Top Twelve Mississippi Recipes

The first time I submitted a Mississippi top twelve, it was like throwing a June bug down in a flock of chickens.

The pot roast was devastated by a barrage of loyalists who maintained it’s “just got Yankee written all over it.” The red velvet cake was accused, convicted, and shot for being a Waldorf recipe, and the pecan pie was mined by a sweet potato. I substituted pound cake for red velvet and sweet potato pie for pecan. The roast lost to stewed greens–which damn near lost out to limas.

Here’s the treaty, but rumor has it the pecan pie faction plans a fifth column action from Belzoni.


Chicken and Dressing

Regional favorites always have local trends; barbecue springs to mind, but more subtle examples are available.

Take chicken and dressing, for instance, a staple of the Mid South.  Along the coast, you’ll find dressings using a dried French loaf, but as you move north, cornbread enters the picture. I’ve seen recipes in north Louisiana and central Mississippi using a mix of the two. This is a typical north Mississippi recipe.

Make cornbread the night before, stick it in a paper sack, and put it somewhere it won’t get eaten. Next day, crumble bread into a large bowl and add enough strong chicken stock to make thick slurry.

To two quarts of such a mixture, add no more than 4 eggs well-beaten and at least two cups shredded chicken. Sauté a cup (more if you like) each of finely-diced white onion and celery in a half a stick of butter, and add to the mix. Some people like diced pepper in their dressing, but I find it overpowering.

Season with salt, pepper, thyme, and sage; I like plenty of sage in mine. Pour into a greased pan and bake at 350 until the top is browned and the center firm.

This goes with anything, anytime.