What is this?
In the mid-1700s the Acadians began their march from Nova Scotia to Louisiana, where they eventually became known as Cajuns. Fortunately, they made a pit stop in Appalachia and left chow-chow behind. Mountain families embraced the chow-chow and made it their own. Up and down the Appalachian Mountains and throughout the South, it’s not a meal unless chow-chow is on the table.
Why, it’s chow-chow. Have you never heard of chow-chow?
Chow-chow (or chou chou in French) is a happy marriage of the cabbage so prevalent in Southern mountain regions with green tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, vinegar, sugar and spices. There are countless recipes for this delectable relish – some very sweet, some very hot. Traditionally, chow-chow makes its showiest appearance when applied to a bowl of pinto beans or collards.
Because of its complex sweet and spicy nature, chow-chow is also a great topping for grilled pizzas or flatbreads. Chow-chow has a lot of ingredients so you don’t need much else to flavor the bread – just some bulk country sausage and smoky Cheddar cheese. I can promise you if you serve this at a Super Bowl party, your guests will be asking, “What is this?” and in a good way. And you can answer in a superior fashion, “Why, it’s chow-chow. Have you never heard of chow-chow?”
If you inhabit those deprived regions of the country not conversant with chow-chow, you can order some over the internet or you can substitute a pepper/onion relish that is commonly found on the supermarket shelves. But it won’t be quite the same. You owe it to yourself to order some real chow-chow and spread the love as well as the flatbread. It’s also delicious on a grilled ham and cheese sandwich or as an accompaniment to a grilled or roasted chicken. ~ Catherine
Mail order sources: I am partial to the Tennessee Chow-Chow sold by Sugarplum Foods in White House, Tennessee. You can also order it from the legendary Dillard House in Dillard, Georgia, (which, by the way, is the cabbage capital of the world, but I’m sure you already knew that) or from The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. ~ Catherine