Sorry folks, but I am still stuck on comfort food these days, and with cold fronts heading our way again, I might as well double down. Soups, stews, and pasta are high on my comfort food favorite lists, as well as a big handful of southern classics, like fried chicken and fried fish. I made collard greens and cornbread for a group of friends recently and all was well received. It’s just that time of the year.
I hate to rant, but good food comes from good ingredients and proper technique. Every shortcut you take may save you some time, but it will not make your food more delicious. I always make my cornbread with Grit Girl cornmeal and always make my collards with a delicious ham stock that has been slowly simmered for at least an hour. It costs a little more, and takes a little more time, but is completely worth it in the end.
When I was a kid, my mom often made a very good roast beef, but the next day we had a beef stew that was even better. It was also served with buttered cornbread and is one of the most delicious combinations I know of. Pasta with a good, hearty Bolognaise ranks high on my fall list of good things to eat, as does red beans and rice. But I have a confession to make, as a bachelor, I do eat out quite often. I love to cook for friends, but my enthusiasm wains when I am the only one at the table.
One of my favorite dishes is pho from Henry’s Cafe and Bakery in D’Iberville. As I have told you before, the much-missed Chef Anthony Bourdain, described pho as “a steaming bowl of goodness,” and I would have to heartily agree. A large bowl of steaming hot pho, made with beef stock that was made from roasted bones, simmered for hours, with a big helping of noodles, thin slices of beef and a bowl full of vegetable garnishes just can’t be beaten. But there is one more fall and winter-time favorite that I often crave, and that is chicken and dumplings. It is a recipe that I have not mastered yet, but I know a place that makes a great rendition, and that place is Jacked Up Coffee on Howard Avenue in Biloxi. It is not on the menu but they almost always have it, and on a chilly fall day, there is simply nothing better.
I do have pasta any time of the year, and I do not object to a good beef stew, even in the summertime, but there is just something about chicken and dumplings that calls my name when the weather turns cool. The weather is definitely getting cooler, and I can hear my name being called right now.