Friday, 30 October 2015

SOUL IN A BOWL

Dip your spoon into these nourishing dishes, a sampler of satisfying Southern cuisine, says Nancie McDermott

Written by Nancie McDermott

Ruby Lanier’s Fresh Corn Soup (pictured above)

Serves 4-6

1½ cups fresh corn cut from the cob, or frozen white or yellow corn
1 cup finely diced red or white potatoes
½ cup thinly sliced green onions 
3 tbsp fresh thyme, or 2 tsp dried thyme
5 cups chicken stock

In a large saucepan, combine the corn, potatoes, green onions, and thyme. Add the stock and stir to mix everything together. Bring it to a boil over a mediumhigh heat, then lower the heat to maintain a gentle boil.

Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Serve hot or warm.

Virginia Brock’s Georgia-Style Brunswick Stew

Serves 12-15

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3½lb boneless pork, preferably shoulder, or country-style ribs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2lb ground beef
1lb ground turkey
1 x 28oz can whole peeled plum tomatoes, with juice
1 x 28oz can chopped tomatoes, with juice
1 x 20oz bottle hickorysmoked barbecue sauce
1 x 14½oz can cream-style corn
1 x 14½oz can whole-kernel corn, or 1½ cups frozen corn
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Tabasco
1 tbsp freshly ground pepper 
2 tsp salt
2 x 15oz cans English peas, drained, or 2 cups frozen peas

Place the pork in a large stockpot or Dutch oven (cut into chunks if need be). Cover the pork with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Skim off any foam as it rises to the top during the first 15 or 20 minutes. Then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender enough to pull apart using two forks.

When the meat is done, transfer it to a large platter and allow it to cool to room temperature. Pull it apart and chop it roughly into small pieces.

While the pork is cooking, heat a large skillet over a medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil, swirling to coat the pan. Crumble in the ground beef and turkey and cook them, turning and pressing to cook them evenly. When all the meat is cooked through, remove it from the heat and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven or a stockpot, combine the pork, beef, and turkey. Add the whole and chopped tomatoes, barbecue sauce, cream-style and whole-kernel corn, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, pepper, and salt. Place the pot over a medium heat and bring it to a lively boil, stirring often.

When the stew is bubbling hot, lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir and scrape the bottom to prevent the stew from sticking or burning.

About 5 minutes before serving time, add the peas to the stew and stir gently to mix them in evenly. Cook the stew for 5 minutes more and serve it hot.

Fred Thompson’s Carolina Seafood Muddle

Serves 8

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½lb sliced thick-cut bacon 
2½ cups chopped onions
1 tbsp chopped garlic 
3 cups chopped tomatoes, with juice
3 cups peeled, thinly sliced red potatoes
2 cups bottled clam juice
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
1 tsp dried thyme or 1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper 
1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1½lb snapper, halibut, grouper, bass, or cod, cut into 1½in chunks
1lb medium shrimps, peeled and deveined
½lb bay scallops 
8 eggs
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions 
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a Dutch oven or a large, heavy pot, cook the bacon until it is crisp and nicely browned, turning it often. Leaving the grease in the pot, transfer the bacon to a plate to cool, and then crumble or chop it into small pieces.

Heat the pot over a mediumhigh heat and add the chopped onions. Toss them and cook for 2-3 minutes until they are fragrant, shiny, and softened. Add the garlic and toss it well.

Add the tomatoes, potatoes, clam juice, vinegar, and 3 cups water and stir them together. Add the thyme, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Let the muddle come to a lively boil, and then adjust the heat to maintain a visible simmer. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring it once or twice, until the potatoes are tender.

Add the fish, placing it in a single layer on top of the vegetables. Place the shrimps all over the stew, and scatter in the bay scallops as well. Then add water as needed to just cover the fish, but not the shrimps. Cover and cook it undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, until the fish is opaque and flaky and the shrimps are bright pink.

Meanwhile, crack 4 of the eggs into small bowls. When the shrimps are pink, uncover the muddle, and gently slide the eggs in on the surface of the soup, one by one, placing them evenly around the edges of the pot. Repeat with the remaining 4 eggs, then cover and cook them for 1½ to 2 minutes. Scoop a little soup stock over the poaching eggs. Scatter the reserved bacon, green onions, and parsley over the soup. When the eggs are poached, quickly scoop them out into individual serving bowls. Ladle out the seafood muddle over the eggs, making sure each bowl gets beautiful chunks of fish, bright pink shrimps, and little scallops. Serve hot or warm.

Southern Soups & Stews, by Nancie McDermott, with photography by Leigh Beisch, is published by Chronicle Books, priced £15.99.


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