Would you believe me if I said that I have never had southern food? And by southern food, I’m not talking about its fast food counterparts since we all know that that stuff doesn’t even come close to being authentic. Well I truly hope you believe me about not ever having southern food because until this week, it was true. And yes, I’ve not only never had authentic southern food but I have also never really had its crappy counterpart.
Now as much as I would love to play the innocent little angel who just never managed to find herself eating classic southern cuisine the truth is a bit more…lazy. Yep, lazy. Why? Well, because there was just nothing about it that seemed to make me think ‘Gee, I wanna try that!’. That was until I went to college and became friends with Therese, a native of Texas. Through her and her love of food, I learned about the wonders of food from the south. Now prior to this crash course in southern yum, I knew next to nothing about southern food, in fact, I knew next to nothing about the south (besides that whole civil war thing.) I think this map sums up my general understanding of U.S geography and what I know about our fair country.
With this basic, almost childish understanding of the U.S my mind was relatively blown as I learned about how different regions of the country had their own unique flavors and dishes. I think this is the point when I became obsessed with wanting to try southern food. And this was the movie that officially made me obsessed with wanting to try gumbo or anything from New Orleans.
Adapted from In a Cajun Kitchen. Serves 8 as a soup
1 chicken (about four pounds), cut into serving sizes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups onion
1/2 cup celery
1/2 cup green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 whole bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned, undrained
2 cups warm water
2 cups raw rice
2 cups fresh or frozen green beans (substituted for okra)
Heat the oil in a large heavy pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken dry, saxon with salt and black and cayenne pepper/ Brown on all sides, removing the pieces to dish once browned
Add the flour to the oil remaining in the pot; reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir constantly for five minutes, incorporating crusty bits on the bottom into the flour
Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes. add the bay leaves, thyme, tomatoes, water and chicken and accumulated juices, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, cover for forty five minutes. (Start cooking the rice after the chicken has been cooking for about fifteen minutes).