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Snacking Southern Style

Justin Fox Burks

Local author Perre Coleman Magness has just penned another cookbook!

On the heels of her popular Pimento Cheese Cookbook and The Southern Sympathy Cookbook on funeral foods comes Southern Snacks: 77 Recipes for Small Bites with Big Flavor.

This new cookbook features recipes that Perre says are just how she entertains at home – having small bites that encourage her guests to mingle.

With tailgating season in full swing and the holidays coming up, I asked Perre what her go-to dish is for events.

“I really love this Creamy Collard Dip, Pimento Cheese-Style because everyone loves a good spinach dip. It’s nice and creamy and rich. But I have ‘Southerned-it-up’ with collard greens, with bacon, and with the flavors of pimento cheese.”

Normally when someone says collard greens, us Southerners think about a dish that has to simmer for hours.  But Perre has a short-cut for making this recipe in a snap.

“Making this dip is really simple too because you can use frozen chopped collard greens, which I promise you can find at the grocery store. So that takes out a couple of steps.”

When serving it, you can be fancy or laid back.

“You can make this a little bit more elegant by serving it with baguette slices or nice toasted bread points, but it’s also great with Fritos Scoops or some kinda corn chip.”

Perre will be signing copies of her new cookbook on Wednesday September 12 at 6 p.m. at Novel bookstore. Stop by to meet her and get a copy of this fun new cookbook that will help with your Fall and Holiday entertaining.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Bon Appetit!

Creamy Collard Dip, Pimento Cheese-Style

Hot spinach dip was all the rage during my youth, served warm with lots of cheese. But I think we can go more southern than that by combining collard greens with the fabulous flavor of pimento cheese. You still get warm and melty and gooey, but with a twist.

Serves 10-12

  • 5 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos, rinsed and drained
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen chopped collard greens, thawed and well drained
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce (such as Crystal), to taste (optional)

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crispy and move to paper towels with a slotted spoon to drain. Pour the bacon grease into a measuring cup and let cool briefly. Add 2 tablespoons of grease back to the skillet. Cook the onions over medium-high heat until they are soft and translucent and just beginning to brown, then add the water and cook until it has evaporated and the onions are a light toffee color, stirring frequently. Add the pimentos and stir. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a minute further. Stir in the collard greens, separating them and distributing the onions and pimentos evenly. Cook until the collards are heated through and soft. Add the cream cheese, cut into cubes, and stir until melted. Add the grated cheddar and stir until melted. Stir in the sour cream and mayonnaise until the dip is smooth and creamy. Add the crumbled bacon and stir until all the ingredients are well distributed. Scrape the dip into a 2-quart baking dish.

The dip can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated at this point for up to a day.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Bake the dip until it is warm through and bubbling, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately with corn chips or toasted baguette pieces.

From SOUTHERN SNACKS: 77 RECIPES FOR SMALL BITES WITH BIG FLAVORS by Perre Coleman Magness. Copyright © 2018 by Perre Coleman Magness. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press. www.uncpress.org

Jennifer Chandler graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris at the top of her class. She is a freelance food writer, restaurant consultant, and author of four cookbooks.