Category Archives: Arkansas

Ham with Redeye Gravy – Arkansas

Ham with redeye gravy is one of those regional specialties that probably came about in an effort to use up every bit of leftover food. It’s made with coffee which gives it a very distinctive taste. If you love coffee with your morning coffee, this will get your motor running.

Ham with Redeye Gravy - Arkansas

Food historians are not sure where the name came from. Some say it was because when the gravy cooled somewhat, the fat separated from the other liquid and formed a circle that looked like a red eye. Others attribute the name to former President Andrew Jackson who asked his hungover cook to make some gravy to go with his grits that was as red as the cook’s eyes.

Purists say that redeye gravy should only be made with ham drippings, coffee and a little sugar to counter the bitter of the coffee. But in our taste tests we decided that that version was too thin and runny and opted for a version thickened with a bit of flour.

Little Rock Central High School played a central role in the civil rights movement as nine African-American teenagers bravely battled angry crowds to attend school after the Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education. Still in use today, the high school can be toured by reservation.

Ham with Redeye Gravy

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2-3 ham steaks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup strong coffee or espresso
  • ¼ cup milk or cream
  • Pepper to taste
  • Sugar to taste (optional)
  • Ham
  • 3-4 fried eggs (for serving)
  • Buttermilk biscuits or grits (for serving)

Instructions

In a saucepan over medium heat, add ham. Cook until fat is rendered and ham is browned. Remove ham and set aside. Add butter to dripping in saucepan. When melted, add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until translucent. Add 1 tablespoon flour and whisk with onion mixture for about one minute. Add coffee and continue whisking. Add milk or cream. Keep on heat until desired consistency is reached. Season with pepper and sugar. Serve over ham and with fried eggs, along with buttermilk biscuits or grits.

 

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Playin’ Possum: Possum Pie – Arkansas

When we first heard about this pie, we had the same reaction that most people have. “It’s not made with possum, is it?” We assure you, it’s not (eww). This delicious concoction that should be the official

Possum Pie - Arkansas

state dessert of Arkansas goes by other names in the south including Striped Delight, Chocolate Layer Pie and Four Layer Delight. A sandy bottom crust is the base upon which a cream cheesy layer sits. A chocolate pudding layer comes next, followed by a whipped cream topping. No one is really sure where the name comes from, but the best reasoning is that this pie plays possum by pretending to be something else – in this case the whipped cream hiding the chocolate filling.

We have seen lots of variations of this dessert including those made with a graham cracker crust, instant chocolate pudding and Cool Whip for the topping. You can go that route, but we prefer our version with no processed ingredients.    

If this pie isn’t a near-religious experience, check out Thorncrown Chapel near Eureka Springs. This stunning architectural masterpiece is comprised of 6,000 square feet of glass and 425 windows. Designed to blend into its surroundings, the chapel has won numerous architectural awards and is a must-see if you are in the Ozarks.

Possum Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

First Layer

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans, toasted

Second Layer

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Third Layer

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Salt, a pinch
  • 3 tablespoon corn starch
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups whole or 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Fourth Layer

  • Whipped cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • Chocolate shavings (optional)

Instructions

 Place all pecans needed for recipe in a skillet on medium heat until they just begin to turn fragrant and brown, about 3 to 5 minutes (watch closely so they don’t burn). Remove from heat and let cool. Divide for each layer and set aside. Line a 9X9 square pan with aluminum foil, making sure the corners are tight.

For the first layer: Combine melted butter, flour and pecans. Spread the dough evenly over the bottom of the foil-lined pan, pressing down with your fingers. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until the dough just begins to brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

For the third layer: While the first layer bakes, in a medium saucepan, add the sugar, cocoa powder, flour, salt and corn starch. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks until broken up, then milk. On medium heat, add milk mixture to dry ingredients, whisking constantly until pudding begins to boil and thicken, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Let cool about 5 minutes. Pour pudding in a shallow bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface so a skin does not form. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

For second layer: In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and milk. Beat with electric mixture for 2-3 minutes or combined.

To make pie: Spread cream cheese mixture over the dough base. Remove pudding from fridge. Carefully spread pudding over the cream cheese layer. Top with whipped cream, toasted pecans and chocolate shavings if desired. To serve, remove pie from the pan by lifting up by the foil. Transfer to a serving platter.

Arkansas Rice Reigns

 

The Arkansas Delta is the sister region to the Mississippi Delta, both sharing an alluvial plain that is home to small rural towns, migratory birds, and large, flat tracts of farmland. One of the key crops grown on the Arkansas side is rice – that versatile grain that feeds a good portion of the world. A little more than a century ago, a farmer by the name of W.H. Fuller took a hunting trip to Louisiana where he saw rice growing. Thinking that the agricultural conditions in Arkansas would be quite similar, he brought the grain back, and is credited with starting the rice industry in the state. And a good job he did — because today, Arkansas is the leading producer of rice in the United States.AR & LA.003 sign

 

 

With so many ways to prepare rice, we opted to bring you a recipe that utilizes brown rice, which is a less processed whole grain without the husk. It retains the bran and germ layers, making it a Continue reading Arkansas Rice Reigns