5 Essentials for Easy Deep South Dinners

Fried chicken is a staple of picnics, potlucks and Sunday dinners.
Fried chicken is a staple of picnics, potlucks and Sunday dinners.

There are two meats essential to Deep South cooking, and chicken is one of them. Fried chicken has certainly earned a place as an iconic Southern dish. Though there are some differences of opinion on how best to prepare the bird (buttermilk or brine marinade, single- or double-floured, deep-fried or shallow-fried), Southerners definitely love it. And, while it doesn't immediately spring to mind as a quick and easy recipe, marinating the chicken overnight, preparing the breading ahead of time and then oven-frying the chicken will save you from feeling crunched when it's dinner.

But chickens aren't just for frying! Various regions in the Deep South have their own chicken specialties, including Country Captain Chicken, a popular stew in the low-country region of South Carolina, and Chicken Gumbo, which comes from the Cajun and creole flavors of Louisiana, can be easily adapted to be a slow-cooker dish. Chicken and dumplings is another popular meal, and though this recipe starts with roasting your own bird, make things easier on yourself by using a precooked rotisserie chicken and canned biscuits for the dumplings.

Next up, the other white meat.

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