Soul Soothing Soup Supper

Is there anything more welcoming on a cold winter night than a bowl of hot soup and cornbread? During the holiday season, there are times when we just want something familiar and comforting. What comes to mind first for me is white bean soup and hoecakes. I cannot think of anything I’d rather have right this minute!

I did not grow up on white beans or great northern beans, but it didn’t take long for me to learn to love them when I came to Tennessee! (Which doesn’t mean I love my Alabama black-eyed peas any less. I have plenty of bean love to go around.) White bean soup is a classic partially because of its reputation as a favorite at the US Senate cafeteria.

Tuscan White Bean Soup and Hot Water Hoecakes is a little riff on that theme, but with ingredients that pay homage to its Southern roots. This recipe calls for Italian sausage instead of the traditionally Southern country sausage or ham and the addition of kale or collards keeps it close to home.

You couldn’t find a better accompaniment for this soup than old-fashioned Hot Water Hoe Cakes. The name probably comes from field workers who made simple corn cakes on the blade of a hoe cooked over an open fire. Whatever the origin, these Hoe Cakes are the purest and one of the most delicious forms of our beloved cornbread.

Chicken Pies Soothe the Soul

The frigid temperatures have me thinking about a favorite homey comfort food not only at my house, but all across America – chicken pie. Like many casseroles and one-dish meals, chicken pies are likely the tasty result of thrifty cooks stretching one chicken or hen to feed a big family. As a result, there are many versions.

In the South, some folks make a distinction between chicken pie and chicken pot pie. Chicken pies, also known as “Chicken and Pastry,” are the savory versions of a fruit pie or cobbler, made with homemade crust and no, or very few, vegetables. Chicken pot pies typically include vegetables and have a top crust only. No matter what you call it, a one-dish meal like chicken pot pie is perfect for today’s busy families, especially during cold winter months.

Baking a chicken pie made from scratch is a labor of love, but worth every minute of it when you have the time. When you need something quicker, there are many options for using convenient ingredients like good precooked chicken as well as canned and frozen vegetables and sauces.

Easy Pickin’ Chicken Pie is quick and easy to put together. This ever-popular recipe takes advantage of precooked chicken, frozen mixed vegetables and the secret to a lot of great Southern casseroles – condensed soup. The pour batter crust has just three ingredients, but bakes up crisp, buttery and delicious.

Easy Pickin' Chicken Pie
Easy Pickin’ Chicken Pie

Sunday Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie uses cooked chicken, but fresh vegetables and homemade sauce give it a rich, full flavor. Topped with biscuits and baked in a cast iron skillet, how could it get much better than that on a cold winter night?

Sunday Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie
Sunday Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie

How do you prepare your chicken pie? I would love to hear if you make it from scratch or use convenient ingredients from your local grocery store.