Integral to Cajun and Southern cuisine, perhaps more than any other animal, is the humble hog. From smoky bacons and cracklins to stately hams and spicy artisanal sausages, the pig provides both the main attraction and the backbone to some of our most flavorful dishes.
And while anyone who’s spent time in Cajun country is likely familiar with traditional boucherie, each Southern state has a unique culinary relationship with pork. In the Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig (HarperCollins, 2014), author Chris Chamberlain delves into it all.
The book guides readers in how to select, prepare, and cook a whole hog, while also providing a pig-lovers’ road-map of the South, profiling restaurants from Texas to Virginia that specialize in swine.
For home cooks, delicious recipes from some of the South’s best restaurants give numerous ways to use the pig in everything from appetizers to cocktails. Louisiana chefs are featured prominently with creative dishes like Pork Tchoupitoulas from Ruffino’s, Louisiana Hot Sauce Deviled Eggs from Toups’ Meatery, and Pan-Fried Mac and Cheese with Kale and Chorizo from Crescent Pie and Sausage Company.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 pounds kale, tough stems discarded
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ½ pounds chorizo sausage, halved
- 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add white wine, then kale in handfuls. Let kale wilt slightly before adding more. Add salt and pepper; cover, and cook 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook chorizo until cooked through, turning frequently, 6 to 9 minutes. Cut sausage into 4-inch pieces, and set aside.
- Remove lid from kale mixture, and cook until liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes more. Drain, and set aside.
- To a large nonstick skillet over low heat, add cooked pasta, and cook 4 minutes. Add mustard and Cheddar, and toss until combined. Add flour, and stir for 1 minute.
- Increase heat to medium, and slowly stir in butter and cream. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low, and cook until cheese is melted and cream is evenly distributed, about 5 minutes more. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.
- Increase heat to medium-high, and cook pasta until a golden-brown crust begins to form, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from heat. Serve with a scoop of cooked kale and a piece of chorizo.