Saturday, May 7, 2016

Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen - Cookbook Review + Recipe

I really wanted to like this cookbook.  I really really did.  The title makes me cringe a bit but I remember Francine Bryson's appearance on The American Baking Competition and I really liked her.  She's so friendly and funny and the woman can bake.  I have and love her book Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen and I talked about the lemon bar recipe not to long ago here so my expectations were pretty high for Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen when I picked it up at Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

The cookbook is divided into fairly standard chapters - appetizers (redneck whatnots), chicken (yardbird), burgers and BBQ, meat, Sunday dinners and a few different chapters on baked goods.  Each recipe has a cute story or serving instructions attached and the majority have gorgeous pictures attached.  As in her baking book the ingredients are easy to find and the instructions are clear and easy to follow.  I really like that there isn't a reliance on cream of whatever soup as happens frequently - especially for Southern food.  Not only does she not use the soup but she actually included a recipe for a substitute.  Some of the recipes that caught my eye include - Picnic Table Cucumber Salad, Lemon-Herb Chicken, Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Burgers, Meatloaf to Stop a Man in His Tracks, Creamed Corn, Roasted Crooked Yellow Squash as well as Peach Bread, School Yard Peanut Butter Bars, and a Salted Chocolate Tart from the sweet section.  There's also a Chicken and Dumpling recipe that looks divine (though my family wouldn't eat it because they're weird).  This isn't a book for vegetarians because even most of the vegetable dishes involve meat of some kind.

Now for results - so far I've made 2 recipes.  I made her Cheese Grits from the Florida Coast and Yankee Pot Roast, Southern Style.  The grits were okay.  I ended up adding about a cup more cheese and liked it but still felt like it needed a little extra something.  So next up was the pot roast -

Yankee Pot Roast, Southern Style

from Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen

2 medium yellow onions, cut into eights
6 russet potatoes, peeled
8 medium carrots, quartered
3 -4 lb beef chuck pot roast
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
12 ounces beer, such as amber ale

In a slow cooker, combine the onions, potatoes, and carrots.  Put the beef roast on top and then sprinkle the Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, basil, and thyme evenly over the roast.  Put the 2 bay leaves on top of the roast.  Pour the beer evenly over everything.

Cook on medium for 4 hours (or low for 8 hours, or high for 2 hours and 15 minutes) until the beef is fall apart tender.

Discard the bay leaves, slice the pot roast and serve with the vegetables.

My Changes: I used red onions because that's what I had and cut up the potatoes because they were on the large side.  I cooked it for 8 hours on low

My Results: It was okay.  Like with the grits I just wanted more flavor.  Part of the problem could have been was that I used the beer I had on hand which was a Blue Moon which is lighter.  A darker beer might have had more flavor.  I also wanted a bit more of a liquid as it was a bit dry.

So I'm on the fence with this one.  I really want to like it but so far my attempts have been low on flavor.  I'm not quite ready to give up on Francine quite yet so I'm going to keep trying.  I know the desserts at least will be amazing!

I'd recommend this as a library loan if you're interested.  I'm going to keep trying recipes and I'll be sure to come back and share if I find one that's amazing.  In the meantime I'll be snacking on Francine's Lemon Bars from Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen.

I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads


  1. Drat. But I'm looking at the ingredients and thinking that there's hardly enough herbs to season a 3- to 4-pound roast plus all those potatoes. Also no salt or pepper? I don't cook with a lot of salt, but I think potatoes absolutely call for it. And we use a lot of pepper in my house.

  2. Too bad you didn't love the grits and roast, but I agree, I think it needed more herbs.

  3. You did a fair test of the recipes though, cooking mostly as they read; so if it was me I'd probably toss the book. I know, ruthless.

  4. Yes, it is so tough when you try two different recipes and feel like they both lack seasoning. It definitely doesn't bode well. Fingers crossed for the desserts in this book being like those lemon bars from her other book. ;-)

  5. Thanks for your honest review and assessment of the recipes. It's always disappointing when you have high hopes and are disappointed by the results. I would have added salt and pepper to the pot roast to begin with because of the potatoes.

  6. I wonder if you could use cider.... Cheers from Carole's Chatter!

  7. That's disappointing but all you can do is try a recipe or two. I have been finding that with some cookbooks lately and happy I tried them through the library instead of purchasing them. Was this in Blogging for Books?

    I love a pot roast and maybe I will try this version but pump it up more, more herbs and a dark beer.

  8. Disappointing...I hate it when a recipe ends up tasting a bit bland. I need some flavor in my life! I have a feeling that this one wouldn't work for me because it would be hard to convert to gluten free. Great review!

    Carole @ Carole's Random Life

  9. I used to load up at the library with cookbooks. It is a good way to go because if there is one you love, you can copy it down or scan it. I would be terrible to spend the big bucks on a full color cookbook and then not care for the recipes. Thanks for the review. :)

  10. The cover is making me crave ribs, so I think I know where I'm going to dinner now.

  11. That's too bad it ended up just being eh. Thanks for the heads up on the veggies. That can be so hit or miss when you're a vegetarian.