So this is the final chapter of the culinary tour of the deep south. And there is nothing that screams deep south like fried chicken in Mississippi!
John and I headed to Natchez, a friendly little town on the Mississippi river. Natchez is in both Mississippi and Louisiana depending on what side of the river you are on, but with the downtown on the Mississippi side, that’s where our time was spent.
Natchez is known for its antebellum homes. The town features many museum homes that are open all year round, however twice a year (for the fall and spring pilgrimages) residents of Natchez who are fortunate to live in these large beautiful Greek revival homes open their homes up to the public, where they host tourists as they come through, often in costume.
We did a tour of one of the museum houses, the Rosalie mansion. This 13,000 sq. foot house was used as a headquarters during the civil war (they tried to arrest one of the female owners as a spy – in error of course.)
We booked a bed and breakfast called the Briar, on a beautiful 19 acre property overlooking the Mississippi river. John and I stayed in the main house, and were fortunate enough to be the only people staying there that night, as we really had the whole property to ourselves. We woke up, headed down the stairs to the empty dining room below us, and enjoyed a southern breakfast featuring fresh biscuits, grits, bacon, sausage, eggs and of course a donut to start. John and I could barely finish half each, and apologized to the cook telling her not to be offended that we didn’t finish – we enjoyed the meal immensely, but our poor Canadian stomachs just couldn’t handle that much food!
The highlight of our stay at Natchez had to be our plantation style dinner at the Carriage House, the oldest restaurant in Natchez. I regret to inform you that there were no pictures taken of this meal as we were too preoccupied with devouring it to bother with photographs. The meal featured all of your favourite southern sides: biscuits, mashed potatoes, butter beans and collard greens. There was roast beef that was just great, but the highlight of the meal had to be the fried chicken, the best we had ever had. As you can probably guess, this is what inspired this week’s cooking adventure.
The meal was topped off with the best (and probably most decadent) pecan pie either of us had ever tried!
The evening ended with an uplifting performance from a local gospel group. John and I left the restaurant with our hearts full of spirit and our stomachs full of fried chicken.
So upon returning home, John and I couldn’t wait to try our hand at fried chicken. We opted to do it the traditional pan fried method, soaking the chicken in buttermilk before breading and frying. John took the reins to the chicken as I made mashed potatoes, green beans and fresh biscuits.
We had made a roasted pheasant the night before (stay tuned!) and John took the drippings and made the most outstanding gravy.
The fried chicken was unbelievable, even better then what we had in Natchez!
So for today, we want to share our fried chicken recipe with you. As a bonus, I’ve also included the biscuit recipe I used. This is a quick biscuit recipe, so they won’t be as fluffy as if you let the dough rise, but they are a lot less work. Enjoy them with butter, gravy or your favourite pepper jelly as we did. The recipe comes from our Salt Lick cookbook, the BBQ restaurant we visited in Austin, TX.
LOUISIANA STYLE HOT SAUCE
John and I love hot sauce, and have searched all over the USA for our favourite brands. We were fortunate enough to buy some excellent and unique Louisiana hot sauces in New Orleans.
We have come to a hot sauce conclusion – Franks Red Hot is no good! Of course, we don’t all have access up here to these unique brands, but John and I find the way to go is with the classic Louisiana hot sauce brand that you can find in any grocery store. When we were down south, we saw Louisiana hot sauce everywhere (and not one bottle of Frank’s) And those guys know their hot sauce!
Try dipping your fried chicken in Louisiana hot sauce!
So this brings us to the conclusion of the food perspective of our deep south road trip, a fantastic and memorable adventure with stunning landscapes, curious southern culture, and of course awesome food! Just a quick note – John and I were fortunate enough to go bowfishing while in Mississippi. Fishing in the dark with bow and arrows, we were both able to shoot several fish. However, John caught what our guide told us was the biggest fish of the year, and I want to share that picture with you!
Click here to view Deep South Part 1: Louisiana and Dirty Rice
Click here to view Deep South Part 2: Savannah Georgia and Stewed Okra with Tomatoes
Click here to view Deep South Part 3: Charleston, South Carolina and Grits
Southern Fried Chicken
Makes 4 quarter chicken pieces
Chicken pieces – we like dark meat, drums, thighs, or full leg. Leave skin on
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 and ½ tsp paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp poultry season (try season salt, or Cajun seasoning)
Peanut or canola oil
- Soak chicken in buttermilk for as long as you like.
- Rinse buttermilk off chicken, drain and pat dry.
- In a bowl, combine dry ingredients
- Fill a large pan with oil, (enough so that the oil will be about 1/3 the height of the chicken).
- Heat oil on medium high heat, (to 350 degrees if using frying thermometer in pan)
- While the oil is heating, dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour and shake to remove excess.
- Once oil is hot, place chicken in pan, watching closely to prevent burning. Cover pan with a grease screen while cooking. DO NOT COVER WITH A LID.
- Cook chicken until dark golden brown, about 10-15 minutes per side.
- Remove chicken, drain on paper towel.
- Serve hot with your favourite Louisiana hot sauce. We like the Louisiana Hot Sauce brand.
_________________________________________________________________Roxy’s Quick Biscuits – The Salt LickINGREDIENTS:
¼ cup softened butter
4 cups sifted flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 pint buttermilk (2 cups)
Preheat butter to 400 degrees
Cut butter into flour and baking powder
Stir salt, sugar and baking soda into the buttermilk
Add mixture to flour. Stir quickly.
Using 2 large spoons, either scoop dough onto baking sheet and place ½ inch apart.
Alternatively, roll the dough ½ inch thick, and cut out with a biscuit cutter, or round glass.
Bake immediately for about 15 minutes, depending on how thick you cut them.