Smoked Catfish Dip, Chow Chow, Cornbread Cracker – TCI

Smoked Catfish Dip, Chow Chow, Cornbread Cracker

Recipe from Nick Wallace

Serving Size: 36

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What you’ll need:

  • Smoked Catfish Dip:
  • 5 catfish fillets
  • 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, preferably Nick’s 26 seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
  • Paprika, to taste

  • Chow Chow
  • 6 large green tomatoes (about 3 pounds)
  • 3 medium yellow or white onions
  • 3 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1/2 medium cabbage (about 4 cups after chopping)
  • 1/4 cup sea salt, pickling salt, or kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground celery, celery flakes
  • Cornbread Cracker:
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour plus additional for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter cut into six pieces ¼ cup buttermilk

How to prepare:

Smoked Catfish Dip:

Preheat the smoker hickory wood with 3 inches from the heat. Place the catfish on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil; smoke until the fish is browned and flakes with a fork, about 6 to 7 minutes. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Use a fork to flake apart. Beat the cream cheese, Creole seasoning, and hot sauce together with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add the catfish; beat at low speed just until the fish is incorporated, but leave the catfish in small pieces for texture. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.


Chow Chow:

Stem the tomatoes, coring if needed, and quarter. Peel the onions and cut them all into quarters. Stem and seed the peppers and quarter. Core the cabbage, quarter, and set aside.

Use the chopping blade on a food processor or a hand-crank food mill to chop each vegetable into fine pieces. (With a food processor, you’ll need to work in batches, taking care not to overfill the work bowl.) You want fine, small pieces. Place in a large non-reactive bowl or pot.

Once all the vegetables are chopped, sprinkle the salt over the top. Using clean hands, mix everything thoroughly, making sure to mix all the vegetables and reach to the bottom of the bowl.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. Don’t skip this step—it yields better flavor and texture.

Remove the chopped vegetables from the refrigerator, place in a colander, and drain, pressing lightly on the mixture with the back of a spoon. Do not rinse. Set aside.

If you want to can your chow chow for a shelf-stable condiment, gather equipment for water bath canning while the vegetables are chilling.

Create a jar station by spreading out a clean kitchen towel on the counter and set out jar lifters and a canning funnel. Clean new jar lids and rings in hot soapy water.

Place clean jars on a canning rack in a pot and cover by at least 1 inch of hot water. Bring to a boil and sterilize the jars by boiling for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to a low simmer until you’re ready to fill the jars.

In a large non-reactive pot, add the vinegar, sugar, mustard, and dried celery and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a strong simmer, cover, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the chopped vegetables to the vinegar mixture, stir, and bring back to a boil. Once boiling, set a timer for 10 minutes and stir often, adjusting the heat as necessary to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.

Once the vegetables are almost done cooking, carefully lift each sterilized jar out of the pot and dump the hot water back into the pot. Set them upright on the clean kitchen towel.

Remove the relish from heat and begin filling the hot jars with the chow chow, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace at the top of each jar (about the width of the lip and jar screw threads). Carefully wipe each jar lip with a clean, dry towel or paper towel, then top with a clean lid and screw on the band so it is finger tight. Repeat.

Use a jar lifter to carefully lower the jars onto the rack, adding more hot water if needed so there’s at least 1 inch of water above the top of each jar. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.

Remove the jars with the jar lifter and set the jars on a cooling rack or another heat-resistant surface to cool. After cooling to room temperature, tap the lids firmly. If they make a dull thump, they’re sealed.

Store unopened jars of chow chow relish in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Store opened jars in the fridge and use within 4 months of opening.


Cornbread Cracker Recipe:

Add the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, smoked paprika, and cayenne red pepper to a food processor and pulse a few times to mix.

Add the cold butter (cut into chunks) to the food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add the buttermilk to the food processor and process until the mixture comes together into a shaggy ball.

Turn the cornmeal dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand until the mixture comes together into a soft dough. Divide the dough in half and flatten each half into a rectangle approximately 1″ in depth. Wrap each dough rectangle with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before proceeding.

*Note – at this point you can freeze the dough for up to three months if desired.

Preheat oven to 375-degrees.

Once the dough has chilled for 30 minutes, lightly flour the surface for rolling and roll each dough portion out to roughly ¼” thickness. Use a pizza wheel, paring knife, or cutters to cut crackers from the dough.

Lay the crackers out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes in a preheated oven. Remove the crackers from the oven, flip each cracker and then return them to the oven to bake for an additional 3-4 minutes.

Cool on a cooling rack and serve once completely cooled.