Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Twenty Two – Alabama – Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce

Welcome to week 22 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the state of Alabama, who joined the union on December 14, 1819.

First, my apologies for the late post. Being that I am a pale Irish/English/German girl who grew up with no fear of a good sunburn, I now pay the price with my dermatologist, who gets to take parts of my face away due to Basal Cell Carcinoma. I am happy that it is the ‘remove and forget about it’ type of skin cancer, but it is still not a pleasant experience. Yesterday involved such a procedure, including 5 stitches and a wicked headache from the local anesthetic. Despite that, I did make dinner last night, but I just ran out of gas when it came to writing a blog, so here we are on Wednesday making up for lost time.

Ok. Moving right along!

Alabama. The last state we are visiting in the good old south. Nicknamed the “Heart of Dixie”. There is a lot about Alabama I don’t like – Slavery, Succession from US during the Civil War, Segregation, Unfair Voting Practices, Montgomery Bus Boycott. Yikes. So let’s focus on some nicer things about the state.

~ Alabama was the first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday, in 1836.
~ The Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American flying unit in the U.S. military, were trained in Alabama.
~ The Saturn V rocket that made it possible for humans to land on the moon was designed in Huntsville, Alabama.
~ Baseball player Henry Louis (Hank) Aaron was born in Mobile in 1934.
~ And, Alabama introduced the Mardi Gras to the western world.

Being that Alabama has similar cuisine to most of its neighbors, it became a challenge to find the right recipe to make this week. I actually fought the obvious for the whole week. Every time I went on my search, the same thing kept coming up, over and over again. Was the universe trying to tell me something? Maybe. I finally called “Uncle” and went with it. So here we have Alabama White Barbecue Sauce. Created in 1925 by Big Bob Gibson of Decatur, this mayonnaise and vinegar based sauce is used on chicken all over the state. They marinade with it, baste with it, and then put some on the table as a condiment to dip with it.

AL white bbq ingredients
Alabama White Barbecue Sauce Ingredients

For all my misgivings, I have to admit it’s really good. The tanginess of the vinegar, combined with some good heat, make this a perfect complement to chicken. Since I am not the grill master in our household, I used a fry pan method and finished it in the oven. I imagine that using this on a slow grill would be amazing and I will definitely give this another try in the spring when Matt is around to fire up the grill.

I give this one a solid A. Thanks Alabama. You surprised me. See you next week in Maine!

AL white bbq chicken
Chicken with Alabama White Barbecue Sauce

Alabama White Barbecue Sauce Recipe (adapted from several sources, but mostly from amazingribs.com, official recipe of Bob Gibson)

Ingredients

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup apple juice
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 Tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper (yes, that says Tablespoon)
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon finely ground cayenne pepper

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons olive oil (if using stove method)

Method

Whisk together all the ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, if possible, to allow the flavors to meld.

Take ½ cup of the sauce and add to a plastic Ziploc bag. Add the chicken and allow it to marinade for several hours or even overnight.

AL white bbq marinade
Marinade your chicken!

Grill method. Heat grill for indirect heat. Place 1/4 cup of the reserved BBQ sauce in a bowl next to the grill. Cook chicken for 7 minutes then baste with BBQ sauce. Turn chicken and baste with BBQ sauce again and cook for 5 – 7 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

OR

Stove method. Preheat oven to 375° Place 1/4 cup of the reserved BBQ sauce in a bowl. Heat a large, oven safe fry pan (I used my Calphalon anodized) over medium high heat until water droplets dance on the surface. Add the oil and roll it around the pan to coat. Add the marinated chicken to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and baste with some of the sauce. Place the pan in the oven and cook for another 8-12 minutes, turning one more time and basting with more sauce, until chicken is cooked through.

Transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve chicken with the remaining sauce.

AL white bbq chicken
Chicken with Alabama White Barbecue Sauce

Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Twenty One – Illinois – Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

Welcome to week 21 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the state of Illinois, who joined the union on December 3, 1818. I was going to write about Abraham Lincoln, but found out that although he called Illinois his home, he wasn’t actually from there. Seriously. He was born in Kentucky, and lived there and in Indiana until the age of 21. Considered by historians and scholars as one of our three greatest presidents, I encourage you to do your own research on him to truly understand what he was about. Many in today’s presidential race use his name as the most famous Republican, but to truly understand him, you have to realize that he was a moderate, not a conservative, and he got things done by working with people who were both in his party and across the aisle. Our politicians of today should stop spouting his name and understand that how he accomplished things was not by the methods being deployed today.

Alright then, enough about that.

Unlike last week’s Mississippi, who lacked its own unique food identity, I quickly focused in on the one thing about Illinois that I already knew and just had to try, Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. Honestly, I didn’t even go searching beyond this dish, because it really is what this state is all about. And a side note (complete coincidence)…a few weeks ago was Josh’s 17th birthday and I realized that I didn’t have round cake pans. It’s really hard to make a layer cake when you don’t have the pans to bake them in. Ugh. About a week ago I was at my favorite cooking store and grabbed some nice 9 inch round pans. I wasn’t even thinking about Deep Dish Pizza at the time. Perhaps my subconscious was speaking to me.

A little history about this dish. The origins of what we call pizza today traces back to flatbreads from ancient Greece and Rome. This evolved over time to a poor man’s meal in the Italian city of Naples. Pizza (from the Italian word pinsere, which means to pound or stamp – a reference to the flat dough) began to take shape with the working class, who needed an inexpensive and easy meal. It eventually grew out of the poorest areas and spread across Italy and Europe, and eventually carried over to the New World. In Chicago, Neapolitan immigrants arrived, and hungry for a taste of home, began making their thin crust version across the area.

Eventually two entrepreneurs, Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo, decided to create something different. They wanted to make a new Italian-American version of pizza. In 1943, the pair opened Pizzeria Uno in Chicago’s Near North Side neighborhood, serving their new style pizza made in a deeper dish, with a crunchier crust and inverted layers – a far cry from the classic Neapolitan version. It caught on and soon this Chicago created pizza was no longer a Naples dish, it was their own.

There are others who offer up their claim to this unique dish, including Malnati’s Pizza, Pizano’s and Gino’s East. In my research, it sort of sounds a little like the Philly Cheesesteak wars here in Philadelphia. All I know is that this is a real great pizza and I was excited to give it a try.

I actually settled on a recipe that seems to take its roots from Malnati’s, which uses both corn meal and butter in its crust. From everything I read it is all about the crust, which needs to be flaky in order to really take on the deep dish with all that cheese and sauce. Although there are a number of steps, it isn’t complicated and the dough can hold in the refrigerator for a day if you want to make it ahead of time.

The end result? Delish. The crust was crispy with a very distinct buttery flavor. I think the addition of the corn meal is also important, as it added texture and firmness to the crust. The sauce was simple but tasty. I added more onion and garlic than the recipe called for, and also hit it with my emulsion blender to break up the tomato. Josh thought it needed more cheese, and he is not a big fan of homemade pizza sauce, so it was just ok for him. I’m thinking that Matt will think this is really delicious (although he will complain about the high carbs!). Overall, I give this a solid A.

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Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

Recipe (tweaked very slightly from centercutcook.com)

DOUGH INGREDIENTS

3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
1 1/4 cups room temperature water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon olive oil

SAUCE INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely diced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1- 28 ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon oil

OTHER INGREDIENTS

4 cups fresh grated mozzarella cheese
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

DOUGH DIRECTIONS

In your food processor with the dough blade attached, or in a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast.

Add in melted butter and water and mix for several minutes until the dough is smooth. Knead dough by hand if you are not able to obtain a smooth consistency after 4-5 minutes.

When the dough is smooth, line a bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl. Loosely cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise for about an hour.

Lightly flour your work surface or use a non-stick mat and turn the dough onto it. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 15 by 12 inch rectangle.

Spread 4 tablespoons of butter over the rectangle of dough.

Starting at the short end, roll the dough into a log.

Flatten the log of dough into an 18 by 4 inch rectangle using the rolling pin and your hands.

Cut the 18 x 4 inch rectangle of dough into 2- 9 inch pieces.

Fold each piece of dough into thirds, then pinch the seems together to form a ball of dough. Place both balls of dough in the refrigerator for about 40 minutes so that the butter can firm up.

While the dough is in the fridge, make the sauce (directions below), and grate the cheese.

After the dough has rested in the fridge for 40 minutes, roll each piece into a 13 inch circle.

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

SAUCE DIRECTIONS

In a large saucepan melt butter. Then add in onion and cook the onion until it is translucent.

Stir in garlic, and cook for a minute or two.

Add in salt, oregano, sugar, and crushed tomatoes.

Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. When the sauce has reduced and there is only about 2 1/2 cups remaining, stir in parsley, basil and olive oil. Remove from heat.

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Pizza Sauce

ASSEMBLY DIRECTIONS

Lightly grease two 9-inch cake pans with a bit of olive oil. You are making two 9-inch pizzas.

Arrange each 13-inch circle of dough in a cake pan, using your fingers to push the dough up along the sides.

Top the dough with 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, the sausage, then add 1 1/4 cups sauce, per pie.

 

Top with 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese.

Bake the pizzas on the middle-rack for 20-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Allow the pizzas to cool for about 5-10 minutes, then slice and enjoy! This recipe makes 2 9-inch pizzas that will serve 4-6 people.

 

Thanks everyone and enjoy! See you next week in Alabama (Yikes).

 

Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Twenty – Mississippi – King Ranch Chicken

Mississippi King Ranch Chicken

Welcome to week 20 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the state of Mississippi, who joined the union on December 10, 1817. I will admit that this state was a challenge for me. They are again (and I apologize if this offends), a state that has a more dominant neighbor who sort of hordes the culinary and historical world. Mississippi is a bit of a ‘shadow’ when it comes to its Bayou and Cajun roots, with Louisiana being much more dominant in both areas. When searching out recipes that were specifically Mississippian, I found that they were so close to their neighbor that they were not unique. Think Gumbo, Jambalaya and Étouffée. I have done all of them, so where do we go?

If you search online, you will find two very distinct recipes; Mississippi Mud Pie and Mississippi Roast. The pie is actually not a Mississippi recipe. It is from California, of all places, and is named because the color reminded the creator of, well, Mississippi mud. The second one is actually from the state, but not my style. It is a crock pot recipe that uses packaged ranch dressing mix AND packaged gravy mix along with some pepperoncini to cook up a pot roast. Processed and full of sodium. Not thanks. It was created by a woman in the state, who in turn shared it with someone who wrote a blog about it, which then went viral. The creator did not name the dish, and has since been surprised that it has become one of the most ‘pinned’ recipes on Pinterest. A nice story, but it’s not what I made for dinner tonight.

I ended up at Barnes and Noble today, and spent some time perusing the cookbook aisle in search of some good southern dishes. What I found was many things that were southern, but I never actually found anything that said it was specifically Mississippian. What I did learn is that the state is known for its Delta tamales, sort of a spin on the traditional Mexican version, but with Cajun spices. Now, I have attempted tamales before and was not pleased with how they came out, and it is also not the season to find corn husks, so again I was stuck. But what I did find was a dish called KING RANCH CHICKEN, which took the idea of the southern tamale seasoning and turned it into an enchilada style dish. The cookbook did not give a specific history of the actual recipe, but there is some reference to it originating in Texas and moving to Mississippi with Mexican migrant workers.

This recipe uses a lot of different pepper seasonings, with the result having quite a kick, but not enough to make you run for the milk to kill the burn. It is a slow heat, with complex flavors that made the dish very interesting. It definitely has strong Tex-Mex influence, which surprises me that I am presenting it as a southern recipe, but whatever. I loved it. Josh thought it was great. I give it a solid A, and think that it leaves me with good thoughts on this state with a big neighbor. Take that Louisiana.

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King Ranch Chicken

King Ranch Chicken (from a cook book at Barnes and Noble; of which I cannot remember the name…oops).

Ingredients

8 tablespoons (1 stick), plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
2 cups chicken stock
2 (4.5 ounce) cans chopped green chiles, drained
1 (28 ounce) can diced original RoTel tomatoes, well drained
4 poblana chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped *see note
1 large onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
3 cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, shredded
12 corn tortillas
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack or pepper Jack cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9”x13” baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter and set aside.

To make the sauce, melt 5 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the milk and stock, whisking to avoid lumps. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce becomes think and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the green chiles, tomatoes and poblanos. Taste and season with salt and pepper; set aside.

To prepare the filling, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions, bell pepper and mushrooms and sauté for 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and the mushrooms have given up their moisture. Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded chicken, tossing to combine.

To assemble, spoon ½ cup of the sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Arrange 6 tortillas on top of the sauce to cover the bottom evenly. Top with half of the chicken mixture, followed by ½ of the remaining sauce. Sprinkle on half of the cheese and half of the cilantro. Top with the remaining tortillas to cover the surface evenly. Repeat the layering with the remaining chicken, sauce, cheese and cilantro. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until heated through and bubbly. Allow the dish to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

*Roasting a poblano is simple. Take the whole peppers and place on a baking sheet. Turn oven to broil, and roast the peppers 4 inches from the flame, for 6 minutes a side. The pepper should be well charred on all sides. Immediately place the peppers in a plastic bag and seal. Once cooled, remove from the bag. The charred skin should remove easily, and you can then seed and chop them. If you cannot find poblano peppers, you can also use Anaheim or Jalapeno.

Enjoy! See you next week in Illinois!

Mississippi King Ranch Chicken
King Ranch Chicken

Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Nineteen – Indiana – Indiana Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Welcome to week 19 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the state of Indiana, who joined the union on December 11, 1816. Indiana is often referred to as The Hoosier State, and I wanted to know where this odd name came from. It seems to date back as far as the early 1830s. Honestly, I never did find out! There are about a half dozen explanations as to where it originated, but none of them has ever been defined as the “real” history. Here are two of the most popular.

The Who’s Here Story. This story describes Indianans as a nosy bunch, and would call out “Who’s Here” to every house they passed. There is also a version that a homeowner would call out “Who’s ‘ere” when someone knocked on their door. This evolved over time to Hoosier.

Then there is The Who’s Ear Story. This one is attributed to James Whitcomb Riley, author of “The Hoosier Poet,” who facetiously suggested the term “Hoosier” was born of the unruly early settlers in Indiana. Early Indianans were known to engage in vicious bar brawls where gouging, scratching and even sometimes the biting off a nose or an ear would occur. So common were these incidents that when a settler entering a tavern the next morning saw an ear on the floor, he would nudge it casually with his shoe and ask “Who’s ear?”

Take your pick. I personally like the “Who’s Ear” story the best, mostly because it is just crazy enough to be true. And the lovely people of Indiana (I have a brother in law that lives there) will probably say that it is total balderdash!

Now I have to say, when searching for foods from Indiana, the pickings were pretty slim. So slim in fact, that I had the choice to make either one savory dish or one dessert. Since I didn’t want to make a dessert, I am presenting to you the (apparently) famous Indiana Pork Tenderloin Sandwich.

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Indiana Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

This sandwich is a cousin of the German Wiener Schnitzel. History has it that it originated in Huntington IN at a restaurant called Nick’s Kitchen. Trivia note… Huntington is the home of Dan Quayle… former VP and Iran-Contra dude. Anyway, there seems to be some rivalry between Indiana and Iowa about who makes it better, who created it…blah blah blah. I am going to put it out there that I think Indiana has this one.

The making of this sandwich is really very easy. You pound out a slice of tenderloin, marinade it in buttermilk and spice mixture, bread it and fry it. Serve it up on a bun with mayo, mustard, pickle, lettuce, tomato and onion. Done.

Verdict… very tasty, although I still have not mastered the breading/frying thing, so the coating separated from the meat when trying to eat the sandwich. For all the spice in the buttermilk marinade I would have thought it would be spicier and more flavorful, but it was very mild. Josh said it would be better with chicken. I give this an A-.

And before I go I am going to add an observation. When it comes to recipes of the US States, I am finding a very disturbing trend of frying, breading, buttering… caloring (yeah, I know that is not a word)! I am hoping that our remaining states will offer up some more healthy fare. But I am committed to finishing our journey wherever it takes us. I just hope I don’t gain 10 pounds getting to Hawaii!

See you next week in Mississippi. (Why do I think this one will be fattening)

Recipe for Indiana Pork Tenderloin Sandwich (from thespicekitrecipes.com)

Ingredients

2 lbs. pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk mixed with 2 Tbsps. lemon juice or vinegar)
2 eggs
1 tsp. each black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt
½ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. cayenne
2 sleeves saltine crackers
1 cup all purpose flour mixed with 1 tsp. salt
Peanut or vegetable oil for frying
8 hamburger buns

Toppings

Lettuce
Tomato
Onion
Pickle
Mayonnaise
Mustard

Instructions

After you trim the fat and silver skin off the tenderloin you can either 1) cut the the loin in 3 inch slices, then butterfly each slice and pound to a ¼ inch thickness or 2) butterfly the whole tenderloin down the center lengthwise and pound to a ¼ inch thickness then cut into desired pieces. Be sure you use the flat side of a mallet and piece of plastic wrap on top of the loin when pounding the meat out.

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Pound pork to 1/4″

In a large, shallow bowl or pan whisk together the milk, eggs, spices, salt and sugar together.

Add the tenderloin to the milk mixture making sure the pork is completely covered and marinate 4 hours.

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Marinade pork in buttermilk spice mixture

Blend crackers in a food processor to make coarse crumbs then transfer to a shallow dish.

Put flour mixed with salt in a shallow dish.

Heat 1 inch of oil in a frying pan on medium heat.

Take each piece of pork and dredge both sides in the flour, then dip back into the milk mixture, and then coat each side in the cracker crumbs.

Add to the hot oil and fry in batches until browned and crispy, about 3-5 minutes per side.

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Fry in oil for 3-5 minutes a side

Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

Build your sandwich and eat!

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Enjoy! Pork Tenderloin Sandwich