Southern Snacks Cookbook

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook

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.

Curry Biscuits with Ginger Pork Tenderloin and Mango Chutney

Ham biscuits are a staple of any brunch buffet for me, particularly at Easter. Whether it’s a whole ham on a pretty platter with a basket of biscuits on the side or a tray of pre-assembled bites, I can’t do without them. And one of my favorite classic southern party dishes is pork tenderloin with lovely rolls and a nice spread, from mustard to flavored butters (it even made it onto the cover of my last book, Southern Snacks). But sometimes I like to mix things up a bit. These biscuits are absolutely packed with flavor, and the bright sunny color makes them a real standout on a party spread at any time. The pork is marinated with a nice hit of ginger that complements the curry profile, and a dollop of mango chutney adds a bright fruitiness. These are delicious for more than brunch – try them for a Kentucky Derby party or as a pre-dinner appetizer. The bright color and punchy flavors always draws oohs and ahhs.

Make sure the green onions are very finely diced – I cut them into small rings, then run knife through them as if I am chopping herbs. I like the simplicity of this mixer method, but you can certainly do it all by hand with a basic biscuit method. Mix the flour and spices and cut in the shortening, then blend in the buttermilk. I prefer these in a square shape, because frankly its easier. The biscuit dough can be frozen on a baking sheet until firm, then stored in a ziptop bag in the freezer. Bake from frozen, adding a little cooking time if needed. You can make the pork tenderloin a day ahead and store it wrapped in the refrigerator then slice and assemble. There are lots of delicious mango chutneys available at the grocery, choose one that is not too chunky as it makes the biscuits a bit hard to eat. I serve these at room temperature to make it easy.

Curry Biscuits with Ginger Pork Tenderloin and Mango Chutney

For the Biscuits:

4 cups soft white wheat flour (Like White Lily)

2 Tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 ½ teaspoons mild curry powder

½ teaspoon turmeric

4 green onions, finely minced

½ cup shortening, cold and cut into cubes

1 ½ cups cold buttermilk

For the Pork Tenderloin:

1 pork tenderloin

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2-inch piece of ginger

½ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

To Serve:

Mango chutney

For the Biscuits:

Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the flour, baking powder, curry powder, salt and turmeric in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on low for a few seconds to blend everything, then add the finely minced green onion and turn the mixer on again just to combine. Add the cubes of shortening and run on medium low until the shortening is mixed in but with a few small BB sized pieces visible. Turn off the mixer and add about ¾ of the buttermilk then start the mixer on beat on medium low until the dough starts to come together. Add more buttermilk if needed. Knead the dough a few times in the bowl just to incorporate any flour left on the bowl.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and gently bring it all together, kneading just a few times. Handle with care and don’t overwork the dough, or the biscuits will get tough. Pat the dough into a rectangle about 6 by 10 inches, using the back of a large knife or bench scraper to square off the ends.  Flour the knife or scraper and cut the dough into 1 ½-inch squares.  Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, lightly brush the tops with a little buttermilk and sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake the biscuits for 12 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked through. Serve warm, or wrap tightly and store in an airtight container, gently reheat before serving.

You can shape the biscuits and place them on the baking sheet and freeze them until they are hard. Transfer to a ziptop freezer bag and freeze for up to a month. Bake from frozen, brushing over the buttermilk and sprinkling the salt. Add a few minutes to the baking time.

For the Pork Tenderloin:

Slice the ginger (no deed to peel) and crush it slightly with the side of the knife. Place the ginger, garlic and olive oil into large resealable plastic bag. Add pork to marinade. Close bag and turn pork to coat. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight, turning pork occasionally. 

When ready to cook the pork, preheat the oven to 425°. Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet. Scrape of any garlic and ginger pieces from the pork and season generously with salt and pepper. Brown the outside of the tenderloins on all sides.  Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook the tender to an internal temperature of 150 degrees, about 15 minutes.  Let the pork rest at least 5 minutes before thinly slicing. The pork can be cooked up to a day ahead, wrapped tightly and refrigerated.

Cut the biscuits in half, place a thin slice of pork on one side and dollop on a little mango chutney. Place the other half of the biscuit on top and serve.

Makes 18

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Leek, Lemon and Goat Cheese One Pot Pasta

Leek, Lemon and Goat Cheese One Pot Pasta

A few years ago, I started reading about “one pot pasta” recipes on the internet. I pinned a couple, and was a little curious, but didn’t jump right on the bandwagon. I’ve never really thought of boiling the pasta separately as an overburdensome task. But then I did think about dirty dishes. I do A LOT of dishes, and many of my recipes have been streamlined to dirty as few as possible, so it suddenly seemed like an idea I should explore. My first few attempts, following popular recipes, where underwhelming. After reading all the headlines and recipe titles about “super-easy” and “so simple”, I think in my mind the idea was you could just chuck everything in a pan and wait 20 minutes and voila, dinner! It is not quite as simple as that, as there is some watching the pot involved. And it turns out that what I like about the recipes I have successfully developed is not having one pot to clean or the perceived ease of the dish, but the way the flavor really does permeate the pasta. My first success was this Creamy Gorgonzola One Pot Pastathat is just full of the rich flavor of gorgonzola. I made that so much it got a little predictable. So I decided to adapt one of my favorite simple pasta dishes that I’ve been making with two pots and a bowl. Soft leeks, tangy lemon and creamy goat cheese meld for a sprightly sauce with a touch of sunshine. The lovely lemon flavor really permeates a dish in way that is difficult to achieve in a pour-over sauce.

The secret to creamy one pot pasta is to stir the pot almost constantly, particularly at the end to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot. It is a little difficult to stir when the noodles are first go in, but just make sure to keep things moving and at a low boil. Serve this pasta immediately so the sauce retains its luscious creaminess.

Leek, Lemon and Goat Cheese One Pot Pasta

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 leeks, light and white green parts only

¼ cup white wine or dry vermouth

Zest of one lemon

Juice of two lemons

4 cups chicken broth

¾ cup heavy cream

¾ pounds spaghetti, broken in half

4 ounces soft goat cheese

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ cup parmesan cheese, divided

Chives for garnish

Slice the leeks in half, then into thin half moons. Rinse well in a colander and shake some of the water off. Heat the oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven. Add the leeks and sauté until soft and glassy, then add the white. Bring to a bubble and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the leeks are very soft. Add the lemon zest, juice, broth, cream and spaghetti and bring to a low boil. Crumble in the goat cheese and season well with the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring very frequently, until the spaghetti is tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened, just coating the pasta. Stir in the parmesan cheese and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately garnished with snipped chives.

Serves 6

Cerveza Chicken Chowder

Writing a weekly blog post has its drawbacks. I love developing recipes, I spend weeks working on them, sometimes years actually. But I don’t always have an amazing story to tell. No deep childhood memory or lesson I learned on my travels. I just know it’s a good recipe and I want to share it. This is one of those recipes. I love a rich, creamy and comforting soup in the winter, chowder, cheesy filling bowls of warmth. So I knocked this up, it took a few tries to get something special (though I enjoyed every iteration). It started pretty basic, but swapping out some broth with a Mexican beer gives it a little zip. I tried different cheeses, but really liked the balance of a pre-shredded mix of Mexican cheeses, which is not usually the way I go, but it melted perfectly with a nice tang. A little hint of spice adds interest. It can be a fun interactive meal – lay out some extra cheese, lime wedges, chopped cilantro, tortilla chips, even avocado chunks or some salsa. So there you go. I hope you enjoy this hearty bowl as much as I do.

Cerveza Chicken Corn Chowder

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

3 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoon chile powder

Kosher salt

1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles

1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes

2 cups chicken stock

1 12 ounce bottle lager beer, preferably Mexican like Sol or Pacifico Clara

½ cups half and half

8 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend

2 cups frozen corn kernels

Chopped cilantro

Fresh limes

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the chicken breasts in a small baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (165°internal temperature). Shred the cooked chicken with two forks and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven and sauté the onions until they are soft and transparent and just beginning to take on some brown color. Add the garlic and cook a further minute, then sprinkle over the cumin and chili powder and a generous pinch of kosher salt and cook about 30 seconds until the spices are fragrant. Add the diced chiles, tomatoes, chicken stock and beer and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low. At this point, I like to give the soup a little whir with the immersion blender to break down the tomatoes and onions a touch, but it is not required. Measure out 1/2 cup of the cheese and set aside. Stir in the half and half and heat through. Do not boil the soup, but when it is steaming, stir in the rest of the cheese until it is melted. Add the corn and the shredded chicken and gently heat through.

Serve the top sprinkled with a little extra cheese, some chopped cilantro and a wedge of lime.

Seves 6

Festive Finds 2018

Holiday shopping season is upon us once again, and I love to share gift ideas for the food lovers in your life. As always, these are just some personal favorites – no one has asked me to promote any products or compensated me in any way.

Memphis made Jacko’s Pepper Jelly is a new obsession of mine, and the Cranberry version is absolutely perfect for the holidays. Try it over cream cheese, a wheel of brie – and it is out of hand on a leftover turkey sandwich. Everything is better with and Atlanta-based Banner Butter makes some fantastic compound butters that would make an amazing gift. Pair it with some biscuits from Callie’s Biscuits and breakfast is in the bag. These unicorn grits from Millers All Day and Geechie Boy Mill of South Carolina are delicious and a conversation piece. They make beautifully pink tinted grits naturally because of the special variety of corn.  

Build a beautiful cheeseboard for your parties or as a gift. This customized map glass board adds a personal touch. This assortment of Southern cheeses is a great sampler. I love panforte, the rich Italian fruit and nut treat and I’ve ordered from Italy over the years, but this California made version from Beaujolais Granola is delicious and beautifully packaged. Truffle Honeycomb from Regalis is a magnificent blend of Tennessee truffles and Georgia honey. Try it drizzled over fine cheese.

Izard Chocolate is made in Little rock, Arkansas and the packaging is stunning. This variety selection will impress the chocolate lover on your list. Backhouse Foods rich and decadent hot fudge sauce and praline sauce make a sweet gift.  I love pecan oil for making really unique, Southern salad dressings and this bottle from Congaree & Penn is beautiful to boot. For a truly special gift, snap a picture of your favorite recipe card have a family favorite recipe engraved on a wooden board for serving or display.

Keep a running grocery list or daily menu in style with the fun and functional hanging note roll. Glass serving pieces go with everything and look pretty on a table. This simple serving bowl is made special by a monogram. I snapped up this gorgeous round baker recently. It is perfect for roasting a chicken or making a colorful vegetable gratin – the muted colors let the beautiful food shine through. Scout’s Bagette market tote has cut down on my plastic grocery bag use immensely. They are cute, colorful and collapsible. Even the cashiers at the store comment on them! And you can add a monogram.

A good enameled cast iron pot is a kitchen workhorse, but it can be pretty too, like this version from Great Jones. I love the bright colors. For a perfect hostess gift or stocking stuffer, stock up on these beautifully packaged and creatively fragranced soaps from New Orleans’s Sweet Olive Soap Works. A notepad in the kitchen is always helpful for jotting down recipe ideas or grocery lists. These cute vegetable themed pads make a great gift. My go to gifts are homemade preserves I make during the summer. I love these cute labels from Nancy Nikko Design and use them on most of my canned gifts.

These cute printed insulated cups perfect as a quick gift or for serving hot chocolate at your holiday parties. For a more permanent gift, this insulated mug from Emily McCarthy has a fun choice of monogram options. Make sure to check out all her personalized products. Liven up the kitchen with this fun C’est Si Bon kitchen towel. For a professional, but super chic look, this patterned, check out chef’s coat from Pomegranate, one of my favorite linen brands.

And of course, I think Southern Snacks is the perfect gift for any cook in your life – or great to keep yourself in preparation for holiday parties.

 

Glazed Double Almond Bars

I’m returning to a classic here. These are neither hip or new or with some special twist, they are just a recipe I have been making for years and return to when I need a little comfort. I love the old-fashioned taste of almond paste. I don’t now why exactly I say old fashioned, there is just something reminiscent about the rich, grainy, almond-y taste to me. I have no particularly childhood memory of almond desserts, or any proof of my feeling that they somehow seem very Jane Austen-ish, or even Little House on the Prairie-ish (though I know that can’t be true). These bars just take me to a happy place.

These bars are the perfect treat when you want to move away from classic brownies or cookies for a different taste. They are so easy to make but pack a real flavor punch. As an added bonus, they will keep for several days in an airtight container, so they can be made ahead. I have even shipped these to my niece in college.

Glazed Double Almond Bars

For the Bars:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

7 ounces almond paste

2 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

For the Glaze:

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

1 ¼ teaspoon almond extract

5 – 6 Tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 300 °. Line a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with non-stick foil or parchment paper with some overhanging ends.

Beat the butter and the almond paste together in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth and creamy and well combined. Add the sugar and the eggs and beat until combined and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the flour and salt until the batter is smooth, again scraping the bowl as needed. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Use clean, damp fingers to press it out into an even layer if needed. Bake for 1 hour until firm and lightly golden and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Spread the glaze over the bars as soon as you remove them from the oven.

For the Glaze:

Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, almond extract and enough milk to make a glaze as thick as heavy cream. Pour over the warm bars and leave to cool completely.

Cut the bars into squares. The bars will keep in an airtight container for  2 days.