Amy’s grandmother, Mama Dot, was born into a large farming family in rural Alabama, and out of necessity began cooking for the family at age eight. She stood on a wooden block so she could reach the top of their wood-burning stove.
She has always been one hard-working woman with a great deal of self discipline and steadfast faith, and a natural ability to create hearty comfort food recipes.
‘Farm-To-Table‘ at her house was walking out to the vegetable garden with a basket and picking your ingredients, taking them into the kitchen and preparing breakfast, dinner and supper. (In the American south, lunch is called dinner because it’s oftentimes the largest meal of the day).
We oftentimes refer to sustainable cafes as ‘like Mama Dot’s table.’
She is known for many blue ribbon dishes, like pan cornbread, excellent crunchy and seasoned fried chicken, brunswick stew, sweet milk gravy and the most flavorful green beans you will ever taste. Ever-so-long low boiled smoky bacon, onion and garlic. She’s made them for over eighty years … now that’s a proven recipe!
This time we’ve taken Mama Dot’s version and added green chiles. Because it seems to be our mission to get chiles into everything we make.
The rest … it’s all about seasoning and the loooooong low boil.
Saute onion with thick cut smoky bacon. Then add minced garlic.
Use good homemade or good quality store bought chicken broth.
Add salt, black pepper, and just to be sure it’s well seasoned, garlic and onion powder.
When everything is combined, it cooks for 2 hours and 15 minutes. They would be tender enough at 45 minutes. In fact, they’re fantastic at 45 minutes. But the texture we love (and this is very common in the south) is when it seems like you put them on simmer and forgot about them for a while … when they’re falling apart but not too mushy.
At this point, they’re perfect. You can stop right here. Don’t need anything but a big spoon and to go back for seconds. Flawless smoky flavor.
But 2 cups of chopped green chile adds that unmistakeable herby flavor we love. We use canned Hatch green chile, although fresh roasted and prepped are better and …. well, fresher.
When you drain them, be sure to save the broth to store in the freezer and use later for a soup or stew base. It’s fantastic for green chile pork stew with posole.
Because we know Mama Dot is reading this …
… Amy would like to take this opportunity to say …
Thank you for letting me hang out in your kitchen, ask a million questions and learn how to cook. Every day you prepared meals for a large family … kept an eye on the biscuits while the gravy thickened, glazed the hams as they baked, along with casseroles, grits, creamy potatoes and so many more dishes, all to perfection. When I think about it, you prepared the equivalent of a Thanksgiving meal all year long. When I walk into a southern or comfort food restaurant, I know it’s good if it smells like your kitchen. You always made us feel special and truly loved. You are an amazing woman and I love you. xo Amy