But New Years Day is also not always a day I want to be slaving over the stove. Peas and greens are generally pretty hands off foods, but this has got to be the simplest recipe around for getting your dose of good luck with a nice punch of flavor. I only use the slow cooker, so no extra pots are necessary. Pre-chopped, frozen vegetables and canned tomatoes make this an even simpler prep, but the spices and cured pork add deep, rich flavor.

Start this in the morning to have for dinner, or cook it overnight for a nice lunch. Scoop it as is into generous bowls, or serve it over rice or grits. Some Cast Iron Collards served on the top would make a one bowl meal full of good things for the New Year.

Slow Cooker Southern Black-Eyed Peas
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
  2. 10 ounces frozen vegetable seasoning mix (onion, green peppers, celery)
  3. 1 piece of cured pork (about 5 ounces) – country ham shank, ham hock, smoked ham, salt pork
  4. 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  5. 4 cups chicken broth
  6. 1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  7. 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  8. ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  9. ½ teaspoon celery salt
  10. ½ teaspoon black pepper
  11. 1 jalapeno pepper
  12. 4 cloves garlic, peeled
Instructions
  1. Cut the butter into pieces and place it in the slow cooker set to high until it begins to melt. Add the vegetables and pork, cover and cook for 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the butter is melted. Add the peas, broth, 2 cups water and tomatoes and stir well. Stir in the paprikas, celery salt and pepper. Drop the whole pepper and the garlic cloves into the pot and cover.
  2. Cook the peas on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours until the peas are tender. Discard the pork and the jalapeno and serve. If using ham hock or smoked ham, you can shred the meat and stir it into the peas.
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Decadent Chocolate Bread Pudding (and variations)

Decandent Chocolate Bread Pudding

I’ve been making this bread pudding for years, when I really want to pull out the stops for a decadent, but homey, dessert. It’s another of those recipes written on card, transferred to a notebook, moved to a file folder – the victim of my many attempts to organize a lifetimes worth of shared and saved recipes. The chocolate custard soaks through the bread and the chocolate morsels add little surprises of molten chocolate. This is not a dessert for the faint of heart.

When I was making this again to test and photograph it, I was suddenly struck with great indecision. Should I make a peppermint version? Add a new sauce? I finally decided the most helpful thing to do would be to stick with the basics and share this template recipe, which is utterly delicious and perfect as it is. But I offer some seasonal variations and additional trimmings from the archives.

Decadent Chocolate Bread Pudding (and variations)
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound loaf challah bread or soft Italian bread
  2. 3 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
  3. 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
  4. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  5. ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  6. 5 large eggs
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  8. ½ cup whole milk
  9. 11.5 ounce bag milk chocolate morsels
Instructions
  1. Cut the bread into roughly 1-inch chunks and set aside.
  2. Break the chocolate into small pieces and drop it in a food processor. Heat 1 cup of the heavy cream in the microwave (about 45 seconds) or in a saucepan until just steaming. Do not boil or bubble. Process the chocolate for a few seconds to break it up, then pour over the warm cream and process until smooth. Leave to cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar, the melted butter and the vanilla to the chocolate mixture and process until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, processing until smooth between each addition. Scrape the chocolate mixture into a capacious bowl –one that will fit the bread too. Stir in the remaining 2 cups cream and ½ cup milk and stir until smooth. Add the bread cubes and the chocolate morsels to the bowl and gently stir until the bread is well coated, the morsels are evenly distributed and everything is well combined. Scrape the mixture into a greased 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, but up to six.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°. Take the baking dish out of the fridge for 10 – 15 minutes to get the chill off. Bake for 55 minutes to an hour, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Serve warm.
Notes
  1. You can serve this with ice cream, plain vanilla, salted caramel or peppermint or with whipped cream, or try it drizzled with Toffee Sauce or Bourbon Sauce.
  2. Give an autumn twist by adding 2 cups of dried cranberries, soaked in a little brandy to plump and ½ cup chopped walnuts, using just 1 cup of chocolate morsels.
  3. As the holidays approach, mix this up to make a Mint Chocolate Bread Pudding. Swap the vanilla for ½ teaspoon peppermint extract and use white chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate. Sprinkle the top with crushed peppermint candies before serving.
The Runaway Spoon http://therunawayspoon.com/blog/
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Homemade Southern Hash Brown Casserole

Homemade Southern Hashbrown Casserole

I rather hope this recipe becomes an internet sensation. Because I know I have searched and searched through websites, engines, magazines and books looking for an old-fashioned style hash brown casserole that doesn’t use canned soup. I cannot abide canned soup, so I finally took it upon myself to come up with a can-free casserole. I don’t know why I was so stymied, going without the soup is pretty darn easy. Okay, maybe I stretch the word homemade a bit – I do use frozen hash browns, but as long as they are nothing but potatoes, I am fine with this major timesaver.

I’ve added all the flavors that are reminiscent of southern cooking to me. Chopped green onions, lots of parsley and a hit of paprika in tribute to my grandmother’s garnishing ways, a touch of bacon, and of course pimentos and cheddar cheese. This can be made ahead and popped in the oven to be hot and ready for a family breakfast or brunch. It is rustic and homey, but I happily serve it with my most elegant silver on a holiday table. And sure, it’s great for dinner, too.

The casserole is adapatable too. You could sprinkle some cheese over the top before baking, though I think that leaves an unappealing crust. Swap out the pimentos for green chiles and use Monterrey jack cheese. Leave out the bacon or use ham instead – or country ham.

Homemade Southern Hash Brown Casserole
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 30 ounce bag frozen, shredded hash browns, thawed (potato only)
  2. 2 Tablespoons butter
  3. 3 Tablespoons flour
  4. ½ cup whole milk
  5. ½ cup chicken broth
  6. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  7. 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  10. ½ teaspoon paprika
  11. ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  12. 8 ounces sour cream
  13. 8 – 10 green onions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
  14. 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  15. 1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos, rinsed and well drained
  16. 6 strips bacon, cooked and finely chopped
  17. 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Drain the potatoes fully in a colander.
  2. Melt the butter over medium high heat in a saucepan. Add the flour and stir until combined and you have a thick paste. Whisk in the milk and chicken broth and cook until smooth and bubbling and any floury taste is gone. Whisk in the mustard, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, paprika and nutmeg. Set aside to cool.
  3. Toss the thawed potatoes with the green onions, parsley, pimentos, bacon and cheese together in a large bowl until well mixed. Stir the sour cream into the cooled sauce base. The sauce base will be thick, just keep stirring until it is smooth and combined and add to the potatoes. Stir until everything is combined and evenly distributed. Spoon the hash browns into a well-greased 9 by 13 inch baking dish.
  4. At this point, the dish can be covered and refrigerated 8 hours or overnight. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350° and bake, covered with foil, until heated through and bubbly, about an hour.
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Maple Apple Biscuits with Whipped Maple Butter

Maple Apple Biscuits with Whipped Maple Butter

I’ve been focusing this month on simple comfort foods; food to share with family and friends that are simple and delicious. And nothing is more comforting to me than a homemade biscuit. So in the fall, I like to pair up the best of the season’s apples with a little sweet maple syrup to make a perfectly appropriate treat for breakfast, brunch or a snack.

These biscuits have just a hint of sweetness, so they pair well with the sweet maple butter. Any sweet spread would be lovely from homemade apple butter to a drizzle of honey. Take them more to the savory side with plain butter, or use them for ham biscuits with a little swipe of mustard.

Maple Apple Biscuits with Whipped Maple Butter
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups soft wheat flour (such as White Lily)
  2. 3 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 3 teaspoons sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon
  4. ½ teaspoon salt
  5. ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, plus ¼ teaspoon
  6. ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, divided
  7. ¼ cup milk
  8. 1 egg
  9. 2 Tablespoons grade B amber maple syrup
  10. 1 medium apple
For the Maple Butter
  1. ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  2. 2 Tablespoons grade B amber maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Grease a small baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, 3 teaspoons sugar, salt and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon together with a fork in a large bowl. Cut 6 Tablespoons of the butter into small cubes and add it to the flour. Toss the butter to coat it with the flour, then use two knifes or your good clean hands to rub the butter into the flour until it looks like coarse meal.
  3. Measure the milk into a jug then add the egg and maple syrup. Beat with a fork until well combined. Add to the flour and butter and still with a fork until the dough is just coming together. Peel the apple, remove the core and cut it into very small pieces. Drop the pieces into the bowl and use your clean hands to lightly knead the dough until the flour is all incorporated and the apples are distributed evenly. (peeling and chopping the apples right before adding them prevents browning.)
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat it out into a rectangle about 4 by 8 inches. Press any stray apple pieces into the dough. Flour a knife or bench scraper and cut the dough into eight squares. Carefully transfer the biscuits to the greased baking sheet.
  5. Melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter in a small saucepan or the microwave. Stir in the 1 Tablespoon sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon until you have a thick paste. The sugar will not dissolve completely. Brush the butter mixture over the tops of the biscuits using a pastry brush. Make sure you get some sugar on the biscuits. Coat the biscuits well, but you may not use all the topping.
  6. Bake the biscuits until risen and golden on the edges, 8 – 12 minutes, watching closely.
  7. For the Maple Butter
  8. Whip the softened butter and maple syrup together with an electric mixer until completely combined and smooth. Scrape into a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
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