Wednesday, May 21, 2014

An Updated Version of Jezebel Sauce – also known as Dixie Relish


Are you familiar with Jezebel sauce, also known as Dixie relish? Apparently it’s an old Southern staple, but somehow in my Deep South upbringing, Jezebel sauce escaped my life completely. Recently an inviting picture of Jezebel sauce served over nicely charred pan-roasted chicken appeared in Garden & Gun magazine (read more about the magazine at the end of the post). It caught my eye and I instantly became intrigued with the sauce named Jezebel and wanted to know its origin.

According to Garden & Gun magazine, one of the great authorities on life in the South, “Jezebel sauce is a base of apple jelly and pineapple preserves tricked out with horseradish and yellow mustard and traditionally served with a baked ham or spooned over cream cheese and served with crackers.” Maybe if you grew up with it you might love it as you do other old family favorites such as Thanksgiving’s green bean mushroom soup casserole. But from the description above the overly sweet sauce just doesn’t sound very appealing to me.


Flash forward to today. Tandy Williams, Chef at City House in Nashville, Tennessee, has totally reworked this old South classic and has brought  Jezebel sauce into the twenty-first century. He caramelized red onions on the grill, then mixed them with grainy mustard and horseradish for a nice tang. Then he added marmalade and sorghum (another Southern staple) to give the sauce a nice depth of flavor and squeezed some fresh lemon juice to give it a nice tart edge. Now that’s more to my liking.

Chef Tandy serves Jezebel sauce over chicken thighs, pan-roasted to perfection in a black cast iron skillet in a hot oven, which is what I’ve done today along with green beans as a side dish. I readily admit that at first I was a bit skeptical about whether I or not I would like Jezebel sauce, but by the same token I was anxious to give the updated version a try. We both thought the slightly tangy, slightly sweet sauce was outstanding and it will definitely be a “have-again” at our house. I also think that Jezebel sauce would be fantastic served with any cut of grilled or roasted chicken or pork chops. It’s so good that it just might become a staple in my refrigerator.

Memorial Day weekend is coming up. If you’re planning on cooking out, I suggest that you make a jar of Jezebel sauce and give it a try yourself over chicken or chops. I’m planning on serving it on grilled hot dogs this weekend. I predict Jezebel sauce, or Dixie relish if you prefer, will surprise you how good it is as much as it did me.    


Red Onion Jezebel Sauce 
Adapted from Garden & Gun & Tandy Wilson, Chef at City House in Nashville, Tennessee– serves 4
Printable recipe

2 medium red onions
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grainy mustard – I used a grainy Creole mustard
2 tablespoons fresh horseradish, grated – I used prepared, drained well
2 tablespoons lemon marmalade – I used orange
1 tablespoon sorghum – I used honey
1 lemon (zest lemon first if making the pan-roasted chicken thighs)

Cut the top and exposed root off of the onions, then peel and quarter from top to bottom. Brush onion quarters with the oil and season with salt and pepper.  Prepare a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill, or alternately roast onions on a baking pan in a preheated 400 degree F oven, cut side down until browned on the bottom. Let the onions cool, then chop into small pieces.

Mix together the mustard, horseradish, marmalade, sorghum, and juice form the lemon. Fold in the onion & season with salt and pepper. Place the sauce in a jar with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate overnight. Sauce can be refrigerated for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Before using the sauce, remove from the refrigerator to take the chill off.

If desired, serve the sauce with pan-roasted chicken thighs (recipe below) or other roasted or grilled meats of your choice.


Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs
Adapted from Garden & Gun & Tandy Wilson, Chef at City House in Nashville, Tennessee– serves 4
Printable recipe

4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin on
Zest of one lemon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil (or vegetable or canola oil)

The day before serving the dish, zest lemon and season chicken thighs with salt, pepper, and zest. Cover and refrigerate at least four hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, remove the chicken (and the Jezebel sauce) from the refrigerator to take the chill off. Place a 12-inch cast-iron skilled in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. When the pan is hot, remove it from the oven and add two tablespoons of oil and then the chicken, skin side down. Roast for 15 to 17 minutes, or longer if needed depending on your oven (ours took over 20 minutes) until the chicken skin is crispy and the meat is just cooked through.

To serve, place a quarter cup of Jezebel sauce on the plate, add a piece of chicken, then top with another spoonful of sauce. Green beans go nicely with this dish.


With regard to Garden & Gun magazine, if you love the South or enjoy knowing more about it and have never read Garden & Gun magazine you are in for a real treat. I find that the magazine goes much more in depth about life in the south and its food and culture than other publications, samples of covers above. The word gun in the title refers to the sport of hunting and Southern gentlemen, much like the English, have always loved grand old hunting lodges and have a soft spot in their heart for their hounds. My fathers two sweet old bird dogs accompanied me in my baby stroller everywhere I went and stood guard until it was time to go home.

When I first heard of the magazine I wondered about the name and here’s what Rebecca Darwin, President and CEO of Garden & Gun has to say.

What’s in a Name?
“I am often asked about the title of the magazine, particularly from folks who have not read the magazine yet. The simplest explanation that I can offer is that it is a metaphor for the South—its land, the people, their lifestyle, and their heritage.” Rebecca Wesson Darwin, President and CEO, Garden & Gun


This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Try a New Recipe Tuesday at Home to 4 Kiddos, and Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes.  

Have a great weekend everyone and if you are in the states, 
Happy Memorial Day.


42 comments:

  1. We're not Southern but Jezebel sauce is served often here -- over cream cheese with crackers. And I like it! I like the sweet and tangy of it!

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  2. I'm another southerner who has not heard of the sauce. It does sound delicious!! I've heard of the magazine either.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  3. I've never heard of it but it sounds wonderful - I love the idea of using marmalade! the pan roasted chicken sounds perfect for it.
    Mary

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  4. Being a northerner originally I have not heard of that sauce either, but the modern version sounds good. Really good!

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  5. Garden and gun woukd suit one of my son-in-laws...both actually as both enjoy their gardens..and both now occasionally hunt..One has been doing it much longer.
    I get the title:)

    I have Jezebel sauce in 2 cookbooks.. never made one..but I know I would like it..I am glad you used honey ..cause I have that:)
    I like the name Jezebel sauce..it sounds feisty:) and colorful.
    Thanks Sam:)

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  6. This looks like a wonderful recipe. I too would sub honey for the sorghum. I gifted my brother some years ago with this magazine. It is really a beautifully composed periodical.

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  7. It's with recipes like this the I wish I had southern roots. It evokes lazy, hazy days of summer and all that the bounty of the summer garden has to offer.

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  8. I thought I was pretty familiar with the foods of the Old South but this is a new one to me. I like the sound of your version.

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  9. Jezebel sauce is new to me though I've lived in the south most of my life. It sounds like something definitely worth trying. My daughter gave me a subscription to Garden and Gun and I do enjoy it. In fact, recent issues will be my reading material as we make our way to Maine.

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  10. I must now get an issue of Garden and Gun after your enthusiastic endorsement. I have had it in my hands I don't know how many times and put it back. I doubt whether many people get the title. I sure didn't until now and I live in the deep South. Jezebel sauce.is new to me also. I like the new version much better. I'm sure your hot dogs will be a hit this weekend. No plans here except look up at the new roof getting put on Friday.Have a nice weekend!

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  11. Sam, I definitely pinned this - and I will definitely be preparing it. I have a pork loin that I was preparing to grill this weekend. Thanks for the tip.

    I hope you will be joining us for the 6 year Pink Saturday celebration this weekend.♥

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  12. Sam, Nice write-up on Jezebel sauce! Laurie would love this sauce on her chicken and it sure looks good visually too... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

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  13. Sounds yummy to me Sam, and I like the idea of preheating the skillet in the oven. I am always looking for a way to caramelizing my roasted chicken, the darker the better.

    Madonna
    MakeMineLemon

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  14. This sounds delicious. Tangy!

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  15. How fun Sam! I've lived in the south for over 30 years but have never heard of this. It sounds wonderful.

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  16. Lots of really big flavors in this sauce Sam, it sounds great! Mustard and marmalade always catch my eye... I'll bet it's killer on your hotdog-enjoy:@)

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  17. The sauce is new to me. It look wonderfully delicious with pan fried chicken thighs, Sam.

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  18. Well I can't say that I've ever heard of either Jezebel Sauce or Dixie Relish, and whilst I admit that the sound of the original version left me feel a little squinky, this updated version looks and sounds fabulous.

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  19. Second time this week someone has mentioned "Garden and Gun." My college roommate Ford McKenzie is an avid reader! I first encountered Jezebel Sauce (with cream cheese) in Charleston a number of years ago and loved it, not just for the name, but the unique flavor.

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  20. I know we would love this sauce with it's mustard and horseradish flavors and would love to try it on chicken or even hot dogs, as you mentioned. Also, never heard of Garden and Gun, although I saw the magazine in an online promotion and wondered about the name. Now I know and get it :)

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  21. I like the sound of modern version of this sauce, Sam,and would love to try it! Its sweet and spicy flavor would probably also go well with salmon. I've seen this magazine and you are right, its recipes are very in depth and interesting!

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  22. Born and raised in the South and never heard of it. Garden & Gun is great, although I can do without the articles on guns, hunting and fishing. Nice articles about the arts, books/authors, music, gardening, Southern "events" to check out, etc. Definitely a magazine for those who live, as we say in the South, high on the hog. Named for an old restaurant/bar, I believe, that used to be in Charleston, SC.

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  23. I have been enjoying Garden and Gun. It is a great Southern magazine. There is another new one called The Local Palate; Food Culture of the South that is also interesting. Love your Jezebel sauce.

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  24. This looks so yummy. pinning to try. found at foodie friday. Have a wonderful weekend.

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  25. how cool new to me fun flavor combos

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  26. I have never heard of this before, but boy does it sound good! I would like to invite you to come over and link it up with my "Try a New Recipe Tuesday." I'd love to have you join us. :-) http://our4kiddos.blogspot.com/2014/05/try-new-recipe-tuesday-may-20.html

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  27. That's a new one on me, Mary! I much prefer the revised recipe....the other would have been so sticky sweet. I think it would be great with shrimp and seafood too.

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  28. Mary?? Just commented on Mary's blog! Sorry, Sam.

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  29. The first thing I did was chuckle at the name of the magazine and begin imagining what it was about, so thank's for the info about it - different than my thoughts. Your dish does look delicious and I know I'd try it but I'm having a little difficulty imagining how those flavors work together.

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  30. A new sauce can give the often boring chicken a whole new life. I know I wouldn't have cared for the very sweet original version but this new, updated one sounds delicious. I like the addition of a little grated fresh horseradish to brighten up the sauce. I had never heard of Jezebel Sauce...now I know.

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  31. I could dig Jezebel sauce…Delicious. Horseradish is indeed a nice way to trick it out.

    Have a great weekend.

    Velva

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  32. Hi Sam,
    I am off to the kitchen to make my jar of your Jezebel Sauce so we can enjoy it for the weekend. All southern girls should have Jezebel Sauce in their kitchen, how could we not?

    Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Be safe and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

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  33. I never heard of it but I love the name... you just know it's spicy trouble. Thanks for sharing it with us on foodie friday.

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  34. I do love the history of this sauce. I love southern cooking. It is full of life and flavor; no skimping on ingredients.
    This does look like a wonderful dish. Blessings, Catherine

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  35. I have never heard of this sauce before but could see myself making. We like to have side sauces when we eat a meal. Thanks for sharing!

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  36. I grew up in Mississippi and Jezebel sauce wasn't a staple in my upbringing. I with you in that the updated version sounds much more to my liking as well. I'm a big fan of sweet and savory in the same dish, so I'm sure I'd find this chicken recipe delicious! Great post, Sam!

    Bill
    www.southernboydishes.com

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  37. Thanks for linking up with "Try a New Recipe Tuesday." This looks so good. I look forward to trying it. I hope you will be able to join us again this week. http://our4kiddos.blogspot.com/2014/05/try-new-recipe-tuesday-may-27.html

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  38. dixie relish! Dixie Relish! Now that I know of and that i LOVE! your sauce looks amazing and the updated version is kicking my butt over any jezebel sauce I have ever made before. LOVE IT

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  39. Thanks so much for sharing both the recipe for Jezebel sauce and introducing me to Garden & Gun. I will most definitely try the sauce served over chicken, as you've done here. It looks delightful!

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  40. I have never heard of Jezebel Sauce, but I am intrigued. I have never used sorghum either, so this will be an altogether new road for me to travel. I can certainly imagine that it would be great over chicken. Also Garden and Gun magazine is new to me, but seeing the two covers, it is also pretty intriguing. Thank you for this introduction to southern culture.

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  41. The Jezebel sauce served around here is made with pineapple preserves...but I'd love to try your delicious version, too. A perfect way to jazz up roasted chicken :)

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  42. Congratulations Sam!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Enjoy your weekend and your new Red Plate.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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