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NASHVILLE EATS: Hot Chicken, Buttermilk Biscuits, and 100 More Southern Recipes from Music City

Jennifer Justus Andrea Behrends

Abrams Books
October 6, 2015
$35.00/Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1617691690

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Jennifer Justus

Jennifer Justus, the former culture reporter at the Tennessean and author of The Food Lovers’ Guide to Nashville, is an expert on Southern food. Her work has appeared in Southern Living, Cornbread Nation: The Best of Southern Food Writing, Imbibe, and more. Justus blogs at a nasty bite, an expression her grandmother used to describe a simple meal.

If it seems like Nashville is everywhere these days, that’s because it is. GQ recently declared it “Nowville,” and it has become the music hotspot for both country and rock. But as hot as the music scene is, the food scene is even hotter.
In NASHVILLE EATS, more than 100 mouthwatering recipes reveal why food lovers are headed South for Nashville’s hot chicken, buttermilk biscuits, pulled pork sandwiches, cornmeal-crusted catfish, chowchow, fried green tomatoes, and chess pie. Author Jennifer Justus whips up the classics—such as pimento cheese and fried chicken—but also includes dishes with a twist on traditional Southern fare, such as Curried Black Chickpeas or Catfish Tacos. And alongside the recipes, Jennifer shares her stories of Nashville—the people, music, history, and food that make it so special.

Traditional Skillet Cornbread

Makes 8 generous servings

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The funny thing about family recipes is they can be handed down with both too much information and not enough. My grandfather J.J.’s cornbread, passed on from my mother, includes self-rising flour and an additional pinch of baking powder. When I asked Mom why she includes it, she said, “Because J.J. told me to.”

Though he’s no longer around to answer the question firsthand, I asked a professional, Linda Carman of the Martha White Test Kitchen, who said adding a smidgen of extra leavening to self-rising flour sometimes helps offset the acid in buttermilk, which can compromise the leavening.

So the recipe is missing that info—but it did include a long set of instructions on putting out a grease fire (which I have omitted here), as well as a reminder to “call your mother.”

  • 1 cup (125 g) self-rising flour
  • 1 cup (140 g) self-rising white cornmeal
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • Pinch of baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups (360 ml) buttermilk
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) bacon drippings

Position one oven rack at the bottom and one at the top, then preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Form an indentation in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in first the egg and then 1 ¼ cups (300 ml) of the buttermilk. Stir the ingredients to combine and gradually add the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) buttermilk until the mixture is smooth and soupy.

Pour the bacon drippings into a cast-iron skillet and place it over medium heat until it is shimmering.

Pour two-thirds of the hot grease into the cornbread mixture and quickly combine. Add the cornmeal mixture to the hot skillet and place it in the oven. Reduce the temperature to 425°F (220°C) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The edges should be caramel-colored and the top golden brown. If the edges begin to brown too quickly during baking, move the skillet to the top rack and continue cooking. Cool the cornbread for 5 to 10 minutes before turning it out of the skillet onto a plate. Slice and serve warm.


Hot Deviled Eggs

Makes 2 dozen pieces

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The spicy crumb topping dusted over these eggs serves as the white bread component of the Nashville-style hot chicken experience. The hot sauce, mustard, and cayenne blend for a layered heat, while the pickle adds snap. The inspiration for the spicy crumb topping came from a garlic toast version I read about on A Farmgirl’s Dabbles blog.

  • 1 dozen eggs

For the filling:

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 ½ tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 teaspoons cayenne hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced dill pickle

For the garnish:

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon light brown sugar
  • Pinch of ground cumin
  • ¼ cup (30 g) bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Dill pickle rounds, cut into wedges for garnish
  • Paprika

Hard-cook the eggs by placing them in a saucepan, covering them with water, and bringing the water to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and cover it. Allow the eggs to sit in the water for about 15 minutes.

Make the filling:

Slice the eggs lengthwise and drop the yolks into a medium bowl; arrange the egg white halves on a platter.

To the yolks, add the Dijon, mayonnaise, hot sauce, cayenne, and chopped pickle by mashing the mixture with the back of a fork. Set it aside in the refrigerator.

Prepare the garnish:

Combine the cayenne, brown sugar, and cumin with the bread crumbs in a small bowl. Heat the oil over medium and then toast the spiced bread crumbs for about a minute.

Fill the egg whites with the yolk mixture, top each one with a triangle of pickle and a sprinkle of paprika. Dust the eggs and platter with the spicy bread crumbs for color and crunch before serving.


These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from NASHVILLE EATS: Hot Chicken, Buttermilk Biscuits, and 100 More Southern Recipes from Music City by Jennifer Justus. (Abrams Books; October 2015; $35.00/hardcover; ISBN: 978-1617691690).  

Contact: Jordan Sapiro
212-229-7183
jsapiro@abramsbooks.com


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