Chicken-fried steak, at its worst, is an overcooked slab of tough beef coated in a greasy deep-fried coating made soggy by a gluey bland gravy. At its best, it's juicy and tender, rich with beef flavor, and coated in a crispy, crunchy shell that retains its bite even when doused with a flavorful, black pepper-spiked sauce. This recipe will get you the better of those two results.
'Southern' on Serious Eats
Tamale pie is a dish that screams for an update. I mean, it's cornbread and chili all rolled into one! This version uses tender, slow-cooked, shredded skirt steak flavored with layers and layers of aromatics and vegetables for a rich, complex, chili-based stew topped with corn bread flavored with browned butter.
Tamale pie is a dish that screams for an update. I mean, it's cornbread and chili all rolled into one! Just imagine how great it could be if we took the time to make a real, deeply flavored, meaty chili from scratch, eschewing the dump-and-stir approach and instead building up layers of spices and aromatics. Now imagine that chili topped with tender, moist, crisp-edged, buttery cornbread with those chili juices seeping up into it as it bakes in the oven. That's the kind of meal I'd love to come home to after a long day out in the cold. Wouldn't you?
Ever wonder why there isn't a chicken-fried chicken alternative to chicken-fried steak? Turns out it exists, and it's called Maryland fried chicken. Shallow fried with a simple dredging of seasoned flour until golden, then topped with a white gravy made in the skillet after frying, this is a version of fried chicken you need to know about.
The Louisiana meal of red beans and rice is typically made with pork: smoked, salted, roasted, or pickled. Those all work well in this recipe (a pound of sliced and browned andouille sausage would be our choice), but the beans also shine with smoked turkey.
Smoked turkey replaces the more traditional choice of bacon in this rendition of braised collard greens. Nice and garlicky, the greens are spiced up with red chili flakes, with a bite of acidity from cider vinegar and lemon juice. And, since the turkey's pretty lean, we finish it off with some butter to give the pleasantly bitter, tender greens the rich, mouth-coating quality that pork belly typically provides.
I love a crisp sautéed green bean or a fresh and crunchy green bean salad as much as anyone, but there's a time and a place for everything, and I'd like to make the case for tender braised green beans. Let's bust out of this al dente prison we're stuck in now, shall we?
Chef Sean Brock makes his no-flour-no-sugar cornbread with Anson Mills Antebellum Coarse Yellow Cornmeal, buttermilk for tang, and a single egg, leaving it light and corny. He also adds crisp crumbles of bacon (preferably Benton's) to the batter, as wells some of the bacon grease, to give the bread a vague and pleasant smokiness and decidedly savory edge. It's a very classic cornbread that would be as at home with a country supper as gracing the table at Husk.
This recipe for Hattie B's Hot Chicken, from Lee Brian Schrager's Fried & True: More than 50 Recipes for America's Best Fried Chicken and Sides, packs the heat and is quite possibly my favorite recipe in the book. Burnished a deep, hell-fire red with a finishing coat of cayenne-amplified oil, the bird is emphatically crunchy with juicy and flavorful meat.
For some reason, homemade flour tortillas have always intimidated me. I've made corn tortillas many times, so I'm not sure where the reluctance came from. But once I saw Lisa Fain's recipe for buttermilk and bacon-fat filled flour tortillas in her new cookbook, The Homesick Texan's Family Table, I could resist no longer.
I was one of those weird kids who always liked okra. Something about the snappy skin and pop of the seeds made me forget the slime and embrace the long, pointy vegetables. I did, of course, almost always eat okra breaded and deep fried, so maybe I just liked the salty, greasy crunch.
Coleslaw and potato salad may be more famous outside of Southern takeout counters, but carrot raisin salad is just as common at picnics and potlucks. In it, grated carrots and plump raisins are mixed with a rich mayonnaise dressing spiked with curry powder.
Southern breaded cauliflower is cheesy and creamy, with a few added spices to make things interesting. If you like, you can leave out the nutmeg and cumin, but they really do take the dish from standard to sensational.
A sweet start is interrupted by the fruity heat of jalapeños and tempered by a vinegar tang in this addictively delicious jam.
A creamy gravy flavored with ramps, perfect for biscuits or mashed potatoes.
If Yorkshire pudding, cornbread, and soufflé could all get together and have a lovechild, that child's name would be spoonbread.
Sweet and tangy with lots of crunch, this slaw is light and refreshing.
Light and tender buttery gluten-free biscuits.