Just bake this one pan, and you’re set for the week. The whole process takes about 24 hours, but it’s easy and makes your kitchen smell like bread heaven.
If you can’t be in New Orleans at the drop of a hat (like me), the best thing to do is to cook something that reminds you of your travels. That’s my humble opinion. Cooking always takes me to the places I want to go or revisit or live. When I get to dreaming about Louisiana, it’s time to make Maque Choux. This fiery veggie combination is a vacation for my palette and helps spice up a quick weeknight dinner.
When you want a southern treat with a twist, try a sweet potato biscuit. Light, fluffy and slightly sweet, these nuggets of baked goodness are moist on the inside and perfect with country ham or jazzed up with brie and honey.
You’ll see middlins (rice grits) on lots of menus around South Carolina’s Lowcountry, where honoring African diaspora cuisine is a priority among the food community. Rice holds a special place in South Carolina history, for sure. The story of middlins, like so many other classic southern staples, is a humble one.
Let’s talk about staples. Those must-have food items you can’t live without in the kitchen. Since I’m an Alabama cook, of course there is always bacon in my fridge.
According To Me
Did you know that when you cook down fatty pork with onions and jalapeños and add lots of other yummy ingredients, something magical happens? You get something more divine than bacon itself. You get Bacon Jam!
When you have Bacon Jam on hand, that means you have a little something extra special to add to your dishes when you want to make them fancy. I used some to top my Grit Casserole above, and I’m pretty sure I can never look back now! It adds a little punch of salty, sweet, savory and sour that’s seriously unforgettable.
It Goes On Everything!
I’ve used Bacon Jam on burgers, Brussels sprouts and for any last-minute appetizer I’m required to whip up for socializing. Just dump some on a block of cream cheese and go for it. You know, make it look pretty and buy some nice crackers, too, but you get the picture. I also love it as a vegetable condiment alongside chow chow. This stuff does wonders for peas, beans and it will change your mind about creamed corn. Oh, and steaks. Definitely smear this on that!
Although my recipe calls for jalapeños, it’s not super spicy. Just remember to deseed them, and once you cook the peppers down with the onions, the heat factor really mellows.
4 slices bacon, chopped (I like applewood-smoked)
1 1/2 cups Vidalia (or sweet) onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 jalapeño, deseeded and chopped
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon of Creole mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cook the bacon in a large skillet or medium-sized pot over medium-high for heat 6 to 8 minutes. Add the onions and pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring often, over medium heat for 15 minutes or until the sweet onions are caramel colored and the green onions are wilted.
Add the thyme, honey and mustard, stirring to dissolve.
Stir in the vinegar and cook for half an hour on low heat, or until it’s the consistency of jam.
Makes about two cups, and you can keep it for about three weeks in the fridge. It can also be frozen.