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Cynthia Graubart is a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author, Southern Living columnist, speaker, former cooking show television producer, and most-recently the author of Slow Cooking for Two: Double Dinners (Gibbs-Smith, 2014) and Slow Cooking for Two: Basics, Techniques, and Recipes (Gibbs-Smith 2013). Cynthia is also the co-author with Nathalie Dupree of Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking (James Beard Award 2013; Gibbs-Smith 2012), as well as the best-selling Southern Biscuits (Gibbs-Smith 2011), also co-written with Nathalie Dupree.

Cynthia emerged as an expert with the publication of her first book, The One-Armed Cook: How to make dinner with a baby on your hip, hailed as “the culinary version of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

Cynthia has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia, and studied for her Master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Florida. Cynthia launched her television cooking show career producing Nathalie Dupree’s first national public television series “New Southern Cooking,” and continued for more than 10 years producing and consulting for television cooking programs, chefs, and authors known around the world.

Cynthia is passionate about food – from researching its origins, writing recipes, and teaching techniques, to bringing families together at the table. She appears on television and radio and has developed a dedicated audience hungry for the “how-to” of basic kitchen knowledge and techniques. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) and has spoken at its annual conference. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier (LDEI) and has served on the board of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. She and her husband, Cliff, who owns the Old New York Book Shop, regularly travel to book festivals and host book store owners, as well as authors, on a regular basis in their Atlanta home.

 

While fried chicken may be the South’s iconic dish, when it comes to Southern foodways, there are a lot of ways to love America’s most popular fowl. Preparations range from Country Captain to Carolina Chicken Bog to Chicken and Parslied Dumplings and more. Here, Cynthia Graubart celebrates the bird in all its glory, Southern style and beyond. This little cookbook packs all the know-how that cooks need to make irresistible chicken dishes for everyday and special occasions, from shopping and selecting to cutting up, frying, braising, roasting, and much more. Ranging in style from traditional Southern to contemporary to international, the fifty-three recipes are organized to help easily match the cut of chicken to the perfect recipe. Be assured that Graubart includes instructions for making the best fried chicken ever—seven different ways.

Graubart also brings together the chicken’s culinary history with the popular culture and lore that surrounds chicken cookery in the South. She notes that the special Sunday Sabbath dinner was often built around a chicken—in fact, prior to the 1940s, chicken was sometimes more expensive than beef or pork. Today, the Southern states lead the country in annual poultry production, and Kentucky Fried Chicken features throughout the American landscape. But you won’t need take-out when you have CHICKEN in your kitchen.

 

Biscuit-Topped Chicken Pot Pies

Makes 4 servings

The fresher and more deliciously cooked the chicken, the better the pot pie, but we do not have to go so far as the cook in the nursery rhyme who arranged for “four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie” and found that “when the pie was opened the birds began to sing.” I usually use a store-bought rotisserie chicken for this recipe unless I have cooked chicken on hand from another meal. The biscuit tops are delightful.

  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 cup frozen cut pole beans, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 2 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 325°. Place four (10-ounce) ovenproof ramekins or bowls on a rimmed baking sheet; set aside.

Place the carrots and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe glass bowl and microwave on high for 1–2 minutes, or until crisp- tender, and drain. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the beans and carrots, and cook for 2 minutes.

Sprinkle the all-purpose flour, salt, and pepper over the vegetables. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, or until the flour is incorporated. Gradually stir in the stock or broth and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 8–10 minutes, or until the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in the chicken and remove from the heat.

Stir together the self-rising flour and cream in a bowl just until flour is moistened. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat out and fold the dough 3–4 times and then pat it out to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut out 4 disks, reshaping the scraps once, if necessary, for the fourth biscuit. (Avoid twisting the cutter so the biscuit will rise properly.)

Divide the hot chicken mixture evenly between the prepared ramekins or bowls and top each with the cut biscuit dough. Bake for 20 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown. Serve hot.


Summertime Anytime Bourbon

Peach Chicken Thighs    

Makes 6–8 servings

I always feel like a traitor to my state (Georgia) when I eat South Carolina peaches and feel like South Carolina should be the peach state. I wish fresh peach season would never end, and I always look for new ways to use them, especially in savory dishes. I even unabashedly use frozen peaches in the off season. Freestone peaches are the easiest to use, but sliced cling peaches are nearly as easy. And frozen peaches also work well here. The minced shallot is superb in this dish, but a Vidalia or other sweet onion could be substituted for a milder flavor. The bourbon is a mild taste in this dish—not at all overpowering. The bourbon brand is your call. Aren’t we fortunate to have so many to choose from?

  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced

Preheat the oven to 350°. Pat the chicken dry. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding, cook the chicken pieces skin-side-down until golden brown, about 5 or so minutes. Turn the pieces over to brown the other side for 3–4 minutes.

Remove the chicken to a platter (the chicken will not be fully cooked at this point). Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan. Cook the shallots in the hot fat, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the bourbon and scrape again if needed.

Return the chicken to the pan. Tuck the rosemary springs in between the thighs and scatter the peaches over the thighs. Cover and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the thickest part of a chicken thigh reaches 175° on an instant-read thermometer.

Transfer the chicken and peaches to a serving dish and discard the rosemary. Coat the chicken lightly with the pan juices. If any juices remain, pour them into a gravy boat and serve with the chicken.


From CHICKEN: a Savor the South® cookbook by Cynthia Graubart.  Copyright © 2016 by University of North Carolina Press.  Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press. $20. www.uncpress.unc.edu

Contact: Gina Mahalek
919-962-0581
gina_mahalek@unc.edu


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