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Aug 31, 2009 01:32 PM

Sept 2009 COTM: SOUTHERN Meat

September 2009 Cookbooks of the Month:

SCREEN DOORS AND SWEET TEA: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook, by Martha Hall Foose (SDST)
BON APPETIT Y'ALL: Recipes and Tales from Three Generations of Southern Cooking, by Virginia Willis (BAYA)

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes for pork, beef, lamb, etc here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the book or author and page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe. This thread includes:

Chapter 4: Pork, Beef, and Lamb

meat dishes from Chapter 4: Dishes from the Backyard and Kitchen

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Happy Cooking!

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  1. Pork Chops with Dried Plums, Bon Appetit Y'All: Ch.4, Beef Pork Lamb, Pg. 84

    I had planned to make the Double Cut Pork Chop recipe from Screen Doors and Sweet Tea but at the last minute made an about face and revisited the BAY'A version instead. I felt the chops I had weren't thick enough for the stuffing called for in the SDST recipe.

    The BAY'A recipe calls for 1 - 8 to 10 oz. bone-in 3/4" chop per person but this time I used much thinner chops from a farm that raises their own pigs organically. The chops are pan fried then a sauce is made using dried plums AKA prunes, garlic, low sodium beef broth and chopped fresh thyme. I soaked the chopped dried plums in a few tablespoons of Jim Beam while the chops were frying then added the fruit and the bourbon to the pan. Extraordinary! This is a quick and easy recipe for a weeknight meal, and, quite delicious.

    Here's my original report from 31 March:

    I served the chops with a side of the Caponata from Alice Waters' "The Art of Simple Food". last November's COTM, and steamed Jasmine rice.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Gio


      Re the dried plums/prunes. At my local market there are dried plums and prunes. Prunes are not usually like most dried fruit, i.e., dried. They're certainly processed in some way, but they're much more moist than the dried plums I see in the bins at Berkeley Bowl. They don't taste the same either. Prunes are sweeter - maybe sugar is added when they're processed?

      I'm going to go look around for more info on this. Also, dried plums I've seen are reddish pink and prunes are almost black.

      1. re: oakjoan

        Apparently "dried plums" is the new name given to prunes by the growers' association in California. They changed the name to get away from the negative images folks had of prunes. So, now dried plums are prunes as well as actually being dried plums. Apparently, the high sugar content allows them to be dried with the pips still inside.

        1. re: oakjoan

          Isn't it crazy? Prunes - plums - it's all about the $$$ and how the "stupid public" will accept the hype. Do the powers think we're idiots?
          Answer: Yup.

          I've never seen dried plums here but maybe I didn't look under that there rock over there.....

        2. re: oakjoan

          Well, as I'm sure you know, there are *lots* of different plums with distinctly different flavors, so it's not surprising that 'dried plums' could taste quite different from standard prunes. What surprises me is how much flavor prunes have since the standard Italian prune plum used for them isn't really that flavorful, just extremely sweet and not very juicy (which is why they dry well, of course).

          IMHO, they ought to keep using prunes for standard prunes and reserve dried plums for the new varieties, to distinguish them. But then, I like prunes.

      2. Slow, Low Oven Ribs - SDST, pg. 112

        These were fantastic! I used country style ribs that were on the bone because I love that type of rib. I didn't add the tomato relish but that was marked optional.

        The ribs were super tender and fell off the bone. So delicious!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Boudleaux

          It should be noted that under the recipe title of "Slow, Low Oven Ribs" appears the sub-title: "While Involved in Other Things." That is because they take 4 hours to cook in the oven. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon. I got to involve myself with watching re-runs of The French Chef on PBS. Soooo fun to see Julia Child "wack" the heads off the fish for her Bouillabaise (sp?).

          Anyway they were quite the hit! The maple flavor came through quite nicely. Like Boudleaux, I didn't add the optional tomato relish but I did sub 2 tablespoons of ketchup. I think this gave the sauce a nice additional gloss.

          One thing I questioned in making the sauce was what to do after adding the maple syrup, soy sauce and (optional) tomato relish. Does one just stir it in and take off the heat? That was what the recipe would indicate, but I chose to let it come back to a boil and then simmer it for a few minutes to meld and thicken a bit more. And, since the directions instruct one to preheat the oven after completing the sauce, does that mean the sauce should simmer until your oven is preheated, or left to cool? Probably just being nit-picky here, but...

          Here's my picture....I love country-style pork ribs!

        2. Skirt steak with shallots, BAYA, p 92

          The sauce that goes with this simple pan-fried skirt is to die for, and so simple. You heat a tbsp of canola oil in a heavy pan until it shimmers, then add the steak and cook to your liking. She recommends three minutes a side - I did mine for a little bit less. Cover the meat with foil and leave to rest while you prepare the sauce.

          Melt a knob of butter in the pan, add two sliced shallots and fry until translucent. Add a tbsp of red wine vinegar and allow to reduce, then a cup of red wine (I used marsala) and allow to reduce by half. To finish, take the pan off the heat and add another knob of butter. Season. Et voila y'all - a classic French sauce with not much Southern about it at all as far as I can tell. Very delicious and we loved it.

          5 Replies
          1. re: greedygirl

            Funnily enough, I think both women are drawing from French influences, Willis more so than the other Hall-Foose.


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Willis mentions that she trained in France at La Varenne, which ironically is run by an Englishwoman, Anne Willan (I have one of her books and like it a lot).

              1. re: greedygirl

                Yes indeed, Willis does mention that. How funny, though, that the woman who runs it is an Englishwoman! Well, if Americans can learn to cook French via Julia Child (an American), I suppose they can learn it via an Englishwoman, too!

                Martha Hall Foose attended Ecole Lenotre (pastry school) in France.


              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                You are spot on with your comment!!! ~~

              3. re: greedygirl

                Skirt steak with shallots, BAYA, p 92

                Tried this last night with grass fed ribeyes. I changed the cooking method a bit to allow for the thicker cut, searing them in a cast iron skillet then putting them in a hot oven to finish, but following the directions for the sauce pretty closely. My DH who swears that anyone who sauces a good steak is an idiot loved these and begrudgingly acknowledged that he may have been partially wrong:)

              4. Fried Pork Chops with Pan Gravy BAY'A pg 80

                I usually reserve my fancier cookin' for weekends, so this recipe seemed like a good bet for a Thursday night. And I'm always looking for a better pork chop, 'cause I've found that they can be quite particular as to how they are cooked.

                So, this is another simple recipe. Dredge salt and peppered center-cut, bone in chops in a cup of flour seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, "or to taste." Then heat up a half cup of canola oil in a frying pan until 375. My first reaction was "wow, that's a lot of oil." But when I actually poured it into the pan, it didn't look like all that much....

                Anyway, one fries the chops on one side for about four minutes. I added an extra since my chops were more like an inch thick. Then one turns the chops over, covers the skillet and turns the heat to low to let cook another 3 or 4 minutes until done. Well all that oil was just roaring under the lid. Sounded a little scary actually. But I had faith and wasn't rewarded with any explosions.

                When the chops are done they are removed to a plate, and loosely tented to keep warm while one makes the gravy. To do that, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of oil and fat. Then add 2 tbsp of the leftover dredging flour to make a roux. The liquid is two cups of chicken stock. Woo hooo, that 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne in the flour goes a looong way. Spicy hot gravy. Wasn't sure Mr. Clam would like that. And was cringing at the thought of how hot those chops were going to be. But in the end, the chops were fine, delicious in fact, and the spiciness of the gravy was well tamed by mashed potatoes.

                Really good. Chowpup, who initially thought the chops looked humungous, commented on how we all actually ate so much of them.