Slow-Cooker Onion, Leek and Potato Stew with Sausage

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So this all started from a post I made on my personal Facebook page. Technically this isn’t “Southern Cuisine,” but I had so many people request the recipe I figured the best place to put it would be here.

I made this in a 6.5 quart slow-cooker. If yours is smaller, you’ll probably have to adjust things down for size. Given the fullness of my particular cooker, I’d say that it would be a pretty tight squeeze to fit it all in a 5 quart.

Slow-Cooker Onion, Leek and Potato Stew with Sausage

1.5lbs Yellow Potatoes, skin on, cut into a large dice

1 Large Yellow Onion, roughly chopped

3 Leeks, tops removed, chopped

1.5lbs Cased Smoked Sausage, cut in one inch pieces

2 cups Chicken Broth

1tbsp Salted Butter (for beurre manié)

1tbsp All Purpose Flour (for beurre manié)

2 Dried Bay Leaves

1tsp Dried Thyme Leaves

1tsp Dried Parsley Flakes

1/2tsp Dried Ground Sage

1/2tsp Dried Garlic Powder

Total cook time will be 8 hours on the “low” setting. Once the prep work is out of the way the next big step will be layering the ingredients in the slow cooker and letting it do the hard work. We will have to come back twice during the cooking process. Once at the 4 hour mark to stir, and then again at 6 hour mark to add our beurre manié and stir for the last time. (Don’t know what a beurre manié is? We’ll get there.)

The layering:

Place the potatoes on the bottom, and try your best to get them all in a single layer. On top of that, add the leeks, dried herbs and dried garlic. Next go the onions, and on top of them, the sausage. Once that’s all in, pour in your chicken broth. The results should look something like this:

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Turn your slow-cooker on low, and walk away.

At the 4 hour mark, we need to stir. But only the onions, leeks and sausage. Try to leave the potatoes undisturbed on the bottom.

In the interim, lets talk about the beurre manié we’ll need in 2 hours. A beurre manié is a mixture of flour and butter that’s used to thicken soups or stews. (Think roux, but without the cooking-ahead part.) In this case, we’re actually going to treat it like any other ingredient and cook it along with the other items in the pot. So, we’ll need to give it sufficient time to cook to get any “raw flour taste” out of the finished product. To make one, combine equal parts (in this case 1tbsp each) of flour and butter until you get a dough-like paste. We’ll then take this paste and incorporate it a bit at a time into our stew just before the next stir.

I’ve included an image below to give you an idea of what a beurre manié looks like.

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Beurre manié” by Alec VuijlstekeFlickr: Beurre manié. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Once we hit the 6 hour mark, the onions and leeks will have released quite a bit of liquid (see image below,) so this will be the perfect time to add that beurre manié and let it do it’s work.

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It’s best to do this sparingly, while focusing on getting it to dissolve completely in the liquid. Take the paste and dab in a little bit at a time until you’ve got it all in. Don’t add a new piece of paste until the other has melted away. Try not to knock all of your other ingredients around too much while you’re doing all this, either. Everything has had time to soften a bit now, so stirring too vigorously could turn it all in to mush.

Once you’ve gotten all the beurre manié in, give the pot, including the potatoes, one good stir. Try to fold the potatoes out of the bottom without tearing the softer or smaller bits to pieces.

And that’s all she wrote on this one! Come back in two hours, fish out the bay leaves, and you should have a fairly thick stew that looks similar to this:

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Thanks for reading!

TST

Pot Likker

“Pot Likker,” “Potlikker,” “Pot Liquor,” or “Collard Liquor.” I don’t care what you call it. When you combine chicken stock, chardonnay, pepper vinegar, garlic, onions, smoked pork neckbones, smoked hog jowls, and a pinch of sugar & black pepper; the resulting broth would make an old boot delicious.

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Quick Pic: Pan-Seared Salmon

Stopped by my in-laws to see my son on the way to work (I’m a day sleeper and they were babysitting) and my Mother-in-law was pan searing salmon for dinner. I realize salmon isn’t exactly “southern,” but the results were too pretty to not shoot and post.

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I can confirm that they tasted as good as they look (she was gracious enough to send me off with a plate.

7-Up Recipe Book from 1953

Saw this on Retronaut and had to put it up for my readers. Too quirky not to pass on. Seriously, check out that dressing! Weird. (Not nearly as weird as 7-Up in milk, though.)

Some of these are old standards, like 7-Up cake & 7-Up gelatin. Familiar territory for most southerners (seen those on many, many potluck dessert tables.)

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As previously noted, all credit to Retronaut for
all images. Check them out sometine. Lots and lots of historical photos.

Final thought:try subbing 7-Up for beer in a typical beer batter. Works great for fried desserts. Some fish as well (gotta spice it up to cut the sweetness though.)

Quick Pic: Spicy Citrusy Pickles

My sister-in-law and her boyfriend made these over the summer. I don’t know who’s idea this was, but i’m going to ask for the recipe. They tasted better than they looked. Which says a lot, because they’re beautiful. I really wish I could make my food look, and taste, half as good as theirs.

Quick Pic: Spicy Citrusy Pickles

 

On the Road: The Great Southern Cafe (Summer Brunch 2013)

This summer I got the opportunity to go back to one of my favorite restaurants. The Great Southern Cafe in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. This time the trip was during brunch, so my go-to favorite the “Soul Rolls” wasn’t on the menu. (See my original post about The Great Southern Cafe from 2010) but, I wasn’t deterred. I was just happy to have the opportunity to go back to a place that I thought I would probably never see again. To be quite honest, I had been thinking about it ever since I learned that we’d be going back to the Destin area for a family vacation, months before.

Maybe I was setting myself up…

This time, the trip was lackluster at best. The waitstaff was mediocre and just seemed confused about everything they were doing (never a good sign.) The food was hit-or-miss. Polling the family I got results that spanned the line from delicious to dreadful. I’m not really sure what went wrong. Maybe only the new folks work Sunday brunches, I don’t know. The overall impression I got was that no one really cared.

I really hope that this restaurant isn’t on some downward spiral. I hate it when good places go bad. I’m holding out hope that it was just an “off” day. Every place has those. Sometimes when something little goes wrong it drags everyone down with it. (Ever seen a newscaster flub up on live TV? Watch the rest of them, they’ll all start screwing up after that. It’s a domino effect.)

That being said, if I ever get the chance to go back, I’ll probably skip brunch.

The Great Southern Cafe

83 Central Square, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

850-231-7327

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Outside the restaurant

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Inside near the bar. The restaurant is only partially enclosed. The bar and half of the seating area are on a covered patio.

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Brunch menu. Summer 2013

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My son was not as excited about the restaurant as the rest of us were. Well, that and he really likes to play educational games on my wife’s phone.

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Mickey Mouse pancakes for my son. He was delighted.

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I had “The Fisherman.” Which, to be honest, was sub-standard. The fish was dry and underseasoned. The hollandaise was thin and flavorless (how can hollandaise have no taste of butter nor lemon juice?) The eggs were, well, eggs.. but the gouda grits and biscuit were delicious. I should have nosed further into the menu, but I really had a hankering for a nice piece of fish. Unfortunately they dropped the ball (even if it was a “service” menu item purely to make vacationers happy.)

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The winner of the day was my wife’s crab cake and fried green tomato benedict. It had the same bland hollandaise, but the crabcake and fried green tomatoes made up for it.




Moonshine Jelly

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Christmas gift from a friend.

Skeptical as I was, I actually did taste the faintest hint of corn squeezins. It’s in there, but you have to look for it.

All in all, pretty tasty. It’s more of a conversation piece, but that’s not to say it won’t show back up on a biscuit again.

Get it from: Hassell Creek Products

Southwestern Grits

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By popular request, here’s my recipe for Southwestern Grits. (This recipe feeds an army, better grab the “big pot.”)

Ingredients:

2 1/4 Cups of Uncooked Grits

1 Can of Chicken Broth (49.5oz)

2 Cans of Chicken Broth (8oz)

1 Can Evaporated Milk

1 Can Rotel (Drained)

1 Can Corn (Drained)

1/2 Can of Chipotles in Adobo (Minced)

1 Bell Pepper (Seeded and Chopped)

1 Medium White Onion (Chopped)

1 Poblano Pepper (Seeded and Diced)

1 tsp Kosher Salt

1 tsp Cracked Black Pepper

4 tbsp Butter (Divided)

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

1lb Shredded Cheddar

1/2 cup Whole Milk to Thin (if needed)

Start with your pot on medium head an melt 2 tablespoons of the butter to coat the bottom. Saute the green pepprer, poblano, and onion until softened. Bring the heat to medium-high and add the rotel, corn, and chipotles in adobo. Continue to saute until fragrant (about 5 minutes.) Pour all three cans of the chicken broth into the pan and make sure to to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom. Add the evaporated milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder and the remainder of the butter and bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, hold the pot at a boil for 5-7 minutes before adding the grits. Cook grits according to package directions. Once they have cooked completely you might need to add up to a 1/2 cup of whole milk to achieve the consistency you desire. Lastly, mix the cheddar in one palmful at a time until incorporated. Serve immediately.