What's the ideal southern brunch menu?
I must qualify that I am not from the south and I have no history with southern cooking. However, I thought I might try to cook a southern style breakfast. What would be your typical menu for brunch? Is there a typically southern way of cooking any particular dish? Links to online recipes would be appreciated as well.
It's been posted that there are different regions to southern cooking. What southern cooking I've had in restaurants were labeled as "southern" cuisine, nothing else. I had no clue there were muliple regions. As stated above, I am a southern cooking virgin. That said, I think I'd be mostly interested in creating a menu from the "biscuts and gravy" or the "shrimp and grits" variety. (Thanks to Lemons for specifying the possible regions.)
I'll say right off the bat - I am a Yankee, born & bred. I currently live in New England again, but I did spend 6 years in Kentucky ( & miss it dearly!). In my (transplant's) opinion, a good Southern breakfast or brunch would have: biscuits with sausage gravy, buttery grits (maybe with cheese, but more likely without), bacon, eggs scrambled with cheese, a hashbrown casserole (we used to have a great one with sour cream & cheese), and ham (often country ham, which is incredibly salty and good). Not a fancy meal, but a very filling one, with a big emphasis on the meats & carbs.
I was back there visiting recently, and had the best breakfast of biscuits & gravy and a bowl of buttery, salt & pepper grits. I rarely eat like that (I'm a yogurt for breakfast person now) and it was HEAVENLY.
It depends on what part of the south you are talking about. I'll give you what I think is a list of dishes typically seen in North Carolina.
Country Ham w/ Red Eye gravy
Eggs fried or scrambled
Sliced fresh tomatoes when in season
I'm sure some of you other good North Carolina folks can add to this list as I'm sure I have missed many things.
Biscuits for sure, but you don't necessarily have to serve them with gravy. Homemade preserves -- say, peach and blackberry -- and real butter go great on biscuits. For a real southern touch, serve blackstrap molasses too. 8<D
I'd want to see some grits too!
Biscuits & Gravy Brunch
Buttermilk biscuits with red eye gravy
Mixed vegetable "hash browns"
Soft scrambled eggs with roasted red pepper and cheese
Shrimp and Grits Brunch
Bacon fried shrimp with smoked cheddar grits
Poached eggs on split English muffins with roasted green chilis and spicy hollandaise
Hot sauce on the side
I found this amazing menu a few years ago, developed by Scott Peacock, who was my hero Edna Lewis' protege. All recipes are available; just ask. What I liked about it was that it represents several of the regional specialties that you mentioned.
Champagne Punch or Mint Juleps
Pimiento cheese toasts
Ambrosia (the real kind, not the stuff with cool whip)
Creamy stoneground grits w/ Lowcountry breakfast shrimp
Eggs with creamed spinach and country ham
Slow-roasted tomatoes (or scalloped tomato casserole with croutons)
Crisp winter lettuce with warm sweet/sharp dressing
Spoonbread (pan, or indiv. muffins)
Sugared berries w/ cream
Warm sweet-potato pudding with apples and chestnuts
Bourbon-pecan sand tarts
Boiled coffee, juices
And as I said, if you'd like specific recipes, just ask. I'm not a Southern gal either, but it is totally my favorite American cuisine to cook and eat, and I've got a million of them. Two you might also be interested in are Grits n Grillades (small steaks, with gravy) or Calas, which are Cajun rice fritters; ethereal, delicious. Both are total La. specialties. (Edit.) And fried chicken for breakfast is very very traditional in TN.
Warm Sweet Potato Pudding w/ apples and chestnuts:
4 med. sweet potatoes (roughly 2 1/4 lbs.)
1 c. bottled cooked chestnuts
3/4 c. dried apple slices, in 1/3 inch dice
3/4 c. apple cider or juice (pref. without added sugar)
2 T. melted unsalted butter
1/4 c. + 2 T. granulated sugar
1/4 c. lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 c. honey
1/2 t. grated nutmeg
1 t. good cinnamon
2 lg. eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. whole milk
4 Medjool dates, chopped coarsely
Preheat oven to 350 w/ rack in middle. Bake about 1 1/2 hours; they need to be very soft. Meanwhile chop chestnuts coarsely; set aside. Put juice/cider into small saucepan w/ apple slices; bring to a boil, turn off heat, cover and let steep about 20 minutes. Drain and save juice for another use, chop apples coarsely. Peel potatoes and mash well. You'll need two cups of potato; transfer to bowl. Increase oven temp. to 375. Whisk butter and sugars into the potato, along w/ ingredients up to eggs. Whisk in eggs, vanilla, cream and milk, then dates, chestnuts and apples. Bake in a buttered 1 1/2 qt. baking dish, until set; 40-50 minutes. Cool to warm to serve.
And the Tart recipe will come in the a.m.!
Bourbon-Pecan Sand Tarts
You'll need a stand mixer and 9 tart pans (4 1/2 in.) with removable bottoms.
4 sticks diced unsalted butter
4 c. unbleached AP flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
3 lg. eggs
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c. dark corn syrup
1/2 c. light corn syrup
3 T. best-quality bourbon
2 t. pure best-quality vanilla extract
1/2 t. kosher salt
3. cups pecan halves
Make crust: put baking sheet on middle rack of oven and preheat at 375. Mix crust ingredients in mixer at low speed until crust forms; 6-7 minutes. Press 1/3 c. dough into each tart pan, making sides just slightly thicker. Chill while you:
Whisk together eggs, sugar, butter, syrups, bourbon, vanilla and salt. Divide pecans among tarts; then add filling. Bake on hot baking sheet in oven until filling is just set and crust is golden brown, 30-35 minutes generally. Cool completely on racks before you remove bottoms.
DROOL!!! Consider yourself solicited!!! I'm preparing brunch for a group of southern women next month and thought about using the pork tenderloin in my freezer. I'm sure they'd LOVE a KD theme! Please provide ALL the recipes you mention in this post and if you happen to be in Austin, TX next month, stop on by!
Sounds like you got to eat a true home-cured ham, flfoodie2. And the fact that it was smoked, probably without nitrates in the cure, lends greatly to the tenderness and juiciness. The next part of the equation is the way I suspect they sliced it; thinly with the grain? And except for the highest-quality mass-produced baked hams on the market, most are injected with a little something they think will make it juicy but in fact gives it a weird, waxy texture. At least IMO.
At any rate, lucky you. Yum.
Above: Sand Tart recipe. And here's the hash
If you don't care to cook with alcohol, you can sub. in chicken broth, or play with the proportions and use both if you just don't want to use as much alcohol as this calls for. It's also better and more conveniently made the day ahead of the party. And you'll need a 6-8 qt. heavy, nonreactive pot, and some parchment paper.
1 5-6 lb. pork shoulder, pref. w/ bone and skin
1 1/2 t. dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
4 halved California Bayleaves
2 Med. onions, halved lenthwise and thickly sliced
3 c. dry white wine (or broth or combo of both)
1 T. unsalted butter
3 T. AP flour
Preheat oven to 325, rack in middle. Cut 8 deep slits randomly into pork and season with thyme. Insert a garlic slice and a bayleaf into each slit. Sprinkle any remaining thyme, 1 1/2 t. salt and 1 t. pepper over pork, and place into pot. Scatter onions and leftover garlic around and over meat. Add wine; bring to boil. Cover w/ sheet of parchment paper, then lid, and braise in oven until meat is shreddably tender, 4-5 hours. Cool, covered, 30 minutes. Transfer meat to lg. platter. Strain braising liquid, but keep onions. If you have more than 2 c. liquid, reduce; if less add a little more wine, water or broth. When pork is cool, remove bay leaves. If pork has skin, peel and reserve skin. Trim excess fat from pork; remove meat from bone. Cut into 1/2 inch. pieces; return to pot; add onions. Bring braising liquid to simmer in small saucepan and keep hot, covered. Heat rest of butter to foaming over med. heat; stir in flour, and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Season w/ salt and pepper, Remove from heat and slowly whisk in hot braising liquid until thickened. Reheat meat and onions in enough sauce to coat. Should not be soupy. Serve extra sauce on table.
To use cracklins' as garnish, brown pork skin in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat until very crisp, about 10 minutes. Cut into small crackly pieces. If you're making cornbread, use half the skin to make cracklin' cornbread. Not the healthiest thing ever, but OMG one of the best. To do day ahead, or even 2, chill meat w/ 1 c. sauce, covered. Chill rest of sauce separately.
Thanks mamachef for this recipe and the tarts. They both look so good! I told my friend that I was going to plan a Southern Brunch and she said "I'll bring the bourbon" LOL!
Had to laugh at "if you don't care to cook with alcohol"...It's generally one of my main ingredients! Love to cook with wine!
Thanks again for the recipes and great suggestions for brunch!!
Buckshot on quail is a recipe for bird pudding. I won't go over #8 unless we're talking about 50-yard shots, and prefer a #9 "flyswatter" for close work with good dogs. Less penetration = (relatively) lead-free game.
As far as size goes, dove are maybe half the size of quail; it takes four of 'em to make a respectable serving. We're short on most species of wild upland birds here in NorCal, but the doves are plentiful. I'm still kicking myself for missing the whole last season.
Next step, ortolan...
And to keep this on-topic, either quail or dove are classic brunch fare.
A tradition that seems to be these days now lost
is still kept in enclaves by the bestest of hosts.
Anytime wild-shot game is part of the brunch
on each setting is also a flat-bottomed thimble.
That thimble, though tiny,
can keep things quite tidy
to serve as discreet receptacle
for diner-found lead shot.
If you're going to go the gravy route, a really spicy (sausage) pork gravy can be wonderful and the gravies are typically on the light-colored side - nothing really saucy and brown, but you want simmered-down loads of flavor in it and fat.
Were you to bake any cakes for this occasion you may want to look into boiled icing, which is what they did a lot when the weather was so hot buttercream would slide right off.
I think you should try several brunches, personally, concentrating on a different part of the South each time!
did I skim this too fast? (btw all sounds great and I generally don't anything before dinner) but has no one, no one? mentioned a good bloody mary?
gotta start the mix the night before (at least) I prefer to start with V-8 and put in chopped onion, garlic, coupla bay leaves, more horseradish than hot sauce, peppercorns, sliced lemons, strain when pouring (but if a few chunks get in who really cares, right?).
I know, this all sounds obvious, but the 12-24 hours of soaking really rounds out the flavor and blows pre-made mixes out of the game. personally I prefer pickled okra over celery for garnish, but it's a big wide world.
re: hill food
A very complete list but I skimmed too. Did I miss white gravy? White gravy with crumbled sausage pieces over biscuits. Heck, one plate with white gravy and biscuits and one with red-eye gravy and country ham. And any variation of Bananas Foster for dessert, even banana pancakes or french toast with rum sauce syrup.
Country ham and spoonbread (preferably the old recipe from the Boone Tavern Inn in Berea, KY).