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September 07, 2006   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
September 07, 2006

Winners of the 2006 Heritage Cooking Contest are, from left, first-place winner Quanna Driskell of Mobile County, second-place winner Frankie Davis of Dale County, and third-place winner Margaret Fox of Crenshaw County.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Quanna Driskell of Mobile County has an advantage over most cooks who like to prepare seafood. She lives only a few miles from the Gulf Coast in the Tanner Williams Community in south Mobile County where fresh seafood is easily available. She also gets lots of practice cooking as the mother of four grown children, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Besides being easy to prepare, Driskell said dishes have got to taste good. Her's must since her shrimp chowder won first place and $150 in the Alabama Farmers Federation's Heritage Cooking Contest Sept. 7 in Montgomery.

"I've only made this dish four or five times, but we have lots of seafood in our area, and it wasn't too hard to make," said Driskell who is a past Mobile County winner in the Heritage Cooking Contest. "This dish is great because you just add a salad and your meal is done."

The Heritage Cooking Contest is sponsored by the Federation's Women's Division as a way to showcase the flavor, versatility and nutritional value of Alabama agricultural products. Dishes were judged on taste, appearance and ease of preparation.

"Today's families are so busy, and this year's theme of 'one-dish meals' shows there are lots of ways to save time in the kitchen and still make a delicious meal," said Women's Division Director Kim Earwood. "The judges had a difficult time making their selections because there were so many good dishes to choose from."

The second-place prize of $100 went to Frankie Davis of Dale County who prepared her Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti. Margaret Fox of Crenshaw County won third place and $50 for her Santa Margarita Casserole.

Contestants in the Heritage Cooking Contest qualified to compete in the statewide event by winning their county Farmers Federation cooking contests earlier this year.

Shrimp Chowder -- First Place

4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 ½ lbs. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserving shells) 2 ¾ cups chopped white onion 3 teaspoons finely chopped garlic 1 cup sweet white wine, Riesling or Gewurtztraminers 2 cups poblano peppers, roasted, seeded, peeled, chopped ½ teaspoon ground cumin ¾ lb. small red potatoes, halved ¾ lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered 3 cups frozen corn kernels 1 cup half and half Fresh lime juice, to taste, plus wedges for garnish ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 5-quart pot over moderate heat. Add shrimp shells, ½ of the onion and 1 teaspoon garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until shells turn bright pink and edges begin to turn golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add wine and 4 cups water, simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to 4 cups, about 20 minutes. Strain stock through a fine sieve set over a bowl, saving broth, discarding solids: reserve pot.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter over moderate heat in reserved pot. Add remaining onion, the peppers and cumin; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add remaining 2 teaspoons garlic and cook, stirring 1 minute. Add shrimp broth and potatoes; simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are fork tender, adding more water to cover potatoes if necessary, about 20 minutes. Mash some of the Yukon Gold potatoes with a fork to thicken soup. Stir in shrimp and corn; simmer until shrimp are just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add half and half, juice and cilantro; salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with lime wedges.
Quanna Driskell, Mobile County

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti -- Second Place

2 (12.5 oz.) cans canned chicken, drained (save broth, use if mixture needs more) 12 oz. spaghetti, cooked in 2 chicken bouillon cubes (do not drain, use little broth) 1 small onion, chopped 1 bell pepper, chopped 1 stick oleo 1 can mushrooms, drained 1 small can garden peas, drained 1 lb. Velveeta cheese, cut up 1 can RO-TEL tomatoes Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute the onion and bell pepper in oleo. Add the chicken and spaghetti mixture. Add other ingredients and heat until bubbly. Cook in 10x 15-inch casserole sprayed with cooking spray at 350 degrees for 15 -- 20 minutes. Yield: 10 -- 12

Note: This dish freezes real well. This can also be halved when preparing. I normally do the entire recipe, pour into two smaller casseroles and freeze one for later or for a sick neighbor.
Frankie Davis, Dale County

Santa Margarita Casserole -- Third Place

4 chicken breasts, cubed into 1-inch pieces 4 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon minced garlic

Cook chicken in butter and garlic. Set aside.

Mix together:

1 can Mexicorn, drained 1 can white hominy, drained 2 cans diced chiles ½ cup onion, finely diced 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 can Cream of Chicken soup 1 (16 oz.) sour cream Salt, garlic, pepper to taste

Add cubed chicken to mixture above.

12 white corn tortillas 3 cups shredded cheeses (Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack)

Cover the bottom of a 9x13-inch Pyrex casserole dish with 6 tortillas. Rip tortillas as necessary for complete coverage. Spread half of the chicken mixture over the tortillas. Top with 1 ½ cups of cheese. Repeat the tortilla, chicken mixture layer again, topping with cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubby. Serve and top with guacamole, salsa, jalapenos and sour cream.
Margaret Fox, Crenshaw County

Click here for a complete list of entries in the State Heritage Cooking Contest

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