It’s not every day you find Paul Finebaum in a cookbook. The legendary sports personality has written the foreword to “The All-New Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook,” by the editors of Southern Living (Oxmoor House, $24.99). In addition to 150 tailgating recipes, the book includes history, trivia and game day menus for each of the 14 football teams in the Southeastern Conference. Below, we’re featuring recipes for Alabama and Auburn. (Two recipes from each. We’re not taking sides.)
CHEESE GRITS AND GREENS CASSEROLE
Balancing two classic Alabama foods — creamy, cheesy grits and savory, salted collard greens that take on heat from red pepper — this dish is a terrific brunch accompaniment. Bake the casserole right before heading to your tailgate, and transport it in a casserole carrier to keep it warm.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped thick-cut bacon (about 5 slices)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (1-pound) package pre-washed collard greens, stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
7 cups chicken stock (divided)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups uncooked regular grits (not quick-cooking or coarse stone-ground)
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 ½ cups shredded Parmesan cheese (divided)
1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (divided)
Hot sauce (optional)
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add the chopped bacon and cook until lightly browned, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the onion, stirring often, until softened and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, brown sugar and crushed red pepper, and cook until the bacon is well cooked, but not crispy, about 2 minutes. Add the greens in batches, stirring until wilted. Stir in 1 cup of the chicken stock, and cover. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are slightly tender and wilted, about 8 minutes. Cover and keep warm over low until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the cream, half-and-half, salt and remaining 6 cups chicken stock in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over high and whisk in the grits. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, whisking often, until the grits are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the parsley and 1 cup each of the Parmesan and Monterey Jack. Remove from the heat.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the greens from the Dutch oven and stir into the grits. Transfer to a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking dish, and sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup each Parmesan and Monterey Jack. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve with the hot sauce, if desired.
SMOKED WAR EAGLE WINGS WITH WHITE SAUCE
Smoky, tangy, tender, tempting — make these your go-to smoked wings when tailgating near Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium or following the Tigers on the road. The brine gives the meat a sweet flavor and keeps it tender. The wings will change to an amber color when the smoke has thoroughly penetrated the meat. After smoking the wings, while they’re still hot, toss them in hot sauce and Alabama-style barbecue sauce. Serve the wings with the white sauce drizzled on top or on the side for dunking.
For the wings:
4 cups brewed sweet iced tea (such as Milo’s)
½ cup water
5 tablespoons kosher salt
4 pounds chicken drumettes and flats
For the white sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup hot sauce (such as Frank’s RedHot Original)
¼ cup Alabama-style red barbecue sauce (such as Golden Rule or Dreamland)
Make the wings: Place the tea in a 4- to 6-quart food-safe container. Heat the water and salt in a small saucepan over high, stirring constantly, until the salt is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add to the tea. Add the chicken, and cover and chill 8 hours or up to overnight.
Prepare the smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions for indirect heat. Bring the internal temperature to 250 degrees. Maintain the temperature. Drain the chicken, discarding the brine; pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place the chicken on the grate over indirect heat, and smoke, until cooked through, 1 ½ to 2 hours, maintaining the temperature inside the smoker around 250. Move to direct heat, and smoke, covered, until charred, about 5 minutes. Remove from the smoker.
Make the white sauce: Whisk together all the white sauce ingredients. (The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
Stir together the hot sauce and barbecue sauce in a large bowl. Add the chicken, and toss to coat. Transfer to a platter, and serve with the white sauce.
SWEET-HOT POTATO SALAD
The sweet-hot pickles and mustard give this mayonnaise-based dish pleasing acidity. Be sure to bring the potatoes to a boil with the water for even cooking.
10 cups water
1 ½ pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes
1 ½ pounds small red potatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt (divided)
4 large eggs
¾ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup juice from 1 (16-ounce) jar sweet-hot pickles (such as Wickles)
2 tablespoons coarse-grained mustard
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon black pepper
¾ cup chopped sweet-hot pickles (such as Wickles)
⅔ cup thinly sliced red onion (from 1 small onion)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Place the water, potatoes and 1 ½ tablespoons of the salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high. Reduce the heat to medium; simmer the potatoes until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a plate. (Do not discard the cooking water.) Cool the potatoes completely, about 30 minutes. Cut the potatoes into ¾ inch pieces.
Return the water to a boil over high. Carefully add the eggs with a slotted spoon, and cook 8 minutes; immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Cool completely, about 5 minutes. Peel the eggs, and roughly chop.
Stir together the mayonnaise, pickle juice, mustard, sugar, pepper and remaining ½ tablespoon salt in a large bowl. Add the potatoes, eggs, pickles, onion and dill; stir well. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
SWEET CRIMSON ROLL TIDE ROLLS
Even opponents will say “Roll Tide!” to these amazingly jammy breakfast rolls.
For the rolls:
¼ cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
½ cup cake flour
⅓ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 ¼ cups bread flour
½ cup unsalted butter, softened (divided)
For the filling:
1 cup fresh or frozen thawed blackberries
2 cups seedless raspberry preserves (from 2 10-ounce jars) (divided)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (divided)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
¼ cup granulated sugar
For the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
4 teaspoons whole milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the rolls: Combine the warm water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let stand until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the cake flour, granulated sugar, milk, salt, vanilla and eggs; beat on low speed with the paddle attachment until almost smooth, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the bread flour and beat until the dough comes together, about 1 minute. Change to the dough hook attachment, and knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, 13 to 15 minutes.
Add 6 tablespoons of the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to grease a large bowl; place the dough in the bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place (80 degrees to 85 degrees), free from drafts, until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Deflate the dough by folding it over on itself twice. Cover and let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Butter a 13x9-inch baking pan with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and set aside.
Make the filling: Combine the blackberries, 1 cup of the preserves, and 4 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high. Bring to a boil, and stir, lightly pressing on the blackberries to release their juices. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 4 minutes. Stir together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, and gradually pour into the saucepan, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute. Pour the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet. Let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
Stir together the granulated sugar, remaining 1 cup preserves, and 6 tablespoons of the butter in a bowl. Spread in the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 16x12-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Spread the cooled blackberry mixture on the surface of the dough, and roll up the dough from 1 long side. Cut the dough crosswise into 8 even pieces. Place the rolls, cut side down, in the baking pan, spacing evenly. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place (80 degrees to 85 degrees) to rise until the rolls have doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake in the preheated oven until the rolls are browned and the syrup is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, and then invert the baking pan onto a platter or plate lined with parchment to catch the syrup.
Make the icing: Whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl; drizzle over the hot rolls.
Excerpted from ‘The All-New SEC Tailgating Cookbook’ by the Editors of Southern Living. Copyright 2018 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Meredith Corporation. New York, NY. All rights reserved.