Tag Archives: cayenne

Hot Tamales – Mississippi

Mississippi boasts a Hot Tamale Trail. Yes, you read that right. Tamales ― those delectable packets of corn-based dough stuffed with pork, beef, chicken, cheese or vegetables and cooked in a corn

Hot Tamales - Mississippihusk ― are usually more associated with Mexican culture. But the trail was created by the Southern Foodways Alliance to celebrate this ubiquitous dish, which finds its way from Tunica in the north, all the way to Lumberton in the south.

No one is really sure of the tamale’s origins in this area of the country. Some say U.S. soldiers brought them back from Mexico after the Mexican-American War which took place in the middle of the 19th century. Others think African-Americans adopted the recipe from Mexicans who labored alongside them in cotton fields early in the 20th century. Hot tamales are usually made with pork rather than beef or chicken, and are spicier than their Latin-counterparts.

Tamales are certainly labor intensive but this recipe makes a ton and they freeze beautifully. You can also make the meat on day one, and then make the dough and simmer them the following day. More hands make light work so grab a friend or two and make it a tamale party.

If a road trip to Mississippi is in your future, check out Southern Foodways Alliance Hot Tamale Trail Map.

Hot Tamales

  • Servings: approx. 36-48 tamales
  • Difficulty: difficult
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Ingredients

For filling:

  • 7-8 lb. pork shoulder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, sliced thickly
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 3-6 cups chicken stock

For dough:

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 cups MaSeCa brand masa harina
  • 5-6 cups reserved cooking liquid from meat

To finish:

  • 16 oz. package, dried corn husks

 Instructions

For the filling: Take pork shoulder and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large heavy pot on medium heat, heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil. When hot, add the pork, searing on all sides until well browned. Remove the meat and set aside. Add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Return meat to pot, and then add enough chicken stock so that meat is covered. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until meat is very tender and falling off bone, about 2 1/2 hours.

While meat is cooking, take corn husks and separate them. Place in a large bowl. Add enough hot water so that they are completely submerged, adding another bowl on top of them if necessary to keep them underwater. Let corn husks soak for about 2 hours.

When meat is done, remove from it the pot and reserve cooking liquid, discarding skin, fat and other solids. When meat is cool enough to handle, shred meat from bone, again discarding fat and bone. Dice meat into smaller pieces. Add spices (chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, salt, oregano and cayenne pepper) and stir until well coated. Set aside.

For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add baking powder, then add salt. With mixer on low, add masa harina gradually, alternating with half cups of reserved cooking liquid. To test if done, drop a pea sized ball of dough into a glass of cold water, the ball should float to the top. If it does not, add a ¼ teaspoon of baking powder and continue mixing a few minutes more to incorporate more air into the dough.

To assemble: Remove a corn husk from the water and pat until dry. Fan out so that wide part is closest to you. Take ¼ cup of dough and spread thinly in an even rectangle, leaving about an inch of space on the left side of the husk. Add 2 tablespoons of meat in center of dough rectangle. Carefully fold the husk over so that the right side of rectangle meets the left side. Gently press to seal closed and then flatten tamale slightly to ensure even cooking. Tuck the thin end over. Stack tamales on a sheet pan and continue until you run out of filling or dough.

To steam tamales: Add one or two inches of water into a large pot. Add steamer insert. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low so that water is simmering. Stack tamales vertically, open end up, folded side toward the water, making sure they are not crowded. Place a few extra corn husks on top and cover with a lid. Steam for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, keeping an eye on the water so that it does not evaporate. Tamales are done when they easily peel away from the husks.

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Nashville Hot Chicken – Tennessee

Nashville is a fun town, boasting more than 160 live music venues, giving Music City its well-earned moniker. Hot chicken hails from these parts and was born from revenge. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack

Nashville Hot Chicken - Tennesseemay be the oldest establishment to make this dish, dating back to the 1930s. The story is that Thorton Prince III was a womanizer. His girlfriend found out about his philandering and added spicy cayenne pepper to his chicken to punish him. However, Prince liked it so much, he decided to open a chicken joint with it on the menu.

You can make Nashville Hot Chicken yourself with a little bit of patience as fried chicken takes a bit of time. Two tablespoons of cayenne pepper is not a typo and is unbelievably the amount called for if you want the chicken “mild.” Reduce to one tablespoon if you are really spice-adverse and increase to 6 tablespoons for “hot” ― if you dare.

Want to see the recording studio where Elvis recorded more than 250 hits? Check out Historic RCA Studio B, an unassuming beige brick building sometimes called the “Home of a Thousand Hits.” Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, and many others recorded here.

Nashville Hot Chicken

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 1 3-4 lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the egg dredge:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon Frank’s Red Hot sauce

For the flour dredge:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

For finishing:

  • Vegetable oil (for frying), 6 cups
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup used frying oil

Instructions

At least 3 hours before cooking, generously salt and pepper the chicken pieces. Let marinate in the refrigerator.

When ready to cook, heat oil in a large pot with deep sides. Prepare egg dredge by combining eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce in a shallow baking dish. In another shallow dish, prepare flour dredge by combining flour and salt. One at a time, dip chicken pieces first in egg dredge, then in flour dredge. When oil is 325 degrees, fry chicken, working in batches, frying a few pieces at a time. Turn pieces occasionally to achieve consistent color. When chicken is deep golden brown or reaches 160 degrees internally, remove to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet lined with newspaper or paper towels. Let oil temperature return to 325 between batches.

To finish: In a small bowl, combine cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Take ½ cup of the used cooking oil, and add to bowl. Stir well. With a brush, baste pieces of chicken with hot oil mixture. Serve chicken while still warm.

Spicy is Nicy: Kicked Up Peanut Brittle – Georgia

 America has had a love affair with the peanut for nearly 250 years but you can thank WWII and its accompanying meat shortage for making peanut butter a household staple.

Kicked Up Peanut Brittle

Georgia is the country’s top producer of peanuts. Along with peaches, which we talked about here, and pecans, peanuts make up the three Big Ps in the Peachtree State. At 1.7 million tons in 2012, Georgia produced half the peanuts in the country. George Washington Carver is considered the father of the peanut. This brilliant botanist discovered over 300 uses for the little legume. And don’t forget about Jimmy Carter, the country’s 39th president. He hailed from Plains, Ga. and took over his family’s peanut farm before embarking on a political career.

If you like peanut brittle as much as we do, you’ll love this super easy and quick microwave recipe. The addition of baking soda makes the candy more chewy than crunchy. We used cayenne and cinnamon to add some pizazz, just leave them out if you don’t like it spicy.

The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, May 28-31, 2015, features the best of the South’s food and drink and highlights the agricultural products of the region.

Kicked Up Peanut Brittle

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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 Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups dry roasted peanuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil or butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

Instructions

Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, toss the peanuts with the cayenne pepper and cinnamon until the peanuts are coated. Set aside.   In a microwave safe bowl, add sugar and corn syrup. Microwave on high for approx. 3 minutes. Add nut mixture and microwave 3-4 minutes longer or until the mixture turns a light copper color. Add coconut oil or butter and vanilla and stir. Add baking powder, taking care as the candy will foam up. Stir to incorporate. Spread out onto baking sheet and spread as thin as possible with a spatula sprayed with cooking spray. Let cool. Break into bite sized pieces.