A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Black-Eyed Peas & Collards Country-Fried Steak & Gravy Bourbon Pecan Pie Skillet Cornbread [caption id="attachment_179136" align="aligncenter" width="1140"] Credit Enabled[/caption] Black-Eyed Peas & Collards Yield: 4 servings. 1 cup dried black-eyed

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Black-Eyed Peas & Collards Country-Fried Steak & Gravy Bourbon Pecan Pie Skillet Cornbread [caption id="attachment_179136" align="aligncenter" width="1140"] Credit Enabled[/caption] Black-Eyed Peas & Collards Yield: 4 servings. 1 cup dried black-eyed

Southern Sweethearts: 4 Recipes That Combine Classic Ingredients

photograph by Matt Hulsman

Black-Eyed Peas & Collards

Yield: 4 servings.

1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 tablespoon butter
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon light brown sugar
3 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into small pieces
1 bay leaf
1 bunch collards, destemmed
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the black-eyed peas overnight in 4 cups of water.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the onion, garlic powder, sugar, bacon, and bay leaf. Cover the pan and leave it for 2 minutes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the bacon starts to crisp.

Drain the peas and pour them into the saucepan. Cover them with cold water and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 30 minutes to 2 hours. The peas are done when you can easily squish them on the side of the pot with the back of a spoon; check tenderness every 30 minutes. Add more water if needed.

Stack the collard green leaves on top of each other and roll tightly. Slice the leaves and then cut in half.

When the peas are cooked, add the collards to the pot and cover. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground pepper, then stir. Taste the liquid and peas and add salt as needed. Cover the pan and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. When the collards are tender, turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaf. Serve over rice or with cornbread.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Country-Fried Steak & Gravy

Yield: 4 servings.

4 cube steaks (about ⅓ pound each)
1½ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt, divided
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon hot sauce 2 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil

For the gravy:
4 tablespoons grease (reserved from steak)
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 to 3 cups whole milk

½ cup heavy whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste

In a shallow bowl, whisk together flour, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, bak- ing soda, and baking powder. Set aside. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together buttermilk, hot sauce, and eggs. Set aside.

Pat cube steaks dry with a paper towel, removing as much moisture as possible. Season with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes and pat dry again with paper towel.

Dredge the cube steaks in the flour mixture, shaking off excess, then dredge in the buttermilk-egg mixture, letting excess drip off, and then a second time in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Place breaded cube steaks on a sheet pan or metal rack and press any remaining flour mixture into the cube steaks, making sure that the entire steak is completely coated. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 250°. Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet over medium-high, heat vegetable oil to 340°. Place two steaks at a time into the pan and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Do not flip more than once.

Remove steaks from pan and drain on paper towels. Transfer to a wire rack and place in preheated oven. Reduce skillet heat to medium. Pour the remaining grease into a heat-safe bowl. Keep all remnants of meat in the pan.

For the gravy: Return 4 tablespoons of the steak grease to the hot skillet. Whisk in flour and continue whisking for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Combine the cream and milk and slowly drizzle about 2½ cups into the skillet, whisking constantly. Continue whisking and bring the gravy to a simmer. Cook until the gravy is smooth and creamy, about 5 to 7 minutes. If the gravy gets too thick, add a little more milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Yield: 8 servings.

1 unbaked refrigerated pie crust
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup dark corn syrup
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
½ cup pecan halves

Preheat oven to 375°. Place pie crust in pie pan and crimp the edges to form a decorative edge. Mix together eggs, sugar, corn syrups, butter, bourbon, vanilla, and salt until well blended.

Prick the sides and bottom of the pie shell with a fork. Spread the chopped pecans on the bottom and pour the egg mixture over them. Place pecan halves on top of egg mixture, forming a circle inside the edge of the pie crust.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until just set around the edges but still slightly loose in the center. Place on a rack to cool slightly.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Skillet Cornbread

Yield: 6 servings.

1¼ cups yellow cornmeal
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole buttermilk
3 tablespoons bacon drippings, plus extra
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425°. Place cast-iron skillet in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, and 3 tablespoons of bacon drippings. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Remove skillet from oven and carefully oil the pan with vegetable oil using a paper towel. Pour batter into hot skillet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are crispy and top has turned golden brown.

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This story was published on Jan 14, 2020

Lynn Wells

Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.