Ingredients change according to the way they are cut and cooked.
When the onion and mushrooms are finely
chopped and cooked briefly, they are light; when cooked long and slow until dark, they become nearly a paste. When the mushrooms
are sliced, they change the soup yet again. Marjoram, lemon balm, and mint are perennials in most of the South, with basil dying
out at the first December freeze.
3 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, chopped
1 / 2 pound fresh mushrooms, wild
or cultivated, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups chicken stock or broth
1 tablespoon white quick grits,
long-grain rice, or wild rice
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram,
basil, lemon balm, or mint
Heat the butter in a large Dutch oven; add the onions
and mushrooms and cook until soft. Stir in the flour. Pour
in the stock, stirring, and bring to the boil. Add the grits
or rice, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20
minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate
or freeze if desired. Bring to the boil and sprinkle with
herbs just before serving. This recipe doubles easily: make
one to serve and one to freeze.
Half Dollar Ham Biscuits
Makes 5 dozen
5 dozen baked 1 1⁄2-inch Baking Powder Biscuits (page 54), split 3⁄4 cup butter, softened 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 tablespoons poppy seeds 2 to 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1 pound thinly shaved ham
Mix together the butter, onion, poppy seeds, and mustard in a small bowl. Spread the bottom halves of the biscuits with the onion mixture. Top with the shaved ham and replace the top halves of the biscuits.
These may be served right away or stored in the refrigerator up to 2 days, tightly wrapped in aluminum foil. To freeze, wrap the biscuits in foil, then in a freezer bag. To reheat, defrost the still-wrapped biscuits in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat biscuits straight from the refrigerator in a 400 degree F oven, still in tightly wrapped foil, until heated through, about 15 minutes.
Recipe from Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart. Reprinted with permission by Gibbs Smith.
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