December 6, 2021

A Culinary Tour Through the States: 5 regional recipes and their stories

The U.S. is more than just hot dogs and burgers. "American cuisine" is a reflection of society, a mixture of international influences from all over the world, which are adapted locally. Let us take you on a culinary journey through the USA and show you real classics and their origins as well as novelties from the land of unlimited possibilities.

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Boston Baked Beans 

As colder days approach, we crave warm soup or stew such as the famous Boston Baked Beans, a dish which gave the great city of Boston its nickname “Beantown.” The dark colored dish originates from Native American cuisine. The indigenous version combined bear fat, maple syrup, and beans, which were slowly cooked overnight in a grounded clay pot. Eventually, maple syrup was replaced by molasses – an ingredient that has stuck around and is considered a key ingredient to the Boston Baked Beans. The bean dish gained popularity in the U.S., especially as a comforting, traditional Sunday meal or as a side dish at a BBQ. 

How are Boston Baked Beans made? Small, white smoky beans or brown pinto beans are slow-cooked together with onions, mustard, molasses, and bacon or cured pork until they form a thick stew with a caramelized crust. Molasses is a dark syrup produced as a by-product of sugar production. Not only does molasses contribute to the extended cooking time, but it also gives the stew its specific aroma. After 3-4 hours, the beans, which tenderize super slowly in the molasses, are coated in a thickened, glaze-like sauce. To thicken the broth you can add tomato paste or spice it up with Worcestershire sauce. You can also use canned beans, which makes this recipe easy to prepare. This dish can easily be pre-cooked for a busy, weekday dinner.

Pecan Crusted Nashville Hot Chicken

Do you love spicy food? Then Nashville, Tennessee may be the place for you.

The beloved Nashville Hot Chicken is a crunchy fried chicken with a pepper-infused glaze. Wings are most commonly used for this recipe, but chicken breast and thighs can also be used. Whichever cut you choose, the meat is marinated, deep fried, and served with pickles and bread. This southern specialty has become a desired meal beyond the southern United States, not at least due to the influence of Nashville’s music industry. 

Crystal Schlueter, Home On The Iron Range, has a special Pecan Crusted Nashville Hot Chicken recipe. As the name implies, this version of the dish has a delightful crunch thanks to a crust made with American Pecans. One should keep in mind that this recipe requires a bit of time since the chicken needs to sit in a buttermilk marinade for at least 4 hours. That being said, it is recommended to prepare the marinade the night before cooking. Encrusting the chicken in pecans adds a delicious touch to this trendy dish and will make for one truly unique taste experience. 

Northwest Chili 

When it comes to chili, it is difficult to pinpoint its origin. The Spanish name “Chili con Carne” contributes to the assumption that chili originated in Mexico. However, the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona all claim that the origin of chili is in their territory. Texas went so far as to have chili proclaimed their official “state food” in 1977. Whether from Texas or not, chili is likely to be linked to American frontier settlers and gained popularity throughout the United States. The warm bowl of beans is a favored food for many and a popular cook-off recipe today.

The nutritious Northwest Chili is just what you need when damp winter days approach. It’s made of chickpeas, beans, lentils and vegetables. Preparation takes quite a bit of time with all the chopping and dicing of the ingredients, but it’s sure worth the effort. A tip: Prepare double the amount and enjoy this dish the next day, as it tastes even better when warmed up.

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers 

Spicy, cheesy, and delicious meat – that is a yummy promise that quite a few American meals can fulfill. If you like the combination of spicy beef and melted cheese, you can’t pass up a good Philly Cheesesteak. Originally from Philadelphia, this famous sandwich has also gained popularity throughout Europe. 

Want to try the mouthwatering American classic, but with a twist? Use stuffed peppers instead of bread. The Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers allow you to take the flavors of Philadelphia and turn it into a delicious dinner. Made with tender U.S. Beef, this delightful meal can be pre-cooked and served for the next get-together with friends or a cozy night with family. For the cheese, provolone is the magic word. It’s an Italian hard cheese that is classically aged in a coat of wax in the form of drops. The cheese is not too intense and therefore perfect for the dish. The tender U.S. sirloin steak is sliced and seasoned with salt and pepper. What more can you ask for?