Southern food is more just than grits and crab cakes (and there are plenty of delicious variations of those!). Johnnie Gabriel, author of Cooking in the South — and cousin of renowned Southern chef Paula Deen — serves up award-winning Southern dishes in her Marietta, Georgia bakery/restaurant, Gabriel’s Desserts. And now she invites you to pick up her cookbook and feast your eyes — and then your appetite — on her collection of mouthwatering Southern recipes. Try these three recipes for a taste of her down-home cuisine.
Recipes from the South
Recipes courtesy of Johnnie Gabriel from her recently released cookbook Cooking in the South
Bacon and Blue Cheese Strata
Serves 6 to 8
1 large loaf sliced white bread, crusts removed
1 pound bacon, cooked and drained
1 pound Brie cheese with rind removed, cut into small pieces
1/2 pound blue cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons dried rosemary or sage
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups AE Dairy milk
10 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
10 drops hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1. Grease the bottom and sides of a 14 x 11-inch casserole dish. Cut the bread to fit the bottom, lining it completely. Layer 1/3 of the bacon, cheeses and rosemary. Repeat the layers, starting with the bread, 2 more times.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, eggs, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Pour evenly over the casserole. Press down lightly with a spatula. The bread should be thoroughly wet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. If bread is not thoroughly wet when ready to bake, add more cream and egg mixture.
3. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake the strata on the center rack of the oven for approximately 1 hour, or until eggs are set.
Warm Sweet Potato Salad
Serves 10 to 12
A recipe from executive chef Thomas McEachern of Rays on the River in Atlanta, Georgia
3 large sweet potatoes
3 large Idaho (or russet) potatoes
2 shallots, minced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup grain mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 tablespoons capers
1. Place the potatoes in a pot with salted water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and cook potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and cool potatoes. Peel and cut them into thick wedges. Place in a large bowl.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the shallots, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and continue to whisk until fully emulsified. Add parsley and capers to the potatoes and just enough of the vinaigrette to coat the potatoes liberally. Add extra vinaigrette as needed.
Sausage Corn and Bean Chowder
Serves 6 to 8
1 pound loose sausage
1 large onion, chopped
3 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 cups water
1 (15-ounce) can white cannelini beans, drained
1 (15-1/2 ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (15-1/2 ounce) can whole kernel corn, undrained
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1. In a medium-sized skillet, crumble the sausage and brown over medium heat. Drain the fat, reserving 2 tablespoons.
2. In a 4-quart stockpot, combine the 2 tablespoons drippings, sausage and onion. Saute until the onion is clear. Add potatoes, salt, basil, white pepper, water and beans. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
3. Stir in the corn, corn liquid and evaporated milk. Cover and heat almost to boiling.