Purloo, jambalaya, pilau, arroz con pollo… all rice casseroles cooked with the local aromatic vegetables, broth and whatever meat happens to be around. Purloo is the Cracker & Low Country version of this dish, made slightly soupier with rich stock. I used good Louisiana rice in this purloo since I didn’t have any Florida rice left. Okra is a traditional vegetable here, but okra’s not in season yet. I love the flexibility of these one-dish meals, once you learn the technique you can freely substitute seasonal ingredients throughout the year. These kind of dishes can really come in handy for the Eat Local Challenge, too!
Sour orange pie is a revelation. I read about the recipe in my Cracker cooking and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings research, but never tried it. I was warned last Saturday that there’s only a few weeks left for sour oranges, so I finally remembered to buy a graham cracker crust, I pulled a can of dusty sweetened condensed milk out of the back of the pantry, and I made this pie. I swear I will never make key lime pie again. I may never *want* key lime pie again. This pie is fantastic. I don’t love meringue toppings, so I topped this with plain whipped cream. Perfect.
Chicken, Tasso and Rice Casserole
3 chicken leg quarters, cut into joints
1/2 lb tasso, chopped
2 green peppers, seeded and chopped
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large sprigs of fresh thyme, minced
2 c good quality rice
4 c homemade chicken broth
1/2 tsp creole seasoning
salt, pepper, and a handful of fresh parsley, minced
Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Do not add oil! When the pot is very hot, lay half the chicken pieces down and brown them on each side. When browned, take them out and brown the other half of the pieces. Wedge all the chicken down in the bottom of the pot. Add the tasso, peppers, green onions, garlic, and thyme. Put the top on the dutch oven and cook for 20-30 minutes. Then lift the lid off, add the rice, chicken broth, and creole seasoning. Shake the pot gently until the rice is submerged under the broth. Bring the broth up to a boil, then cover again and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook at medium-low for 20-30 minutes.
Taste for seasoning and add salt & pepper if necessary. Turn out into a large dish so the chicken is on top, sprinkle with parley, and serve.
Sour Orange Pie
My recipe comes from Authentic Florida, but using the big bumpy sour oranges instead of calamondins. If you have a ton of calamondins, you can use those instead. I’m going to try this next with a puree of kumquats. Don’t buy the whipped cream in a can for this- unsweetened cream is the perfect foil for this sweet, slightly tart, aggressively orange pie. Sour oranges are available right now from Henderson & Daughter Citrus at the Alachua County Farmers’ Market.
3 large sour oranges, as clean as possible
4 eggs, separated
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 c whipping cream
1 graham cracker crust, homemade or store-bought
Heat oven to 350. Use a vegetable peeler to peel about half of the orange with the most blemish-free skin. Mince the peel finely. Juice all 3 oranges, making sure there are no seeds in the juice. Measure out 2/3 cup juice and set aside the rest for another use (like mojo!). Separate the eggs and set the whites aside for another use. Beat together the egg yolks, minced peel, juice, and the full can of sweetened condensed milk. Pour into crust and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until set. Let cool completely. Whip the cream to stiff peaks and serve with the pie.