For the past month I’ve been teaching a brand new series of culinary arts classes called “Southern Comfort”. I have a genuine love of all types of cuisine, but you just can’t beat true Southern cooking.
Comfort food is such a popular term these days, but what really defines that? Well, Wiki says “Comfort food is traditional food which often provides a nostalgic or sentimental feeling to the consumer, and is often characterized by a high carbohydrate level and simple preparation. The nostalgic element most comfort food has may be specific to either the individual or a specific culture.”
I think that definition is fitting. Comfort food to me can be a chocolate pound cake, buttermilk pie, mashed potatoes covered in gravy or a large bowl of hearty potato soup. It’s a meal or dish, that when you take the first bite and close your eyes, it takes you to where your heart is happy. It always takes me to mama’s kitchen.
15-Bean Soup & Buttermilk Pumpkin Cornbread
- 1 pkg 15 bean soup mix – you can find this in most grocery stores in the dry bean section
- 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 lb. smoked sausage, cooked ground sausage, ham hocks, diced ham or chicken (or any combination of these proteins)
- 1 lg. onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp chili powder (optional)
- 2 springs fresh Thyme
- 1 can tomatoes
- Salt & pepper to taste
Sort and rinse beans. Place in a large pot and cover with water. Soak overnight., then drain and set aside.
Add oil to a large stock pot. Sauté your ham hocks (or other meat of choice), onion and garlic until tender. Add your beans and remaining ingredients. Mix well then bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat cover and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until all of the beans are tender.
There is also a flavor packet that comes with the soup mix. You can use this, or season as you like. I prefer to season without the packet as I like to control our salt content. If you choose to add the seasoning packet, add during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
Serve by itself, with cornbread or over rice.
For the Buttermilk & Pumpkin Cornbread…
- 1 1/4 cups corn meal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup (about 1 3/4 ounces) sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree – NOT pie filling
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk all ingredients well in a large bowl.
Melt butter in a cast iron skillet, then add cornbread batter. Bake 30 minutes or until top is golden and center is cooked through.
Life is too short to eat ugly food y’all.