Southern Alabama Specialties

Recipes and folklore from the Gulf Coast. Like this favorte recipe, Garlic Shrimp Linguine, gets a nod from Creole cookery and blends new and old world flavors in making one fine dinner.

Grilling Year-round on the Gulf Coast

Life is good on the Gulf Coast as you'll find folks grilling and barbecuing all types of fine foods. Burgers, dogs, steaks, wings, ribs, pork, chicken, beef, seafood, gator, heck ... if it lives around here, we eat it!

Cake Making in the South

A real classic ~ Lemon Pound Cake with Citrus Glaze.

Sunday Dinners are Sacred in the South

An establishment in these parts, sitting down at the dinner table for a family meal is a way of life for many of us. It is quality time well spent sharing our blessings. Enjoy our recipes.

Gulf Coast Seafood Recipes

Platters like this are often on tables around Mobile Bay especially when there is a Jubilee. A Jubilee only occurs in Mobile Bay - find mouth-watering recipes under the Fish and Seafood categories.

May 26, 2015

Makings of a Chicken Salad Poboy

Old-Fashioned - that's the only way to make it.

Naw.  Nothing new about this recipe. Chicken salad's been around in America since, well, Colonist made minced meat out of left-over cooked chicken. Culinary evidence purposes the mentioning of meat salads early in the 19th century from German settlers and by the mid 19th century, primary dishes using finely chopped lobster, ham, mutton and yes, chicken appeared on many family tables. This, of course, correlates with the explosion of household meat choppers that lined every food merchant and domestic mercantile shelf during this time.

Nope.  Nothing new about making homemade chicken salad either. My momma did it, your grandmother did it, heck, even Sieur de Bienville cooks made it too. So what makes this chicken salad so special? Did I mention - southern. And, by the way, what makes it southern? Not so much the ingredients although to be really southern it must contain mayo (that's a given), sweet pickles (sweet salad cubes - duh), crunchy veggies (either green onions or sweet vidalias) and it's gotta have hard-boiled eggs (either chopped fine or grated). For any southern recipe, the process of making it is just as important as the ingredients. Time honored traditions run deep in the south and these customs correlate to how we make chicken salad.

Yup. You may have seen this recipe before. It's been around. I posted it way back yonder when I first started blogging about recipes, and foodstuff. And I have made it umpteen times since, yet, have until this time, not taking any photos worth a dime (maybe still not worth a dime). I made it this past weekend to stuff some poboys for lunch, only I cut the ingredients it half as it was just the two of us. So here's the recipe, again and a few photos to look at. Enjoy!

Southern Chicken Salad

A truly fine salad made the old-fashion way - technique is what makes it rightfully southern. It is important that in every bite you get a little savor of all ingredients.
makes about 6 cups

4 to 6 chicken breasts, depending on size
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced green onions or sweet onion
1/2 cup sweet salad cubes or chopped bread and butter pickles
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 to 4 hard boiled eggs -grated

Remove skin and cook chicken in salted simmering water until tender and juices run clear. Tender is the key word, do not overcook. Remove from the broth (save it, you can use it later), allow chicken to cool down and then de-bone and finely chop the meat. You want a little over 6 cups of shredded meat. Add chicken to a mixing bowl, stir in the vegetables along with salad cubes and lemon juice. Mix well.

Make sure the ratio of veggies is good with the chicken. If not, add a little more.

Grate the eggs into the bowl. Stir it all up and add a little salt and pepper to taste. And I mean do taste it and adjust both if needed.

Stir in just enough mayonnaise to moisten, you do no want it overly creamy.

Keep your chicken salad simple. Remember, it's chicken salad. The other ingredients are incorporated with the chicken to moisten, add crunch and create a southern flavor I grew up with. It's my favorite recipe.

Now, to make a Chicken Salad Poboy - the way we do it . . .

In the oven, warm French bread (a good footer for each) or in our case, whole wheat bread until the outside is nice and toasty. Slice in half and pinch out areas from both top and bottom slices. This creates pockets to hold the good stuff. Sometimes we stuff it with fried shrimp or oysters, or thinly slices of roast beef dripping in au jus. Mouth watering!

Butter both sides with a fine layer of mayo if desired (we desire). Fill the bottom half with chicken salad, a lot of it. I bet there's  more than a cup there. On the top half, lay thin slices ripe tomatoes (I used some sweet cherries) and a good amount of lettuce. Most folks like to shred it. To me, leaving it in larger strips helps hold it place.

Cut your poboy in half, add chips or fries or whatever your appetite begs and enjoy.

May 16, 2015

Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

good over gnocchi too!

Extra Velvety Gorgonzola Cream - For sauce lovers...

Your grandmother, heck, even your mother, may not have had the availability in her southern kitchen a choice of gorgonzla in her selection of cheeses. More than likely, any blue-strand cultures probably came from the beauty shop down the street. Many women in my hometown got a blue-rinse at least once a month. But that has nothing to do with gorgonzla, now does it?

Somehow, I suspect the blue found in southern markets back in their day was that from France, like the softer Roquefort. Today, we know a good, well ripen creamy Danish will do just as well in many recipes and will also be less costly as an Italian gorgonzla. It can also be substituted with Stilton cheese in a pinch. One of our favorite cream sauces is like the one below using an older Gorgonzola Montagna and served over lightly seasoned grilled steaks.

Did you know, Roquefort is made from sheep's milk, Gorgonzola is from cow.

Now, to the recipe today.
The art of making a good sauce starts with knowing how to make the basic Mother Sauces. From one of these, you can easily adapt. This cream sauce is a variation of a Velouté, which is made using a stock from veal, fish or chicken and incorporated with a roux of equal parts of butter and flour to create a creamy, velvet like soup. Speaking of mother sauces, I don’t know if my mother knew anything about Velouté. I can only suspect she did, ‘cause she sure knew how to make one fine cheese sauce using a roux with chicken stock.

Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

perfect topping for steaks, seafood and pasta
makes about 2 cups

2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon flour
4 oz crumbly Gorgonzola cheese (about 1 cup)
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced fresh chives or parsley, optional

In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter, wine and stock over medium-high heat until it starts to bubble. Lower heat to medium / medium-low and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to about one third in volume. Add cream and allow to simmer until reduced by half, stirring occasionally, about an hour. Remove from heat.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add flour. Whisk cooking for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the cream sauce followed with the Gorgonzola cheese and Parmesan cheese. Stir in salt, pepper, and chives stirring until the cheese has melted. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.