Thanksgiving is almost here. This is a time of family, football, and food. All across the US we’ll be indulging in huge amounts of delicious treats. We are no different here in the Deep South, although some of our treats may be a bit different than other parts of the country. Sure, we do turkey and dressing, but we may prepare that dressing a bit differently. Our cornbread dressing starts not with packaged stuffing, but with a freshly baked pone (yes, pone) of cornbread. A favorite side dish is country yams. I’m old fashioned. I don’t want a casserole made of canned sweet potatoes and marshmellows. I slice up some sweet potatoes and fry them with spices and corn syrup – true country yams. Which leads to a lot of our treats, all things fried, including the turkey sometimes. We’ll wash it all down with oceans of sticky sweet tea.
We also don’t always serve turkey. This year I’m going with chicken and dumplings, Southern style dumplings, wafer thin and boiled with the chicken. The side dishes will be complements to that Southern treat. One side dish will be a very specific Deep Southern treat, boiled green peanuts. You all know the marvel that is peanuts and the multitude of ways they can be served, but boiled green peanuts have a clearly defined geographic region. Georgia, of course, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana are the main areas where you’ll encounter a population that loves theses summer time treasures. Pulled out of the ground before they begin to dry, boiled with salt, and served. Some folks add hot sauce for some zing. Once prepared they can be frozen and provide a lovely taste of summer in the dead of winter. I’ve got some waiting in my deep freeze and will serve them with our chicken and dumplings. That sweet tea is the perfect complement to those salty boiled peanuts.
We will start our day with grits. Served with butter, salt, and pepper, they are easy to fix for lots of people.
A Deep South Thanksgiving!