Memories of Sunday dinners at my Grandmother Icy’s house were just a wonderful feeling of comfort. Her stove was covered with the most delicious dishes that I have cherished since my childhood—everything from fried chicken, heaping bowls of mashed potatoes, slaw that she had shredded with a sharp knife, green beans topped with new potatoes, pinto beans with a thick sauce, cornbread, a three-layer strawberry shortcake, down to her signature sweet Southern tea. I treat all of these dishes as my family heirlooms.
This week, I want to share with you some of my favorite comfort rice dishes.
Country Fried Swiss Steak
4-6 pieces cube steak
1 large onion, sliced
1 large bell pepper, sliced
1 can French Style Green Beans, drained
1 regular can stewed tomatoes
salt, pepper, and a little sugar
Flour each piece of cube steak and fry on both sides in a hot greased skillet. I use about 3 tablespoons of oil to fry on medium high heat. All you want is to brown on both sides quickly. Place brown cube steak in a large fairly deep casserole dish. Begin layering over the steak, sliced onions, sliced bell pepper, green beans, stewed tomatoes (fresh tomatoes are so good in the summer) and salt, pepper and a little sugar. Any spice that you prefer can be used. Sometimes, I add Italian seasoning. Cover with foil and bake in a slow oven at 325 degrees for 2 hours.
Andy’s Note: While your Swiss steak is baking, cook a huge boiler of white rice using at least 2 cups of raw rice. When the rice is done, I usually add at least ½ stick of butter. After letting your Swiss steak rest for 30 minutes, pile the steak and vegetables on top of a beautiful bed of white rice. I think this dish would do wonderfully well in a crock pot. This recipe is strictly from my memory this morning and I hope I haven’t omitted anything. I will also tell you that I have substituted the cube steak for chicken breast and it also very good.
Chinese Rice Casserole
2 (1 3/8-ounce packages onion soup mix
3 cups boiling water
1 pound mild sausage (I always use Deans)
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
½ green pepper, chopped
½ cup uncooked white rice
1 small jar pimentos, drained and chopped
½ cup sliced water chestnuts
Place soup mix in bowl. Pour in boiling water and set aside. Cook sausage until brown. Drain and reserve 2 tablespoons of drippings. Sauté celery, onion and green pepper in drippings. Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Stir after 30 minutes.
Andy’s Note: This is different, easy and so good. Love it! Love it! Love it!
Sherry’s Rice Pudding
1 ½ cups cooked rice, (leftover rice is good)
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
¼ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups milk, scalded
2 tablespoons butter
Mix altogether and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Andy’s Note: Sherry Whiteside, who lives in Piedmont, Alabama, is one of the best Southern cooks that I have ever known. She and I have been friends for years and have shared so many wonderful recipes with each other. We carried a bunch of Gaston students to Panama City one summer and she made homemade biscuits for everyone. The word got around fast.
Next week, I have a sweet surprise for all of you for the month of February! Save your calories!
Happy Comfort Cooking, Andy Bedwell
“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased at Alabama Gift Company in Downtown Gadsden and the Messenger on Rainbow Drive.