The other day, Seth Emerson wrote a fine article highlighting Ray Drew's time at Georgia thus far and how he's starting to come into his own as an impact player on the Georgia defense. Ray himself made the analogy that his career is a lot like crock pot food, to wit:
"I say we’re living in a microwave era. We want it quick; we want it now," said Drew, Georgia’s junior defensive end. "But some of the best food comes out of the Crock Pot. It has to sit and melt for a while. I guess you could say I’ve been on the Crock Pot plan.
"It hasn’t been as quick as a lot of people would’ve liked. It hasn’t been as quick as I would’ve liked it. But I believe something good is gonna come out of the Crock Pot."
Ray, you have stepped right into my wheelhouse. I am inspired.
When I was a little kid, every summer we used to drive from San Antonio, Texas to my mom's hometown of Sylvania over in Screven County. Personally, I think Screven County is a fisherman's paradise. You have the Savannah River on one side, the Ogeechee River running right through it and my favorite place of all, a little tributary called Brier Creek. Anyway, we eventually moved to Watkinsvile when my father became a faculty member at UGA, but those long summers in Screven were awesome. And the taste of summer was catfish stew.
The best catfish for this are those big old Brier Creek channel cats we used to catch with chicken livers or night crawlers. Nothing wrong with pond-farm bullheads either to make a nice, big pot of stew. When I read Emerson's article, a memory (and craving) immediately transported me back to a much simpler time. Anyway, here's one of my all-time favorite dishes which gives anyone who eats it super powers. Ray, I hope you get a chance to make this before the LSU game.
Ray Drew Catfish Stew
First, you make a Roux. No, really...you do. As should you, and you, and you...and Mr. Drew.
This recipe calls for 2 lbs. of catfish*. Here's a little confession: Don't use a Crock Pot. Use a regular cooking pot...about 5 quarts will suffice. Hey, sometimes you gotta deviate; you know, the surprise on-sides kick or the swing pass to the fullback backed up on your 5...
Fry about 1/2 lb. of bacon in the bottom of your cooking pot. Remove the bacon. Keep the pot good and hot.
Slowly stir into the bacon grease about 1/4 cup of flour adding a little bit of water as you go. This is the the "gravy" and the key to everything.
Next, peel and slice several large potatoes. Sliced is very important. Nice, big slices.
Peel and slice 3 or 4 big honkin' Vidalia onions. You need enough potatoes and onion to make layers.
Salt and pepper your catfish. I like a lot of pepper. If you didn't go fishin', store-bought will work. Just make sure it's farm-raised and never frozen. Ever.
At the bottom of your pot, start layering beginning with sliced onion, then potatoes, then catfish. Don't forget a bit of salt and pepper for each later...but DO NOT over salt.
Then, make another layer of onion, potatoes and catfish until you run out of onion, potatoes and catfish.
Sprinkle your cooked bacon on the top layer, and continue to cook on high until it bubbles. Turn down to low and let it cook slowly until the fish and potatoes, fish and onion are fully cooked. About 45 minutes.
Don't serve this over rice. Serve it over a couple slices of plain white bread. Preferably Sunbeam with cute little girl on the bag. Ahh, another memory from my youth.
It's easy, it's awesome and it's guaranteed to make you smile and sack the quarterback. Who could ask for anything more?
*Auburn fans should use mudfish