I made that!

Getting My Southern On

Posted in All Sugar All The Time, All Things Pork, I Like Salt Too, Southernness by brandi on February 5, 2009

It was a night of deliciousness. I was at my friends’ house for our weekly night of (don’t judge) 90210. We’re usually so excited to relive a version of high school that doesn’t even closely resemble ours that we cook a feast to eat beforehand. I was feeling especially southern, and decided to dig through my old copy of “Louisiana Kitchen” for some ideas. In the end I decided to try out the red beans and rice recipe, since I’ve yet to make one that I think is worthwhile.

Probably the most shocking thing of the night was learning that most of my friends had never even HEARD of red beans and rice! When I told them that is what I would be cooking, they imagined some boring dinner of “beans” and “rice.” How little faith they have in Cajun cuisine.


It took a few hours to cook. It was spicy. REALLY spicy. It was not pretty to gaze upon. It was filled with smoked ham hocks, Andouille sausage & bell peppers. Basically it was perfect.


And of course there was dessert.

I had been thinking about apple cake for a few months, so I decided to try one out. Also a traditional Southern dish, it is a super moist cake filled with big chunks of apple, pecans, cinnamon & nutmeg. It has so many apples in it I was concerned that it might not even turn into a cake once baked.


But it turned out just fine. Better than fine.


And since Southerners are just never happy with something simple in the dessert department, it was smothered in a caramel sauce.


90210 never tasted so good.

Here is the recipe for the Red Beans & Rice, from Paul Prudhomme’s “Louisiana Kitchen”:

1 pound dried red kidney beans
6 large ham hocks (3 1/2  pounds)
2 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
2 cups finely chopped onions
2 cups finely chopped green bell peppers
5 whole bay leaves
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 pound Andouille smoked sausage, cut diagonally into 3/4-inch pieces
4 1/2 cups hot cooked rice

Cover the beans with water 2 inches above beans. Let stand overnight. Drain just before using.

Place the ham hocks, 10 cups of  water, the celery, onions, bell peppers, bay leaves, and seasonings in a 5 1/2-quart saucepan or large Dutch oven; stir well. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until meat is fork tender, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove ham hocks from pan and set aside.

Add the drained beans and 4 cups of the water to the pan; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining 2 cups water and simmer 30 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the andouille and continue simmering until the beans start breaking up, about 35 minutes, scraping pan bottom fairly often.  Add the ham hocks (that you have been shredding this whole time) and cook and stir 10 minutes more. Serve immediately.

And here’s the recipe for the apple cake, from “The Gift of Southern Cooking” by Edna Lewis & Scott Peacock:

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 large eggs
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 fresh apples, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/4 cups not-too-finely chopped pecans
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (160C).

Put the sugars and vegetable oil in a mixing bowl, and beat until very well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and gradually add to the sugar and eggs, mixing just until well blended.

Stir in the apples, pecans, and vanilla, and pour into a buttered and 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours (begin checking after 50 minutes). Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the pan while you prepare the caramel glaze.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, and add both the sugars and the salt. Stir until blended, and cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream, and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Use a skewer or toothpick to poke holes all over the top of the cake, and pour the warm glaze over the surface. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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