4 Southern Staples

From biscuits to bourbon balls, these classics from the Southern Living Test Kitchen are a must for your recipe box.

When you’re the official faucet of the Southern Living Test Kitchen, you can’t help but pick up a few favorite recipes along the way. Click through for four we love right now.

Bourbon Balls

Bourbon Balls

In the early days of the South, the unique corn whiskey made in Kentucky was often referred to as Bourbon, the name of the county in which it was distilled. Today, it means whiskey aged in charred oak barrels for at least two years. Put the good stuff to good use in this easy-peasy recipe.

Ingredients
1 (12-ounce) package vanilla wafers, finely crushed
1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
¾ c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa
2½ Tbsp. light corn syrup
½ c. bourbon 
Powdered sugar

Directions
1) Combine vanilla wafers, pecans, powdered sugar and cocoa in a large bowl; stir well.
2) Combine corn syrup and bourbon, stirring well. Pour bourbon mixture over wafer mixture; stir until blended. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in additional powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container up to two weeks.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits

After baking hundreds of biscuits, the Southern Living Test Kitchen landed on this winning recipe.

Ingredients
½ c. butter (1 stick), frozen
2½ c. self-rising flour
1 c. chilled buttermilk
Parchment paper
2 Tbsp. butter, melted 

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Grate frozen butter using large holes of a box grater. Toss together grated butter and flour in a medium bowl. Chill 10 minutes.
2) Make a well in center of mixture. Add buttermilk, and stir 15 times. Dough will be sticky.
3) Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly sprinkle flour over top of dough. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into a ¾-inch-thick rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches). Fold dough in half so short ends meet. Repeat rolling and folding process four more times.
4) Roll dough to ½-inch thickness. Cut with a 2½-inch floured round cutter, reshaping scraps and flouring as needed.
5) Place dough rounds on a parchment paper-lined jelly-roll pan. Bake at 475 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush with melted butter.

 

Anytime Gravy

Anytime Gravy

Make homemade turkey gravy—without making a whole turkey.

Ingredients
2½ lbs. dark meat turkey pieces (wings and necks)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil 
1 medium onion, chopped 
2 celery ribs, chopped 
1 (49.5-ounce) can chicken broth 
½ c. chopped fresh parsley
⅓ c. butter 
⅓ c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
½ tsp. poultry seasoning
¼ tsp. rubbed sage

Directions

1) Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add turkey pieces, cook 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Add onion and celery, sauté 4 minutes. Gradually stir in broth, loosening particles from bottom of skillet; stir in parsley. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a large bowl (discard solids).

2) Melt butter in skillet over medium heat; whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in broth mixture; increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Garden Tomato Sauce over Pasta

Garden Tomato Sauce over Pasta

We love this sauce as a meatless meal over hearty pasta. Or try it in lasagna or a meatball sub.

Ingredients
1 onion, diced (about 1 cup) 
1 Tbsp. olive oil 
1 garlic clove, minced 
4 medium-size heirloom tomatoes (about 2 pounds), cored and chopped 
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
¼ c. dry red wine 
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano or marjoram
Hot cooked pasta 
Garnish: fresh oregano leaves

Directions
Sauté onion in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add tomatoes, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes or until tomatoes start to release their juices. Add wine, and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes or until almost all liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat, stir in oregano. Serve sauce over hot cooked pasta. Store sauce in an airtight container in refrigerator up to one week, or freeze up to one month.