Easy Ways to Add a Taste of the South to Your Holiday Menu
If you're looking to add a taste of Southern comfort food to your holiday menu, then we have some excellent suggestions, along with the necessary recipes, just for you! Take your holiday meal to the next level with these palate-pleasing accompaniments that will add a taste of the South that's sure to please all of your holiday guests. Since this is a busy time of year, don't worry about taking a lot of time for these. The good news is not only are these Southern comfort food recipes delicious, but they're super simple to make as well.
Here are a few of our favorite things!
Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits
Homemade buttermilk biscuits served while warm and slathered with butter are easier to make than you think—even if baking is not your forté (it isn't mine, but I can still make them and you can, too!). Repeat after me: no more biscuits from a can. This is your new mantra. You only need a few baking basics from your kitchen pantry and a little elbow grease to knead the dough, then with only 10 minutes in the oven, you'll pull out Southern-style homemade buttermilk biscuits that add a satisfying replacement for the usual boring dinner rolls. Don't forget to put buttermilk on your shopping list and if you don't have a biscuit cutter, no worries; the rim of a glass works just fine.
You can find the Flaky Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe here.
Easy Brunswick Stew
Honestly, I had never even heard of Brunswick Stew before I moved to the South. As it turns out, it's kind of a big deal here. It's a hearty stew full of a few favorite Southern ingredients that add up to big flavor. The barbecue sauce gives the Brunswick Stew a tasty tang and the lima beans, corn and tomatoes add a nice body to the stew. It's perfect for cooler days and requires low and slow cooking, so you can throw all of the ingredients in a slow cooker and let it work its magic all day long while you salivate over the scents that waft through the house. The traditional meat used in Brunswick stew is a boneless pork shoulder, but we're also including a bonus recipe that substitutes the pork for chicken and beef. Tweak it however you like and make it your own. Just remember that the key to this dish is the low, slow cooking required to keep the meat tender and easy to shred without losing any of its inherent moisture. Allow about 10-12 hours if you're using a slow cooker or crockpot. High heat won't work as well for this dish, so plan ahead for an early start to your day. Don't worry, it's worth it!
Here's the recipe for Easy Brunswick Stew with pork. You can also check out this Chicken and Beef Brisket Brunswick Stew recipe (this one uses a Dutch Oven, but you can also use the slow cooker method if you so desire).
Ah, cornbread! A truly Southern staple that goes well with any meal, but especially the warm stews (see above), chilis and other comfort-food dishes that are especially popular during this time of year. We're not going to get into the debate about whether or not you prefer a sweet or savory cornbread, we'll leave it up to your personal preference when it comes to adding sugar into your cornbread batter—and we won't judge you either way. All you need to do to this cornbread recipe is trade in your loaf pan or baking dish for a cast-iron skillet. It's a homestyle favorite that is a welcome addition to your holiday meal or any meal.
You can find the basic Skillet Cornbread recipe here. Preheat your oven to 425°. Heat a well-greased 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven 5 minutes. Pour the cornbread batter into the smokin' hot skillet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Delish!
Southern-Style Collard Greens
It wouldn't be a Southern-style holiday without collard greens. Now, don't discount this dark, leafy green dish until you've tried it. Hickory-smoked bacon and smoked ham are the secret ingredients to collard greens with the best flavor. And then there's that pot liquor (or potlikker for you real Southerners): the delicious flavor-packed broth at the bottom of the pot that is the result of the cooked down collards infused with the other flavors and spices of the dish. Do not, I repeat, do not throw that away! Serve it with the collard greens, save some for use as a base in another dish, or just lap it up with your tongue. It's up to you.
Here's the Southern-Style Collard Greens recipe that is the perfect traditional accompaniment to any main dish this holiday, or any day.
Classic Shrimp & Grits
Is there a more quintessential Southern comfort food than Shrimp and Grits? No! Warm cheesy grits topped with succulent sautéed shrimp is the perfect marriage of seafood and Southern soul food. Let's not forget the smoky bacon that serves as the base for the sautéeing in this dish. Super delicious and out-of-this-world flavor! The hardest part of this dish is the patience and attention required to stir the grits and maintain the ideal, lump-free texture. And it really isn't hard; it just takes your undivided attention for about 35 minutes or so. A willing sacrifice for an end result that promises to make your tastebuds dance with delight. The original recipe for this hearty shrimp and grits dish is from Bill Smith, executive chef at Crook's Corner, the landmark Southern restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, so you know it’s authentic.
You can find the Classic Shrimp & Grits recipe here.
Mom's Pecan Pie
Pecan pie has surprisingly few ingredients, which is what makes it a simply satisfying dessert. The pecans are the star of the dish, and that's the way it should be. Pre-packaged pie crusts make it an even quicker dessert to put together, so go ahead and save yourself the time if you need to. No one has to know! It still totally qualifies as a homemade pie. Basically once you have the pie crust placed nicely in the pie pan, it's a matter of mixing up a few ingredients, stirring in the pecans, pouring the mixture into the pan and baking it. Simple, quick and easy baking with stunning results. The way it's meant to be! Don't forget to make sure you have the light corn syrup in your pantry, as that's the one ingredient you may not usually keep on hand. Consider having some vanilla bean ice cream or homemade whipped cream for the final touch. Not necessary, but it elevates the pecan pie to the ultimate level of deliciousness.
Here's Mom's Pecan Pie recipe, just like you remember from your childhood if you grew up in the South. It's a taste of home, for sure.
All these recipes and photos are courtesy of Southern Living's Southern Comfort Food Classics section of their website. Enjoy!