Of Sunday Suppers, Slow Cookers, and Dedications

First things first. I know we don’t all have the same DNA for food memories. The best thing you’ve ever eaten might be what you ate yesterday. For me, I’ll reach a little farther back. Decades back. Back to the tiny kitchen on Peach Drive belonging to one of my grandmothers. She always cooked soul-warming Sunday suppers and never, ever ran out of food - no matter how many extra invitations were casually extended during the day. She was a mere 5 foot tall on her tallest days, and she was a powerhouse at the stove.

While her cooking was straight out country cooking, complete with iron skillets in every size, I believe she would have embraced the convenience of the slow cooker, if she’d had room in her kitchen to store it when it wasn’t in use. How she ever put together the feasts she made, I really never grasped. Her kitchen choreography was art in motion. She served one or two meats, with sometimes 3, 4, even 5 side dishes - a true groaning board of offerings.

Chicken was almost always one of the meats and when it wasn’t fried, it was often slow-cooked in a skillet or dutch oven with potatoes or rice. This chicken dish reminds me of her cooking -full and flavorful, and slow cooked for tender goodness.

I dedicated my upcoming book to my grandmothers “Lorraine (Nana), who taught me all the Southern manners and proper hostess etiquette I would ever need to know, and Claudia (Nana Stuffie), who taught me all that really matters is platters of great food and an extra place at the table.” I think they’d both like this recipe.

Rosemary-Garlic Chicken Quarters
Serves 6 - 8 (Hands-on 25 min; Total 4 hours, 25 min)

3 carrots or celery ribs
5 pounds chicken leg quarters
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
12 garlic cloves, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 pounds fingerling Yukon gold potatoes, halved lengthwise

1. Place carrots in a single layer in a 5-quart slow cooker.

2. Remove skin from chicken. Stir together rosemary, paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub mixture over chicken.

3. Sauté garlic in 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat 1 minute, or until browned. Transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon; reserve oil in skillet. Cook half of chicken in reserved oil in skillet 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until deep golden brown. Transfer to slow cooker, reserving drippings in skillet. Repeat with remaining chicken.

4. Add broth and garlic to reserved drippings in skillet and cook 1 minute., stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet; pour over chicken in slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 2 hours.

5. Toss potatoes with 1 teaspoon oil and remaining salt and pepper; add to slow cooker. Cover and cook 2 more hours.

6. Transfer chicken and potatoes to a serving dish and pour juices from slow cooker through a mesh strainer into a bowl. Serve immediately with chicken and potatoes.

©Sunday Suppers: Simple, Delicious Menus for Family Gatherings by Cynthia Graubart (Oxmoor House, November 2017)

Welcome "Daytime" Viewers! Stephanie's Picnic Tenders

Stephanie Delaney was my neighbor last summer when I was in Maine. She was stretching her culinary wings, and I was the lucky recipient of her many triumphs. When she shared this fried boneless chicken, I knew I had to have the recipe. Although it’s delicious hot, this is the perfect fried chicken to tote for a picnic because the taste of the seasoning still remains after chilling. Fried chicken aficionados, including John T. Edge, author of Fried Chicken: An American Story, claim that in order to call chicken fried, it must have a bone, and I had agreed. Until I tasted Stephanie’s.

Makes 6 servings

2 pounds chicken breast tenderloins

1 quart buttermilk

2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups panko bread crumbs

1 1⁄2 tablespoons Lawry’s seasoning salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons Grill Masters Montreal Chicken Seasoning

2 large eggs

Canola or other oil for frying

Pat the chicken dry and place it in a large resealable plastic bag. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Reserve the remaining buttermilk.

When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it come to near room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients. Fit two rimmed baking sheets with wire racks and set aside. Stir the flour, bread crumbs, and seasonings together in a large bowl. Place 3⁄4 cup of the mixture in a large plate and place the remainder in a large plastic bag. Lightly beat the egg and the remaining buttermilk together in a medium bowl.

Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess, then dip in the egg mixture. Place half of the chicken in the bag with the flour mixture and shake to cover evenly. Remove the chicken with tongs, shaking off any excess flour mixture, to the prepared rack. Repeat with remaining chicken. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Fill a heavy skillet or Dutch oven with oil to a depth of 1–1 1⁄2 inches and heat it to 325°. Fry the breasts, two at a time, very gently turning with tongs, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165° on an instant-read thermometer. As the chicken is cooked, remove it to the second prepared rack. Serve hot or leave to cool, then refrigerate loosely covered with wax paper. Keep it cold until serving.

 

Jerry Penacoli and Cyndi Edwards loved them!

Jerry Penacoli and Cyndi Edwards loved them!

Red and Golden Beet Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

My love affair with beets came relatively late in life. I'm only sorry I didn't know their tender texture and subtle sweetness much sooner. If you have someone in your life is still on the fence about beets, this may be the recipe that will help them turn the corner! 

To roast the beets, cut off stem end and wrap individually in aluminum foil. Roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 1 hour, or until beets are fork-tender. When cool, slip off the outer peel (I use disposable gloves for this - beet juice stains everything it comes into contact with!).

3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped herbs, such as marjoram, thyme, or basil
4 medium roasted beets preferably multicolored, peeled
1/4 – 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped chives or green onion ends, for serving

Allow beets to cool after roasting. Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and sugar in a small bowl. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the oil and continue whisking until the dressing is emulsified. Whisk in the herbs. Slice, quarter, or grate the beets, depending on size. Sprinkle with goat cheese. Pour dressing over beets. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with chives before serving. Refrigerate if serving cold, then top with chives for serving.

Red and Golden Beet Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

Red and Golden Beet Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

It's-Not-Really-Fall Chicken Salad

Welcome Columbia, SC viewers!

The calendar may say fall, but in Georgia we are still sweltering! Bring on the no-cook supper!

3 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1⁄2 small onion, minced
1⁄2 chopped walnuts or pecans or slivered almonds
1 1⁄2 cups seedless red or green grapes, cut in half
3/4 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme or tarragon
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Toss the chicken, celery, onion, nuts, and grapes in a large bowl.

Stir together the mayonnaise and sour cream or yogurt in a small bowl and mix into the chicken mixture. If it’s too dry, add additional mayonnaise as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on lettuce leaves, sandwich bread, or rolls.

Grilled Jamaican Jerk Chicken Breasts

Welcome Atlanta & Co. Viewers!

Makes 4 - 6 Servings

            Marinating the chicken at least 6 hours or overnight infuses the chicken with quintessential Jamaican flavor. The Scotch bonnet pepper is traditional, but substitute with one you know. If you are a little heat-averse, use just a small portion of the pepper. I like to serve this with rice, and sliced fresh mango, to cool the palate from the jerk seasonings.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons white or cider vinegar
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 Scotch Bonnet pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon canola oil

Flatten chicken breasts evenly to 1/2-inch thick between sheets of wax paper and move to a large resealable plastic bag.

Add soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, Scotch Bonnet pepper, ginger, and oil in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine and chop pepper fine. Pour over chicken, seal bag, and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, prepare grill to medium-high heat on one half of the grill and low on the other half. Place marinated chicken down on hot side of grill. Grill 4–5 minutes on each side over the direct heat, basting once during that cooking time. Discard the marinade. Move the chicken to the cooler side and continue to grill until the thickest part of the breast reaches 165°. Serve hot.

©2016 by Cynthia Graubart. Published in Chicken: A Savor the South Cookbook from UNC Press.

Watermelon, Blueberry, and Feta Salad

This salad is summer on a plate for me. The red, white, and blue brightens any summer meal. Sometimes I omit the dressing and greens and drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over just the watermelon, blueberries, and feta.

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons red or sherry wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh herbs to taste, such as chopped fresh basil, thyme, or rosemary
2 cups arugula, mâche, or baby spinach
2 cups watermelon, cut in sticks or cubes
1 pint fresh blueberries
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled or grated

Watermelon, Blueberry, and Feta Salad

Watermelon, Blueberry, and Feta Salad

Whisk the mustard and honey with the vinegar in a small bowl. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and continue whisking until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add fresh herbs from the garden if available. Toss to coat the greens with the dressing (reserve any extra dressing) and divide onto 4 to 6 serving plates with the watermelon, blueberries, and feta. If using for a cookout, assemble salad ingredients together in a large serving bowl and dress just before serving. Pass extra dressing, if desired.

To download and print this recipe, click here.