Country Kitchen Conveniences: Pinto Beans, Turnips, and Cornbread
Having grown up and lived in the South all my life, I have eaten my share of the country’s cuisine. After leaving the house and going out on my own, I discovered that there were many country kitchen conveniences that I had left behind. Over the years, I collected recipes, especially from my mom, and spent countless hours in the kitchen doing something I love, which is cooking.
I believe in eating healthy as often as possible. However, some of the foods mentioned in this article contain butter, bacon, bacon fat, salt, etc. So if you’re watching your salt and fat intake, some of these dishes may not be for you or require modifications. However, alterations will affect the taste.
Here’s a rundown of some of my favorite country cuisine dishes:
- Pinto Beans and Cornbread served with a Fresh Large Green Onion and Hot Chow Chow
- Turnip greens topped with crumbled bacon, half-cooked egg, and Texas Pete® pepper sauce
- Fried Green Tomatoes
- Fried Pork Chops Dipped in White Sauce and Served with Crackers
- Cooked green beans with small white potatoes
- Open face cookies with sausage patties dipped in white sauce
- Day-old cornbread served in a tall chilled buttermilk glass
- Salt-cured ham served on homemade biscuits
- Fresh cooked corn on the cob buttered, then salted and seasoned
- Skillet of cabbage cooked in bacon fat
- Fried Beef Steak served with White Sauce, Sliced Tomatoes, and Crackers
- Savory Pork and Beef Pie Topped with Bacon, Ketchup and Brown Sugar served with Mashed Potatoes Topped with Brown Sauce and Hot Buttered Buns
- Homemade Beef Stew with Slices of Fresh White Bread and Cold Iced Tea
The secret is in the seasoning
Seasoning is an important part of country cooking, just like any other type of cooking. Not all country recipes have to include bacon and / or butter. For example, let’s take a closer look at the seasonings in my home-cooked green bean recipe that I was used to eating as a child.
You can use canned or fresh green beans. If I’m using canned beans, I opt for Green Giant® or another quality brand, preferably the canned variety with the white inner liner. I usually get the large can and two cans of regular size white whole potatoes.
I put the beans in the pot, liquids and all, and add a cubes of beef broth or two. You may need to add a little water depending on how much liquid is in the can; the beans should start barely covered or with the water level even with the top of the beans.
I add a little cooking oil; I don’t usually measure things like this, but I guess it would be a tablespoon or so. I simmer them until the liquid is half gone, then drain the potatoes and add them to the pot.
I shake the pot gently so the potatoes drain into the remaining liquid. You don’t want to stir because it will break the potatoes. I cook until there is hardly any liquid left; then I turn off the fire and cover it until dinner time. They are even better after sitting down for a bit.
Southern cooks are frequently accused of cooking food until its nutrients are depleted. This may or may not be true, and if it is, it is probably more so with some dishes than others. It’s a matter of personal preference and I happen to like my green beans cooked this way, as do my family.
I am planning to cook green beans tonight, and they will be served alongside chilled deviled eggs, whole green onions, fresh sliced and salted red tomatoes, homemade coleslaw, cornbread, and iced tea with fresh lemon wedges. My husband is already asking what time we are going to eat!