Kardea Brown joined “Good Morning America” to share two recipes from her new cookbook “The Way Home: A Celebration of Sea Islands Food and Family with Over 100 Recipes.”
The host of Food Network’s “Delicious Miss Brown” celebrates the Gullah/Geechee culinary traditions of her family’s roots and expands her story in this debut cookbook, which explores her relationship with the cuisine that laid a foundation for Southern cooking.
5 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small fryer chicken, cut into frying pieces
2 teaspoons Miss Brown’s House Seasoning (page 33), or to taste
8 ounces smoked sausage, such as kielbasa or andouille, cut into half moons
1 medium Vidalia onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 cups diced ripe tomatoes (beefsteak or heirloom if in season, plum if not)
2 cups long-grain white rice, such as Carolina Gold Rice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups (1 quart) chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh curly-leaf parsley, for serving (optional)
Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered, 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, the rendered fat in the leaving pan.
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the House Seasoning. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the chicken, skin-side down, and the sausage to the skillet. Sear the chicken on one side, stirring and flipping the sausage occasionally, until the chicken is deep golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side. Remove the chicken and sausage to a plate.
Add the celery, onion, and pepper to the remaining bacon and chicken fat in the skillet. Cook until the vegetables are softened and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in the sherry and use a wooden spoon to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until they release all their juices, 3-4 minutes.
Stir in the rice and butter and cook for about 1 minute. Stir the cooked bacon and sausage back into the skillet. Stir in the chicken stock and add more House Seasoning to taste. Nestle the chicken pieces, skin-side up, back into the pan, adding any juices from the plate.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is fully cooked, 20-30 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and sprinkle with parsley, if using. Serve immediately.
1. Make recipe with dark meat chicken for more flavor.
2. Make sure you sear your chicken in the same pot. This is an essential step in adding flavor for this dish.
3. Make sure your rice has been rinsed completely. Less starch equals fluffier rice.
4. You can also use drained canned tomatoes for more of an intense tomato flavor.
5. Sherry can be omitted in this recipe if you can’t find it or prefer not to cook with alcohol.
Miss Brown’s House Seasoning
“My house seasoning can be used on nearly everything. Especially poultry, vegetables, seafood, red meat, and so much more! You’ll see the seasoning used in recipes like Chicken Perloo. I store my house seasoning in an air-tight glass container in a dark, cool space.”
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, combine the onion powder, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. You can make as much seasoning as you want, using multiple teaspoons of each until you reach the desired quantity. It can be stored in an air-tight container for up to one year.
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus additional softened butter for the baking dish
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Confectioners sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Turn off the heat and let the butter cool slightly, then add the brown sugar, almond extract, and vanilla extract and stir until smooth.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder, then fold the flour mixture into the brown sugar mixture. Fold in the pecans. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake until set around the edges but still loose in the center, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely, then Sift confectioners’ sugar on top. Cut into 16 squares.
1. Make sure you butter if fully melted.
2. You can add any nuts of your choice to this recipe.
3. Make sure you use all-purpose flour and not self rising. These chewies are more dense and should have very little rise.
4. If you want more of a molasses flavor, use dark brown sugar.
Excerpted from THE WAY HOME by Kardea Brown and reprinted with permission from Amistad/HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2022.