Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner, and it's time to throw a party that's a little closer to your Southern roots than the usual chili, or chips and salsa, or even Buffalo wings (you know that Buffalo is in New York, right?) would imply. So, football-loving Richmonders, start thinking about pimento cheese and pork cracklings, party meatballs and Southern Comfort. We tapped the talents of chef Kendra Bailey Morris , author of White Trash Gatherings , to show us how.
Morris, who trained at Peter Kump's Culinary School (now known as the Institute for Culinary Education) in New York City, is a culinary instructor who has appeared on The Learning Channel's weekly food and home show, Home Made Simple. In addition to her cookbook, she's also a food writer who has had stories, columns and recipes published in Better Homes & Gardens, NPR's Kitchen Window, CNN's Eatocracy, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
She originally learned to cook, however, from her two West Virginia grandmothers, who managed to feed a crowd out of tiny kitchens with no counter space, no dishwasher and no refrigerator space. The food they made wasn't fancy, but it was tasty — and a lot of us grew up around here eating exactly the same sort of thing.
Morris writes, in the introduction to White Trash Entertaining, "A good meal should be savored like a hot roll fresh from the oven and a good host should be cherished, not for what she has, but what she offers."
In her 1970s rec room ("we decided, instead of tearing out the wood paneling in the basement, to take it to the next level"), with vintage bar, working eight-track stereo and white leather couch culled from secondhand stores, Morris sets the stage for a party that's both a throwback to childhood and an update on the usual hodgepodge of Super Bowl Sunday offerings.
- ½ pint of Southern Comfort (or to taste)
- 1 (46-ounce) can of pineapple juice
- Lemon-lime soda
- Lime slices or wedges of fresh pineapple, for garnish
Mix the Southern Comfort and juice in a large pitcher. Pour into tall glasses filled with ice and top off with lemon-lime soda. Garnish with a big slice of lime or wedge of pineapple.
Serves 12 to 14
- 2 pounds of pork skin (trimmed, but save some of the attached fat)
- 1 teaspoon of coarse salt, or to taste
- Vegetable oil
To do ahead:
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Cut the pork skin into 3-inch or 4-inch squares. Sprinkle with the salt and spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 3 hours, then cool and store in an airtight container.
Prior to serving:
Add oil to a straight-sided skillet so that it comes to about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way up the sides of the pan. Heat the oil for about 5 to 10 minutes, until it reaches 350 to 375 degrees. Fry the pork skin until it puffs (3 to 5 minutes — watch carefully, you don't want it to burn). Drain on paper towels and serve.
Mama Bailey's Pimento Cheese Spread
With many Southern recipes, measurements aren't an exact science, so feel free use more or less mayonnaise, cream cheese and cayenne pepper. This recipe is best made a day ahead.
- 12 ounces of Colby cheese or a medium-sharp yellow cheese, coarsely grated
- 6 ounces of cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup of mayoAnnaise (preferably Hellman's)
- 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of pimento juice (from the jar)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of pimento, finely minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Mix your cheeses, mayonnaise, cayenne pepper and pimento juice. Stir in the pimentos by hand and A with salt and pepper. Cover and place mixture in the fridge. It's best if it chills overnight.
Fill about 24 small rolls or can be served from a crock with crackers. Makes about 2 cups.
Miss Oma's Grape Jelly Meatballs
- 1 ½ cups of chili sauce
- ½ (32-ounce) jar of grape jelly (more, if you like it sweet!)
- 1 pound of lean ground beef
- 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup of chopped onion
- ½ tablespoon of prepared horseradish
- 3 to 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Put the chili sauce and grape jelly in a slow cooker (or a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan) and set on medium-low heat to simmer. For your meatballs, mix the ground beef together with the rest of the ingredients. Carefully shape the mixture into small balls, taking care not to roll the meatballs too tightly.
Fry the meatballs in the hot oil until they're brown on all sides (or you can brown them in the oven at 375 degrees on a sheet pan). Add meatballs to the grape jelly mixture and simmer until tender. Serve meatballs straight from the pot with toothpicks.
Makes approximately 25 meatballs.
West Virginia Pepperoni Rolls
Some call the pepperoni roll the state food of West Virginia. Created by Italian immigrant coal miners as an easy-to-eat, hand-held lunch while on the job, the pepperoni roll has achieved iconic status. Consisting of a couple of strips of spicy pepperoni enrobed in a slightly sweet dough, this portable treat has many variations, from serving it "as is" to stuffing it with peppers in tomato sauce and topping it with mozzarella cheese.
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- ½ cup of warm water
- ½ cup plus ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 or 2 white potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
- ½ cup of shortening
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 egg
- 7 to 8 cups of flour
- 1 ½ sticks of pepperoni, cut into thin slices (about 1 pound total)
- For the glaze:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 egg
Mix yeast, warm water and the ½ teaspoon sugar in a bowl and let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes. It will get foamy. Cook potatoes until tender in about three cups of water (enough to make approximately 2 ½ cups leftover potato water). Mix your cooked potatoes and 2 ½ cups potato water in a blender. Add the ½ cup sugar, shortening and salt, and blend well. Add your egg and blend 5 seconds more.
Cool mixture to lukewarm. Then pour into a big bowl and add the yeast mixture. Slowly add 4 cups of flour and beat with a mixer until smooth. Add 3 to 4 more cups of flour and knead until the dough is fairly stiff but still a little sticky. Place dough in a large greased bowl and cover it with plastic. Then cover your bowl with a wet kitchen towel and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. (Note: the dough will keep in the fridge for 5 to 6 days. Be sure to push down the dough at least once per day.)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Turn dough onto a floured board and cut into quarters. Continue to cut into roughly 40 small pieces. Take a piece of the dough and push it flat. Then place a couple of pieces of pepperoni in the middle (overlapping and not stacking) and roll it up. Pinch the ends of the dough to hold the pepperoni inside. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat until you've used up all of your dough and pepperoni.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and sugar. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Add your egg and mix well. Brush rolls with this mixture and then bake them until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Makes about four dozen small rolls.
Note: You can make these ahead of time and then store them in freezer storage bags until it's time to serve. After the dough thaws and rises, follow the directions below.
Serve pepperoni rolls as is or sliced open and filled with peppers in tomato sauce (such as Oliverio's, which is sold at most Kroger stores) and topped with mozzarella. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven until your cheese is melted and bubbly.
Another note: For a much quicker version of this recipe, use hot dog buns or hoagie rolls (or use frozen dough to make the pepperoni rolls). With purchased buns, simply fill them with strips of sliced pepperoni, sliced peppers in tomato sauce and mozzarella, and bake as above.
Rice Krispies Oatmeal Cookies
- 2 sticks of butter (1 cup) softened
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 1 cup of packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of Rice Krispies cereal
- 2 cups of uncooked rolled oats
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of shredded, sweetened coconut
- 1 cup of golden raisins
- 1 cup of chopped pecans
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the Rice Krispies and oats. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into another bowl. Add this to the sugar mixture and combine well. Stir in coconut, raisins and nuts. Put heaping tablespoons of the mixture on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until browned.
Makes 5 dozen cookies.