DORSEY – When Charlie Martin was in elementary school, he would go to his grandmother’s house every week and ask the exact same question: “Will you make me a chicken pot pie?”
When I was 7, I was in the kitchen with him, learning how to make that chicken pot pie. After half a dozen lessons, he was cooking them all by himself.
“When I was 8 years old, I started cooking everything I could, just to see how it would turn out,” Martin, 15, said. “After I showed my folks a few times that I could cook, they started to trust me to do it. My own.”
Martin said that when he was about 9, and school was out for the summer, he would stay up until 11:30 or midnight and be bored. So she went to the kitchen and cooked a full meal.
“Then I would wake my parents up to see if they wanted to taste it,” he said. “I would say, ‘please, please, please’ until they’ve tried at least one bite.”
Martin is a sophomore at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, where he plays for the football team and plays right tackle and middle linebacker and is an outfielder and pitcher for the baseball team.
His mother, Kristi, owns Black Sheep Boutique in Tupelo and his father, Grant, is the director of the Dorsey Attendance Center. He has four siblings: Noah, Braeden, Sam and Will.
Martin learned to make chocolate sauce from his maternal grandmother, Linda Shackelford Greene of Tupelo, but most of his cooking skills came from his paternal grandmother, Kaye Martin, who lives across the street.
“Nana literally taught me everything about cooking,” Martin said. “I learned how to grill on YouTube and watching MasterChef Canada. Soon, I got pretty good at it.”
Martin started out grilling chicken and steaks, but now enjoys grilling fish and vegetables.
“You have to get the fish at the perfect temperature,” he said. “I like to do salmon, snapper, dancing fish and catfish. I’m a big deep-sea fisherman, so every time we go to the beach I bring a little bit back here.”
For years, Martin avoided vegetables.
“I used to hate them,” he said. “Then I found out they’re good for you. Now I grill mushrooms, onions, squash, zucchini, peppers. I don’t think you can go wrong with a jalapeño.”
Martin also enjoys making cupcakes, muffins and casseroles, and makes his own dough from flour and egg yolks.
“My friends think it’s great that I like to cook,” she said. “Most of them can only cook things in the microwave. My mom says cooking is a good way to pick up girls, but I haven’t seen any proof of that yet.”
DO YOU KNOW A GOOD COOK? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Chef of the Week, PO Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can call (662) 678-1581 or email them to [email protected]
PINK OF THE SOUTH
4 pounds boneless chuck or leaf roast, trimmed of excess fat
8 cloves of garlic, crushed, or 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
1 pound baby potatoes, white or Yukon gold
4 large carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons bouillon granules
1 cup reduced sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or skillet over high heat. Season the roast with a good amount of salt and pepper. Sear on all sides until golden, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer the roast to a 6-quart slow cooker.
Add the onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots, celery, vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, thyme, and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk the stock and flour together to make a paste and pour into the slow cooker.
Simmer for 8 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling apart and the vegetables are tender. Adjust the seasonings.
Cut the meat, garnish with parsley and drizzle with sauce.
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 (4 pounds) whole chicken, diced*
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups vegetable shortening or oil
Combine paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne in a small bowl and mix well with a fork.
Beat the butter, egg, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of the spice mix in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and stir and turn. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a gallon zip-top freezer bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight, turning the bag occasionally to redistribute the contents and coat the chicken evenly.
Mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, 2 teaspoons salt and remaining spices in a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the marinade from the ziplock bag and work it into the flour with your fingertips. Remove a piece of chicken from the bag, allowing excess buttermilk to drip off, drop the chicken into the flour mixture and toss to coat. Continue adding chicken pieces to the flour mixture one at a time until they are all in the bowl. Toss the chicken until each piece is well coated, pressing with your hands to get the flour to adhere in a thick layer.
Heat the shortening or oil to 350 degrees in a deep 12-inch straight-sided cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Adjust heat as needed to maintain temperature, being careful not to overheat the fat.
One piece at a time, transfer the coated chicken to a fine-mesh strainer and shake to remove excess flour. Transfer to a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Once all the chicken pieces are coated, place skin side down in the hot oil. The temperature should drop to 300 degrees; adjust the heat to maintain the temperature at 300 degrees for the duration of the cooking. Fry the chicken until deep brown on the first side, about 6 minutes; do not move the chicken or start checking for doneness until it has been fried for at least 3 minutes, or you may remove the coating. Carefully turn the chicken pieces with tongs and cook until the second side is golden brown, about 4 minutes more.
Transfer the cooked chicken pieces to a wire rack and let rest for about 10 minutes.
*Note: You can also use 3 1/2 pounds of boneless, skin-on breasts, legs, drumsticks, and/or wings.
1 pound of cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
4 whole plum tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
2 whole jalapeño peppers, seeds and veins removed, chopped
1 cup diced jicama or diced peeled apple
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Cut the shrimp into half-inch pieces and transfer to a bowl. Aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon, lime and orange juices to combine. Pour 1/2 cup citrus juice over shrimp and toss to combine. Let the shrimp marinate in the juice for 15 minutes.
Add the tomato, jalapeño, jicama (or apple), cilantro, and red onion to the shrimp. Stir the ingredients to combine and let marinate for another 10 minutes. Stir in avocado and remaining citrus juices.
Season the ceviche with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.
4 whole chicken breast halves
4 tablespoons of margarine, melted
1 can of cream of chicken soup
Boil the chicken breasts until tender. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, debone it and place chicken pieces in the bottom of a greased casserole dish. Pour the melted margarine over the chicken.
Combine the flour and milk and pour over the chicken. Combine the chicken soup and broth and pour it all over. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
1 block cream cheese (8 ounces), softened
1 pound ground soft breakfast sausage, cooked and drained
Combine the softened cream cheese and cooked sausage and place in the bottom of a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Unroll the stockings and place them on top, pinching the seams together. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.