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Take on the South

Favorite Southern Recipes

Pimento-Cheese Potato Gratin

Recipe courtesy of The Lee Bros. This recipe can also be found in the book, Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-home Flavor, By Matt Lee and Ted Lee

Cook Time:

10 minutes preparation, 35 minutes cooking
6 servings


  • 3  teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3  shallots, finely diced (scant 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried red chile flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • One 9 -ounce jar roasted red peppers or piquillo peppers, with their liquid
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)


1) Heat the oven to 375 degrees F, with racks positioned in the middle and the top third of the oven.

2) In a 3- to 4-quart stockpot, bring 2 quarts water and 2 teaspoons of the salt to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Then drain, and set them aside.

3) Combine the cream, shallots, chile flakes, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, the black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the liquid from the jar of roasted peppers in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the chile flakes have begun to stain the cream, about 2 minutes. Add half of the cheese and stir until it melts, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

4) Layer roughly a third of the potatoes in a 6-cup baking dish, overlapping them slightly so that they fit in an even layer. Scatter half of the roasted peppers on top of the potatoes (cut up any peppers that have remained whole so that they lie flat), and repeat layering potatoes and peppers until all the peppers and potatoes have been used. Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes and peppers, and agitate the dish to distributes the liquid throughout. Cover with aluminum foil and bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes.

5) Uncover the dish, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, and place the dish on the top over rack. Bake for 8 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and gently browned on top. Serve immediately.

South Carolina Blue Crab Picnic

Recipe courtesy of A.J. Koelker, Aiken, South Carolina

Cook Time:

An all day event.
5-6 servings


  • Five or six good friends
  • 1 case of Red Stripe
  • 1 box of saltines
  • 1 pound of butter
  • 1 box of ground black pepper
  • 1 bushel of South Carolina Blue Crab


Add the whole box of pepper to a large pot of water, brought to a rolling boil over a propane stove. Gently melt the butter using another source. Boil the Blues until just done (pink). Then dive in. The pepper may make your lips burn, but that's what the Red Stripe is for.

One guest should be an industrious type who must always be doing something. Picking the meat from any remaining crabs for casseroles or cakes might as well be done by someone who enjoys it.

The venue is critical to the experience. This meal must be prepared and enjoyed at a newsprint covered picnic table on the cement slab underneath the house at the beach.

Favorite Southern Christmas Dish: Charlotte Russe, Charleston Receipts Cookbook

Courtesy of Amanda McNulty, St. Matthews, South Carolina

Charlotte Russe from the Charleston Receipts cookbook is our Christmas dessert. My mother-in-law, Nora Zimmerman Wimberly, would nearly have a conniption as Edward (her son, my husband) would keep adding more and more sherry to the bowl.You can't make it in hot weather, it will curdle.

Favorite Southern Christmas Dish: Charlotte Russe, Charleston Receipts Cookbook

South Carolina Shrimp Boil

Courtesy of Chuck Gerald, West Columbia, South Carolina


    • 1 lb shrimp in shell head on or off
    • 1 can of beer
    • Enough water to cover shrimp
    • Old bay seasoning to taste, and/or garlic salt or salt and pepper (optional)


    OPTION 1: Bring liquid to rapid boil seasoned to taste. Add shrimp. Boil for 3 minutes or until pinkish red (not over 3 1/2 minutes). Pour in colander, cover with ice to stop cooking and to cool enough to handle. peel and eat.

    OPTION 2: Heat liquid in double boiler. Put shrimp in top of double boiler. Steam until uniformly pinkish red. Stir shrimp to evenly cook.

    For larger quantities just add 1 beer to each added pound of shrimp.

    Favorite Southern Dishes

    Contributor unknown.

    I grew up on mayo sandwiches made from Miracle Whip on Sunbeam bread. Liverpudding and grits, sometimes with eggs, butter, sugar, and ketchup. And I never met a pork chop I didn't like either.

    Macaroni and cheese is best with ketchup, when no one is looking, Southern Italiano.


    Recipe courtesy of Susan Hammond Stone, Upstate, South Carolina. This recipe and other recipes can be found at Susan's blog.

    4 servings


    • 2 cups tomato juice
    • 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
    • 1-1/2 cups chopped tomato
    • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
    • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
    • 1 TBS olive oil
    • 1 TBS red wine vinegar
    • 2 TBS lime juice
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
    • 1/4 tsp hot sauce
    • A dash of worchestershire sauce
    • 2 TBS white wine
    • 1 TBS chopped fresh basil
    • 1 TBS chopped fresh parsley


    Combine all ingredients and allow flavors to blend for several hours or overnight. Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with your choice of fresh herbs.


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