Blog - biscuits and such
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Boudin Balls

There are many things we love about my brother-in-law, Bradley. He is kind, funny, good at mediating family arguments, and most importantly, he loves my sister. But perhaps the best fringe benefit of having a brother-in-law from Baton Rouge is that he brought boudin into our lives. And for that, we will forever be grateful.

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Boudin (pronounced bou-dahn) is a Louisiana specialty, a Cajun tradition that adapts the French boudin blanc to what was readily available in the Acadian settlements. Cajun boudin is pork liver, ground pork shoulder, rice, parsley, green bell peppers, onions and spices all cooked, mixed together, and stuffed in casing. The cased boudin is then grilled or smoked and served with hot sauce, making it irresistibly delicious.

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Bradley and Lauren bring boudin with them every time they visit, which meant that by the time I visited Avery Island, Louisiana, a few years ago with Tabasco I knew to be first in line every time boudin was served. One of the highlights of that trip for me was our visit to a local boucherie called Legnon’s to watch them making boudin. The process was incredible, I’m still in awe by how quickly those women were able to stuff and segment those sausages!

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We made a batch of boudin for Dan’s big birthday party a few weeks ago, and after we’d exhausted all the casing available we fried the remaining filling into boudin balls and served them with a spicy chipotle mustard. We smoked the boudin links and squirreled away a few in the freezer, which I will be cooking up this week in celebration of Mardi Gras. That, and the beignet dough I’ve been saving!

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Boudin Balls
adapted from Emeril‘s recipe for boudin

1 1/4 pounds pork shoulder, cubed

1/2 pound pork (or beef) liver, rinsed and cubed

1 quart water

1 small white onion, chopped

3 cloves minced garlic

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, diced

3 tsps salt

2 tsps cayenne powder

1 tsp black pepper

3 cups cooked rice

A handful of chopped parsley

A handful of chopped green onion

In a large pan combine the meat and half of the vegetables (bell pepper, onion, garlic, celery) and half of the spices with the water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Drain, reserving a cup of broth. Put everything through a meat grinder with a 1/4″ die, along with the remaining fresh vegetables and half of the parsley. Mix the ground meat and vegetables with the rice, remaining parsley, green onions, and remaining spices. Refrigerate for 1 hour. *

Heat high-temp oil to 375F. Use your hands to pack the boudin into balls approximately the same size as golf balls. Fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot, with spicy mustard or hot sauce to dip.

*instructions on stuffing boudin in casing

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Lovely Internet 2.13.15

1. This is what happens when we vilify a people, a community, a religion because of the actions of a small group of terrorists. We need to find a way to peacefully coexist. There is room in this world for mutual respect and understanding of our differences.

2. Two organizations are working to tackle race in Asheville City Schools (including my brother Ryan’s amazing girlfriend, Erin, who is in the top photo!)

3. This would be a lovely addition to my kitchen.

4. I’ve never drawn myself naked, but I have been drawn by friends (art school!) and I’ve drawn others naked (again, art school!). It gives you a very interesting perspective on the human body to translate it into charcoal.

5. Death to the chicken finger!

6. I spent last week sick with the flu digging further and further into my family history. I learned an amazing amount and discovered that for the most part my Rosemond side of the family were Scots-Irish and English settlers that came throughout the 17th and 18th centuries and settled in the mountains of North Carolina. This has sparked a renewed interest in the history of mountain folk- both those that I descended from and those that were a part of their community, their region, their lives. It is so important, as white Southerners, to recognize and celebrate the influence of African culture in our history and traditions.

7. Girls are awesome and they do get to decide what’s girly.

8. A different way to talk with children about sex.

9. How cool is this?!?

10. Dean Smith was an amazing influence on our lives, both as Carolina fans and as a family. His death was an incredible loss, but I hope that he’s found peaceful rest.

For more tidbits from Elena the person, follow me on twitter (@elenabrent or @biscuitsandsuch), instagrampinterest or facebook. Subscribe to my bloglovin’ feed to make sure you never miss a post. Follow along with MissElenaeous for thoughts on everything other than Southern food.

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12/100: Fried Livermush

Years ago when I was very homesick and living in Maryland I bought two books- Adam Lucas’  The Best Game Ever and Bob Garner’s Guide to North Carolina BarbecueReading about the historic 1957 UNC team that my grandfather was a part of and the foods from home that I missed so dearly made me feel a little better, a little more connected to home. Those books made me feel as though even while I was not living in North Carolina, North Carolina was a part of me, always.

livermush 3

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of talking with Bob Garner, and I was immediately reminded me of that feeling, that desire to connect with my roots. His most recent book, Foods That Make You Say Mmm-mm, takes him across the state, looking into the regional foods and food traditions that are unique to North Carolina. As he puts it, some foods have “stuck” more than others to North Carolina. Yes, you can find traditional Southern foods throughout the state, but there are some foods that you can only find in little pockets of North Carolina, and that’s what he’s exploring.

FoodsThatMakeYouSayMmm

photographs courtesy of Bob Garner

Talking to Bob is like taking a masters level course in North Carolina food culture. As soon as I held the book I knew he would be an incredible resource for Tasting North Carolina, and so I took advantage of our conversation to ask him his input. As expected, he had a lot of amazing suggestions. We talked about the sonker of Surry County, the muddle of Lenoir County, and the liver mush of Cleveland County.

livermush 1

Cleveland County is located in Western North Carolina and is, among other things, the home of Earl Scruggs. It is also the home of Livermush, a pate-like dish that is comprised of pork liver, head meats, and cornmeal. Despite the rather off-putting name (it’s sometimes called liver pudding), liver mush is a beloved Cleveland County treat, a legacy of the German immigrants who settled in Southwestern North Carolina.

cleveland

Coincidentally, a few days after I spoke with Bob I ran into a friend from Cleveland County. She had remembered that I was working on this project and brought me some of her favorite brand of liver mush- Neese’s- and gave me some instructions for eating it. She said that while most people like it fried and served with eggs and grits she prefers it with a touch of maple syrup. The next morning I fried up a batch and served it with freshly baked buttermilk biscuits and a healthy serving of maple syrup.

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Bob Garner has spent his career doing exactly what I’m hoping to do with this project- connect with people from across the state to learn their stories and celebrate their culture and history. Tasting North Carolina grew out of a desire to reconnect with my home state, and thanks to people like Bob I know more and more about my roots every day.

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Fried Livermush Biscuit

1lb block of livermush or liverpudding

Maple syrup

drop biscuits:

4 cups flour

2 tsps baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsps salt

2 sticks butter

2 1/4 cups buttermilk

Heat oven to 400F.

Mix together dry ingredients. Cube butter and work in with your hands, breaking the butter up into small pieces and mixing in with the dry ingredients, until the texture resembles cornmeal. Stir in the buttermilk.

Use a spoon to drop the dough into a drop biscuit pan or onto a lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Slice liver mush into 1/2″ slices. Fry in a buttered skillet for 2-3 minutes on each side, until browned and crisp. Serve on a sliced hot biscuit with a generous drizzle of maple syrup.

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