Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

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Hearty Chicken Vegetable Soup, Mexican Cornbread

On cold winter nights, this vegetable soup is a family favorite. January is the perfect month for soup and chili.

Hearty Chicken Vegetable Soup

3 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (save the broth)

12 ounces frozen butter peas

12 ounces frozen crow-der peas

6 red Idaho potatoes, sliced

1 large onion, chopped

3 carrots, sliced paper thin

1 frozen package vegetable gumbo mix

8 ounces frozen shoe peg corn

1 46-ounce bottle V-8 juice

1 28-ounce can stewed tomatoes, crushed with potato masher

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

Handful of elbow macaroni

In a large Dutch oven (or the largest pot you have) cook chicken breasts until tender (salt and pepper while cooking). Remove chicken from broth and add all vegetables. Add enough water to cover vegetables. Cook for about one hour until vegetables are tender.

Shred chicken and place into your soup. Add all other ingredients except macaroni and simmer for about two hours. The last 30 minutes, add a handful of macaroni. Stir occasionally; we do not want it to stick.

Andy’s note: You can substitute leftover roast or ground chuck for the chicken. I have a really good friend who always likes to use chicken in her soup. People buy her soup by the gallons. This one is for you soup lovers!

In the South, you cannot serve soup without a good cornbread. This Mexican cornbread is a meal within itself.

Mexican Cornbread

2 cups self-rising cornmeal

2 eggs

½ cup Parmesan cheese (the kind you sprinkle on spaghetti sauce)

pimento, medium jar (drained and mashed with a fork)

1 ¼ cup milk

1 medium onion, chopped small

1 small can of cream style corn

3 jalapeno peppers, chopped with the seeds

¾ cup Crisco oil

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased, hot iron skillet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or until brown on top.

Andy’s Note: You can also bake this in a 9×13 inch pan and cut in squares. This is so good in muffin pans where it is brown all around.

My family loves this cornbread! It is really good served with pinto beans, sliced fresh tomato from the garden, slice of onion and of course, a cold glass of sweet Southern tea. What a meal! Yummy!

Happy cooking, and I hope we all have the best year ever!

— Andy Bedwell

“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased at Alabama Gift Shop, Little Faces Doll Shop and the Messenger office on Broad Street.

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