Cookbook cover for SOUTHERN SNACKS: 77 Recipes for Small Bites with Big

SOUTHERN SNACKS: 77 Recipes for Small Bites with Big

Perre Magness

University of North Carolina Press
September 10, 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1469636726

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Perre Coleman Magness is the author of Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook and The Southern Sympathy Cookbook. She is also the writer behind The Runaway Spoon, which focuses on creative recipes with a Southern slant. Perre Coleman has studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study in London, Morocco, Thailand, and Mexico. But her kitchen of choice is at home in Memphis, Tennessee, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

This cookbook is dedicated to the truth that southerners are just as skilled and generous with the snack as they are with their bounteous, overflowing meals. In seventy-seven recipes that range from classic to contemporary, Perre Coleman Magness embraces the southern approach to snacking, including all the small bites you’ll need for any event, whether a football game, a party, or, if things are looking down, a funeral. Many of the recipes are inspired by southern community cookbooks, home cooks, and chefs who put new twists on southern flavors.

Highlighting local ingredients and traditional techniques, these snacks—from Fried Dill Pickles with Delta Comeback Sauce to Louisiana’s Natchitoches Meat Pies and Charleston’s Benne Wafers—shine a light on the diversity of regionally distinct southern cuisine. The contemporary recipes work ingeniously with familiar southern ingredients, from Field Pea Hummus and Country Ham Paté to Smoked Catfish Spread and Sweet Tea Pecans. The recipes are enriched with delightful stories and lore, along with thirty-six lush color photographs. Getting together with friends and family? You will never arrive empty-handed again.


Sweet Tea-Brined Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Tea Mustard

Serves at least 12, with 1 pint mustard

If beef tenderloin is the king of the southern buffet table, pork tenderloin is the queen. More economical and eminently adaptable, everyone will be satisfied with a hearty bite. A platter of thinly sliced pork surrounded by rolls with a bowl of sauce is another party staple. I’ve upped the southern factor with a happy hit of sweet tea, both in the marinade and in the zippy mustard sauce. And you’ll find a host of other uses for the mustard.


For the tenderloin

  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 4 black tea bags (such as orange pekoe)
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint
  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 2 pounds each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2−3 dozen Parker House rolls (such as Sister Schubert’s), prepared according to package instructions

 For the mustard

  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 black tea bag (such as orange pekoe)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional, for color)

For the tenderloin, stir 2 cups of the water, the sugar, and the salt together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Remove from the heat and add the tea bags and the mint. Leave to cool, then remove the tea and the mint and stir in the remaining water. Place the pork tenderloins in a flat container or a zip-top bag placed on a plate. Pour the cooled brine over the tenderloins and refrigerate for 8 hours, but up to 12 is fine.

When ready to cook the pork, preheat the oven to 425°. Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet and brown the outside of the tenderloins on all sides. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook the pork to an internal temperature of 150°, about 15 minutes. Let the pork rest at least 5 minutes before thinly slicing.

Serve thin slices of pork on a platter with the mustard and a basket of rolls.

For the mustard, pour the boiling water over the tea bag in a measuring jug and leave it to cool to room temperature. Set up a double boiler over medium-high heat.

Place the cooled tea and the remaining ingredients in the carafe of a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the mustard mixture into the top of the double boiler and cook, stirring, until the mustard thickens, about 8 minutes. You want it just a little looser than sandwich-spreadable; it will thicken as it cools and refrigerates. Cool the mustard in the pot off the heat, then pour it into a jar, cover, and refrigerate. The mustard will last a week tightly covered in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Cheddar and Pepper Jelly Crumble Bars

Makes 25

Cheese and pepper jelly is a classic southern combination. This idea, however, was inspired by a Canadian Junior League cookbook, of all things. That recipe was for a blue cheese base with orange marmalade. The first time I read that recipe, I immediately knew I had to try it southern-style. These little jewels have become a big hit whenever I serve them.

  • 4 ounces extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
  • 11/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 (10.5-ounce) jar red pepper jelly (such as Braswell’s)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line an 8-inch square pan with nonstick foil or foil sprayed with cooking spray.

Fit the shredding disk in a food processor and grate the cheese and the cold butter together. Switch to the metal blade, add the flour, salt, paprika, baking powder, and cayenne, and process until the mixture just starts to come together. You want clinging crumbs that easily hold together when pinched between your fingers. This may take 3 to 4 minutes. Don’t let the mixture form a ball.

Reserving 1/2 cup of the crumbs, dump the rest into the prepared pan and press out into a flat layer with a smooth top. Spread the jelly evenly on the surface, all the way to the edges. An offset palette knife or the back of a spoon is the best tool for this. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs evenly over the pepper jelly.

Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool completely.

Lift out of the pan using the foil edges and cut into small squares. You might want to label these on a buffet table or tell people what they are—someone might mistake them for strawberry crumble bars!

From SOUTHERN SNACKS: 77 RECIPES FOR SMALL BITES WITH BIG FLAVORS by Perre Coleman Magness. Copyright © 2018 by Perre Coleman Magness. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.

Contact: Gina Mahalek