Culinary creations

From county cooks ...

Patrons of The Chocolate Cottage, Robert Vaningan’s former restaurant in Oneonta, will be pleased to see another selection of his recipes this week. These recipes are from his book Cooking in the
Deep-South with Chef Bob.
Some, if not all, of his recipes include interesting tidbits on their histories.

We need recipes to publish! Why not share one of your special recipes! Fax to 625-3239, mail to P.O. Box 310, Oneonta, AL 35121, or call Jane Hill at 625-3231.

Macaroni and Cheese

Even though macaroni and cheese is not
a vegetable, we surely treat it like one in the
Deep South. Use a deep casserole dish.

1 pound macaroni pasta 4 cups shredded cheese 3 quarts water 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese 4 tablespoons salt 1 recipe cheese sauce (see below)

Bring water and salt to a boil. Add pasta and cook for about 6-8 minutes. Drain pasta, do not rinse. Pour pasta into a large bowl, add cheese sauce, shredded cheese, and parmesan cheese. Pour into a lightly buttered deep casserole dish. Top with more parmesan and some bread crumbs if desired. Bake 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Some cooks add 3-4 eggs to this recipe. The addition of eggs will make a clean cut when serving.

Cheese Sauce (for Macaroni and Cheese)

This sauce can be used for 100 ideas.
You decide what to use it with. In my book
I have used this sauce with Oysters
Florentine and Macaroni and Cheese.

5 cups milk 1 cup shredded cheese 1/2 cup blonde roux (see below) 1/4 cup Parmesan (grated) salt and pepper 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Bring milk to a boil, lower heat to simmer. Whisk in roux and bring back to a boil over high heat. Be careful not to let the pot boil over. Whisk so as not to burn sauce. After sauce has thickened, 3-5 minutes, take off heat and whisk in cheeses. Add salt and pepper. I like to add a pinch of cayenne and a pinch of paprika. Do not bring back to a boil.

Roux (for Cheese Sauce above)

2 sticks of butter or 1 cup of oil 1 cup plain flour

Roux, pronounced (rooh), is a simple mixture of oil and flour that is cooked. You can keep roux covered in the refrigerator for weeks.

Melt butter or heat oil in a wide saucepan or iron skillet. Add flour, whisking quickly so as not to burn the roux. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly

The more brown your roux is, the more flavor it has, but the darker the roux, the less thickening power it has. My general rule is 1/2 cup of roux should thicken 1 quart of stock. Also to avoid lumps, whisk cold roux into a hot stock. If you still have lumps, simply strain through a sieve.

Chicken and Dumplings

One of the Deep South’s gifts to the
world: chicken and dumplings. Fundamentally

it is a chicken soup with big, fat
noodles … You can make this ahead and
freeze in 2 to 4 portions so that you can put
together a fast and satisfying, great meal.

1 large chicken cut up in pieces (skin removed) 1 stalk celery, cut in large dice 1 carrot peeled and cut in large dice * Stock vegetables 8-10 cups chicken stock (more may be required) 1 onion cut in large dice

Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour the stock, chicken, and stock vegetables. Make sure chicken is cooked thoroughly. Remove chicken and allow to cool on a cookie sheet. Strain out the stock vegetables. Clean pot and begin sauteing the onion, celery, and carrot in oil until slightly softened. Try not to brown. Add strained stock into sauteed vegetables.

* Stock vegetables – 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 stalk of celery, rough cut.

Dumplings 2 cups plain flour salt and pepper 1/2 cup shortening 1 cup chicken stock (more or less)

Sift flour in a medium bowl. Cut in shortening as for biscuits. Add salt, pepper, and chicken stock. Mix dough with a wooden spoon or heavy metal spoon. Do not work dough too much. Roll out on a floured surface about 1/4 inch thick. Cut in strips about 3 inches wide and 4-5 inches long. Place on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for at least 1 hour.

Remove chicken from the bones and set aside. Taste stock and see if you need more salt and pepper. Bring stock to a boil and add dumplings, two or three at a time until all the dumplings are used. Cook for 7 minutes. Keep stock simmering. Add chicken. For a thicker recipe add 5-6 tablespoons of roux (a simple mixture of oil and flour that is heated; see recipe with macaroni and cheese recipe) to the boiling stock.

Note: For fluffy dumplings add 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 egg to dumpling recipe and scoop with a spoon into stock.