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Southern Cooking for Yankees

If you’re not from the South, or at least didn’t learn to cook there, it’s surprisingly easy to whip up some authentic grits, collard greens and other classic southern dishes. Check out these easy and tasty recipes for a little home cookin’ like no other.

Red Beans and Rice (Slow Cooker)

Enjoy a little southern comfort, without all the work, with these slow cooker red beans and rice. Assemble the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and arrive home from work in the evening to a home filled with delicious southern aromas.

Adapted from myrecipes.com

  • 1 pound dried red beans
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons creole seasoning
  • 7 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped

Combine the red beans, celery, bell peppers, onion, garlic, creole seasoning and vegetable stock in a large slow cooker. Slow cook the mixture on high for 6-8 hours or until the beans are soft.

During the final hour of slow cooking time, begin preparing the rice according to the packaging instructions.

Serve the beans over the prepared rice and garnish with the green onions and red onions.

Fried Catfish

Gather the family and grab your napkins because you’re about to enjoy an easy and delicious southern fish recipe. Catfish is served in restaurants and households throughout the South and, after preparing this recipe, you’ll understand why. A blend of seasonings offers a hint of heat while a cornmeal batter brings a delightful crunchy texture.

  • 4 large catfish fillets
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Place the cornmeal in a large bowl. Combine the flour, salt, black pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper and garlic powder in another large bowl. Whisk the egg and milk in a third bowl.

Heat the canola oil on medium in a large frying pan.

Dredge each catfish fillet first in the flour, then in the egg mixture and finally in the cornmeal, fully coating the fillets in each mixture. Fry the fillets in the oil for about 4 minutes on each side or until fully cooked and lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Authentic Cheese Grits

Few recipes are more authentically southern than grits. Don’t bother with the instant grits from a box. Real grits are surprisingly easy to prepare and there is simply no comparison to their creamy texture and authentic taste.

Adapted from leitesculinaria.com

  • 2 cups water
  • 4.5 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • 3/4 pound white Cheddar cheese, grated

Combine the water, milk, salt, white pepper and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, whisking occasionally, until the grits are cooked and creamy. If the grits become too clumpy, add a little additional milk.

Whisk in the remaining butter and cheese until smooth. Serve immediately.

Collard Greens

If you’re looking for the ultimate southern side dish, the buck stops here. Collard greens are filling and oh-so-delicious. This quick and easy recipe calls for a pre-cut collard variety, getting it in the pan quickly to feed your family sooner. Bacon adds meaty flavor while chicken stock simmers the collards to tender perfection.

  • 2 bags pre-cut collards
  • 3 strips thick-cut bacon
  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cut the bacon into small chunks and add to the oil. Cook the bacon until browned. Add the collard greens and toss to coat with the bacon fat and oil. Add the chicken stock, cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add additional stock as needed. The greens are ready when tender. Salt and pepper to taste.

You needn’t live in the South to enjoy some good home cookin’. Southern delicacies are simple to prepare, so set the table and gather the family to enjoy a homemade meal with a little flair. Is your kitchen a disaster after experimenting with new Southern recipes? What you need is the magic wand for your kitchen.