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24 Iconic Southern Dishes You Need to Know How to Cook

24 Iconic Southern Dishes You Need to Know How to Cook

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There’s just something about Southern food. As cliché as it may sound, there’s an innate sense of character and soul to it. You get the feeling that there’s a real trail of history behind every dish. And of course, there is a deep history, one that melds disparate influences from Europeans, and Native- and African-Americans to create something truly unique. In fact, many make the argument that Southern food is America’s only true cuisine. But there’s also a special magic to this food, an inherent feeling that whoever prepared it put all their love and effort into it so that you, too, could experience the way they felt when they first tried it themselves.

24 Iconic Southern Dishes You Need to Know How to Cook (Slideshow)

To this day, every time I eat a ham biscuit, I am instantly transported back to my Grams’ kitchen in Winston-Salem, N.C., standing barefoot with the cool linoleum against my toes as I crane my 8-year-old neck to peek into the bubbling frying pan on the stove. My grandmother is a wonderful cook and an even better lady — full of happiness and love — and she somehow managed to imbue that sense of safety and comfort into her food. Sitting there at the dinner table enjoying one of her meals, you got the feeling that all was right in the world.

When it comes to Southern food, there's no need for frills or fancy packaging. Sometimes a simple slice of salty ham on a warm biscuit can seem more extravagant than an ornate sushi dinner at an expensive restaurant — in its simplicity is a promise of straightforward enjoyment, of memories made over plates of food shared amongst family and friends who love one another.

When you start to think of all classic Southern dishes, the ones that are perhaps most readily identifiable and representative of the cuisine, you realize how many there are. Fried chicken, okra, chicken-fried steak, pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, cheese straws, shrimp and grits, chicken and dumplings… a list of the most iconic Southern dishes starts to get pretty long, pretty quickly. So which are the most essential? Which are the dishes that any good Southerner knows how to cook, and any good red-blooded American from outside the South should learn how to cook?

It was with this thought in mind that we set out to compile a list of 24 of the most iconic and essential Southern recipes. But given how many great dishes there are, how to narrow down to the essentials? To start, we spoke with director of the Southern Foodway Alliance, John T. Edge, about why there is such a strong connection between the South's culture and its cuisine. He explained, and as it was noted before, the South's cuisine has deep historical foundations because of the influences of so many cultures coming together during the early settlement of our country.

"What makes Southern culinary culture distinctive is the interplay between black and white, [the idea of people coming from] West Africa and Western Europe and interacting with Native Americans, those interactions are most apparent and what makes our food culture distinctive and vibrant," Edge said. And, if you're asking yourself why you need to know how to cook these dishes, just look to the Alliance's mission statement for the answer.

"Our real job is to introduce people to the South and the stories of the South through food; food is the gateway drug that gets you to learn about [the South's] history. Learn how to cook one of these dishes and [you'll learn the stories behind the dishes, too]," he elaborated.

Another thing Edge made clear was that there are no real "iconic" dishes of the South, because the South is a large part of the country, and "to say something's Southern is to say something's French," he explained. While there are some dishes that are enjoyed all throughout the South, they'll be different depending on where you are. Take, for example, fried chicken. "There's hot fried chicken, which is the style you'd try in Nashville, and then there's honey drizzle chicken which you'll find in some parts — not all — of Virginia," he explains.

With this in mind, we reached out to a group of talented chefs from a variety of Southern restaurants for their recipes, stretching from Nashville to New Orleans, in order to represent all regions of the South. And boy, did we collect some delicious recipes, including a few modernized classics of traditional ones that we're familiar with. Served together, it’s hard to think of a greater feast on classic Southern foods.

From Hominy Grill in Charleston, S.C., there’s a recipe for fried green tomatoes, from chef Ted Lahey of Table & Main in Roswell, Ga., a recipe for collards. We tapped Rappahannock Oyster Co. for their recipe for roasted oysters and turned to Tupelo Honey Café in Asheville, N.C., for a revamped take on pimento cheese that serves it warm as a dip. There’s a celebrated recipe for fried chicken from chef Ashley Christenson of Beasley’s Chicken + Honey in Raleigh, N.C., and a recipe from chef Chip Ulbrich of Atlanta’s South City Kitchen for banana pudding. Buttermilk biscuits, chicken and dumplings, tomato pudding, catfish, cheese straws, and pecan pie… they’re all there. We even threw in some cocktail recipes too, after all, where would a great Southern meal be without a sweet tea, a mint julep, some moonshine, or a Tallulah cocktail? Whether you’re consulting a recipe from Hugh Acheson’s Atlanta institution Empire State South, or Art Smith’s Southern Art, you can’t go wrong.


Fried Green Tomatoes from Hominy Grill

Roasted Oysters from Rappahannock Oyster Co.

Mint Julep from Proof on Main

Buttermilk Biscuits from Seersucker

Deviled Eggs from Roost

Chicken and Dumplings from Virginia's On King

Tomato Pudding from Hominy Grill

Catfish from MilkWood

Cheese Straws from Red Truck Bakery

Fried Chicken from Beasley's Chicken + Honey

Barbecue from 4th & Swift

Shrimp and Grits from Southern Art

Crabcakes from Slightly North of Broad

Cornbread from Percy Street Barbecue

Banana Pudding from South City Kitchen

Moonshine Cocktail from Loveless Cafe

Pecan Pie from High Cotton

Tallulah Cocktail from Ollie Irene

Collard Greens from Table & Main

Shrimp Po'Boy from Empire State South

Pimento Cheese from Tupelo Honey Cafe

Fried Pickles from West Egg Cafe

Chicken-Fried Steak from Thomas O. Ryder

Sweet Tea from Nicole Campoy-Leffler

57 recipes everyone should know how to cook

Jessica Dady April 11, 2021 8:01 pm

From cottage pie to roast chicken, we’ve rounded up 57 easy and basic recipes everyone should know how to cook including simple recipes for beginners.

If you want to improve your cooking skills but don’t know where to start, we’ve got plenty of dishes to choose from. Our collection includes a variety of different recipes both savoury and sweet. For example our mouth-watering chocolate fudge cake, classic rhubarb crumble, and flavoursome spaghetti Bolognese, which are all ideal for beginners.

And it’s not just about making full meals either. These basic recipes everyone should know how to cook include tray bakes, delicious brunch ideas and popular sides too like our traditional roast potatoes.

Roast potatoes, which you can see being made in the video above, are served as part of a classic roast dinner spread. Perfecting the skill of achieving soft on the inside, crisp on the outside potatoes is much easier than you may think with our step-by-step video guide.

See more of our recipes everyone should know how to cook below…

An Impressive Appetizer: A Savory, Flavorful Tart

French cuisine features many delicious appetizers, from simple to complex. A tart is an ideal recipe to start with as it feeds the whole group and you only have to slice it to serve. This amazing recipe for a tart made of Roquefort cheese and caramelized onion is a classic, and the taste is unbelievable. Just be sure that you use the tangy Roquefort cheese—one that is distinctly French—as it is essential and gives the tart its signature French flavor.

24 Easy Green Bean Recipes That Complement Any Main Dish

As far as vegetables go, we&rsquore pretty big fans of green beans. They&rsquore versatile, inexpensive, and pack a nutritional wallop with vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Did we mention that they&rsquore delicious, too? We&rsquove created a lot of green bean recipes over the years, because they seem to go with everything. Need some crunch in a potato salad? Green beans to the rescue. Grilled pork tenderloin that needs a simple, summery side? Fresh green bean recipes are the way to go. Don&rsquot even get us started on that iconic Thanksgiving casserole. We love green bean recipes so much we must have invented dozens of twists on the dish over the years. We like them pretty much every which way, but these recipes for green beans all have one thing in common: they&rsquore darn delicious. From our Slow Cooker Green Beans to Bacon-Brussels Sprout-Green Bean Casserole, we&rsquove picked the best of the best green bean recipes from our repertoire.

18 Dishes Every Home Cook Should Know How to Make, According to Chefs

If you&aposve found yourself in a cooking rut, don&apost worry, these chefs are here to helpand they suggest going back to basics. We asked some of our favorite chefs around the country for the one thing that every home cook should know how to make, from dishes as simple as sushi rice to hearty meals like pasta bolognese.

Roast Chicken

"Everyone should know how to roast a whole chicken. Starting with this simple and versatile dish will develop basic skills to becoming a better cook. A whole roasted chicken can be brined, marinated, stuffed, basted, etc. Additionally, the chicken itself can be served with so many different sauces, with rice, inside tortillas, or over a salad. The leftovers can be pulled and made into chicken salad while the carcass is simmered into a stock. The options to have in a cook&aposs repertoire from one whole roasted chicken are almost endless!" Christine Lau, Executive Chef of Kimika

"Making a simple roast chicken should be in every cook&aposs repertoire. It helps teach how to truss a chicken which is a very useful skill. Also, it helps to learn how to time manage an oven, and how to reach a crispy skin and not overcook the chicken. There&aposs something about having a perfect simple roast chicken come out of the oven and it&aposs perfect." Brandon Silva, Chef at Degust in Houston, Texas

35 Common dishes and ingredients found in soul food cooking

When it comes to cooking classic soul food meals there are a few dishes and ingredients that you will see over and over again. For many of theses ingredients there are stand along recipes that you’ll want to learn how to cook and try out for yourself. Look over the list below and get comfortable with what you see because many of these will be in the soul food recipes that follow.

  1. Biscuits (a shortbread similar to scones, commonly served with butter, jam, jelly, sorghum or cane syrup, or gravy used to wipe up, or "sop," liquids from a dish)
  2. Cornbread (short bread often baked in an iron skillet, sometimes seasoned with bacon fat)
  3. Milk and bread (a "po' folks' dessert-in-a-glass" of slightly crumbled cornbread, buttermilk and sugar)
  4. Black-eyed peas (cooked separately or with rice, as hoppin' john)
  5. Butter beans (immature lima beans, usually cooked in butter)
  6. Lima beans (see butter beans)
  7. Red beans
  8. Rice (usually served with red beans)
  9. Catfish (dredged in seasoned cornbread and fried).
  10. Chicken (often fried with cornmeal breading or seasoned flour).
  11. Chicken fried steak (beef deep fried in flour or batter, usually served with gravy)
  12. Chicken gizzards and livers
  13. Chitterlings or chitlins (the cleaned and prepared intestines of hogs, slow-cooked and often eaten with vinegar and hot sauce sometimes parboiled, then battered and fried)
  14. Cracklins (commonly known as pork rinds and sometimes added to cornbread batter)
  15. Fatback (fatty, cured, salted pork used to season meats and vegetables)
  16. Fried fish (any of several varieties of fish whiting, catfish, porgies, bluegills dredged in seasoned cornmeal and deep fried)
  17. Ham hocks (smoked, used to flavor vegetables and legumes)
  18. Hog maws (or hog jowls, sliced and usually cooked with chitterlings)
  19. Neckbones (beef neck bones seasoned and slow cooked)
  20. Pigs' feet (slow-cooked like chitterlings, sometimes pickled and, like chitterlings, often eaten with vinegar and hot sauce)
  21. Ribs (usually pork, but can also be beef ribs)
  22. Hoghead cheese
  23. Chow-chow (a spicy, homemade pickle relish sometimes made with okra, corn, cabbage, green tomatoes and other vegetables commonly used to top black-eyed peas and otherwise as a condiment and side dish)
  24. Collard greens (usually cooked with ham hocks, often combined with other greens)
  25. Turnip greens (usually cooked with ham hocks, often combined with other greens)
  26. Mustard greens (usually cooked with ham hocks, often combined with other greens)
  27. Succotash (originally, a Native American dish of yellow corn and butter beans, usually cooked in butter).
  28. Sweet potatoes (often parboiled, sliced and then baked, using sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter or margarine, commonly called "candied yams" also boiled, then pureed and baked into pies)
  29. Yams (not actually yams, but sweet potatoes)
  30. Okra (African vegetable eaten fried in cornmeal or stewed, often with tomatoes, corn, onions and hot peppers)
  31. Hot sauce (a condiment of cayenne peppers, vinegar, salt, garlic and other spices often used on chitterlings, fried chicken and fish not the same as "Tabasco sauce", which has heat, but little flavor)
  32. Macaroni and cheese
  33. Mashed potatoes (usually with butter and condensed milk). Meatloaf (typically with brown gravy)
  34. Fried ice cream (Ice cream deep frozen and coated with cookies and fried)
  35. Grits, often served with fish

The world’s most iconic dishes, according to locals

One of the best parts of travelling is eating your way through a new city. Better yet is discovering the city&rsquos must-try delicacies, ideally with a bona fide local at your side. After all, some dishes sum up a city&rsquos identity in a single plate.

But identifying those icons isn&rsquot always straightforward, as we found out when we polled 38,000 people on the one dish that represents their city.

To track down the most beloved dishes around the globe, we went straight to the source and surveyed city-dwellers worldwide through our annual Time Out Index survey. That means that every entry on this list &ndash from Los Angeles to Lisbon and Rome to Rio de Janeiro &ndash has been selected by locals as the single most representative thing you can eat in their city.

The choices throw up the tricky nature of the word &lsquoiconic&rsquo. Many of the dishes picked by locals are virtually unheard of outside their city or country. Others are surprises that throw up the fascinating ways that food pervades and crosses cultures: who would have thought that pizza would be so beloved in Brazil, or shawarma in Russia?

Of course, you don&rsquot just need to know what to eat &ndash you need to know where. So we&rsquove made sure to consult a global panel of local experts: our own Time Out editors plus clued-up food influencers. They&rsquove each given us the lowdown on their city&rsquos top dish, plus a shortlist of the very best local, independent places to try it.

You&rsquoll walk away feeling like you just attended a barbecue in Johannesburg and slurped a half-dozen rock oysters in Sydney. And next time you see patatas bravas on a menu, you&rsquoll be able to gush about the dish&rsquos contentious origins in Spain.

Ready to dig in? Take a (delicious) spin around the planet with this ultimate guide to the world&rsquos most iconic dishes. And get involved: we want you to shout about your city&rsquos delicacy and tell us where to find the best version using the #LoveLocal hashtag.


This is the most common way restaurants cook vegetables it can be done to nearly any vegetable. Do not be scared by this. It is easy and awesome. To blanch means to put a vegetable in rapidly boiling salted water until it's just cooked, usually only one or two minutes — you will know because your mouth will know when you taste one — then immediately stick it in ice water to stop the cooking. It is an essential basic technique of cooking that you should master ASAP.

Step 1: Bring a big pot of water to a boil.

Step 2: Salt the water.

Step 3: Once the water's really boiling, put a couple handfuls of one kind of vegetable in the water for about 1–3 minutes (depends on the veggie how much time you'll need). Be careful not to crowd them/add too many vegetables at once. If you're cooking a lot of vegetables, work in batches you want the water to stay at consistent boil the whole time.

Step 4: Taste one of the vegetables after a minute. For bigger veggies like broccoli, if you don't want to taste it you can insert a small knife into the thickest part of the stem — if the knife slides in and out easily, it's done.

Step 5: Remove the veggies once they are cooked using tongs or a slotted basket or spoon. (You probably don't want to just dump the veggies into a colander and lose all your boiling water, because you can cook several batches of different different kinds of vegetables — green beans, then asparagus, then peas — in the same pot of boiling water and make one hell of a delicious vegetable salad. So cook the smallest thing that you wouldn't want to fish out with a spoon last — like peas — then you can dump the water.)

Step 6: Immediately "shock" your cooked veggies: Put them straight from the boiling water into a bowl of ice water — use lots of ice — right away to stop the cooking and so they stay green and bright. Try this recipe for practice, although if you can't find fava beans (and they are annoying to peel anyways), just use snap peas, snow peas, or green beans.

20. Baeckeoffe

Splendid Alsatian dish that can be literary translated as &ldquobaker&rsquos oven&rdquo. Sliced potatoes, onions, a variety of meat (mutton, pork and beef) is left to marinate in white wine for the night, then seasoned with herbs, juniper berries and carrots. Back in the old days dames of Alsace started to cook it late Saturday, left the casserole at the nearest bakery to slow-cook during Sunday morning, and picked it up when returning from the church.

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Produced by Krysten Chambrot, Kim Gougenheim, Margaux Laskey, Umi Syam and Emily Weinstein. Special thanks to Wayne Kamidoi.

Whether you like cooking, love it or are indifferent to the task, most of us can agree that washing a lot of pots and pans after dinner is a drag. Wouldn’t it instead be easier if there was really only one? One skillet or one Dutch oven, one sheet pan, one pot? Wouldn’t that be great?

Imagine the ease of it, to come home from work and turn on the oven, line a sheet pan with foil or parchment, tip onto it some vegetables, some protein, some aromatics and sauce: Dinner, nothing else required!

That’s why the editors of NYT Cooking have put together this modest (and beautiful), wide-ranging (and tightly focused) collection of recipes devoted to the celebration of one-vessel cooking, on the stovetop and in the oven. They come from the stars of our universe: Melissa Clark, Alison Roman, Julia Moskin, Ali Slagle, David Tanis, Tejal Rao, Yewande Komolafe, Colu Henry, Joan Nathan, Kay Chun — even me! The majority will deliver a whole meal in a single pot, pan or skillet, full stop. For others, you’ll need to add only a vegetable or starchy side dish if you desire one, a salad, a basket of bread. There are vegetarian situations, and vegan ones too, lots of fish, plenty of chicken, plenty of stew. The only constant among them is our desire to make cooking easier and more delicious and to deliver you from the sadness of a sink filled with dishes.

Watch the video: Southern Comfort Foods You Need To Try Before You Die (November 2022).