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7 reasons why chicken reigns king in Georgia

For decades, one of the biggest annual conventions in Atlanta has been the January gathering of poultry producers. Now even bigger—attended by more than 28,000 people from 124 countries—it’s called the International Production & Processing Expo and includes farmers of beef, pork, and other meats. But chicken remains king.

Marie Nygren’s chicken paillards with tomatoes, peach, Vidalia onion, and mint

Nygren entered the kitchen almost as soon as she was born. Her mother, Margaret Lupo, became pregnant with her in 1959, three years after Lupo opened her first restaurant, Margaret’s Tray Shop, in downtown Atlanta. In 1962 Lupo became the proprietress of Mary Mac’s Tea Room, and over the next couple of decades she turned the meat-and-three restaurant into an Atlanta icon.

Adam Evans’ North Alabama Chicken Stew

A native of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Evans moved to Atlanta to helm the kitchen at Buckhead’s now-defunct Craftbar. His focus at the Optimist is seafood, but he still craves the earthier Southern comfort foods of home: his mom’s biscuits and gravy, his grandmother’s chicken and dumplings, and most of all, North Alabama chicken stew.

Spicy bourbon chicken thighs

Backstory “Making cocktails with bourbon is easy,” writes Kathleen Purvis in “Bourbon,” part of the popular Savor the South cookbook series by UNC Press. “Cooking with it, beyond the basics of brushing a cake with bourbon or deglazing a pan, isn’t that obvious.”

Jambalaya

I love jambalaya—the way it tastes, the way it smells, the way its name rolls off the tongue. On a cold game day, a hearty bowl of jambalaya hits the spot. By packing the ingredients the night before, you can easily make this dish on-site.

Church Supper Chicken Pie

This recipe could just as easily be titled Grange Supper Chicken Pie, or American Legion Supper Chicken Pie, or B.P.O.E., or Odd Fellows, the volunteer fire department, or any number of organizations that have regular "suppers," fund-raising or just social. A good "church supper chicken pie" is one of the most comforting foods we know.

Marc’s Chicken Salad with Peach Mayonnaise and Spiced Pecans

Folks in the Delta cannot get enough chicken salad. Rare is the lunch menu that doesn't offer it the classic way-plenty of real mayo (no Miracle Whip!), chopped celery, at least a touch of onion, and more often that not, a dollop or two of sweet pickle relish.

Jennifer Levison’s Chicken Matzo Ball Soup

Jennifer Levison, owner of Souper Jenny and Cafe Jonah—who was born in Atlanta, grew up in Los Angeles, and moved back to Georgia as an adult—is much more practiced at rolling matzo balls than cutting biscuits.

Stacey Eames’s Country-Fried Steak and Gravy

At the flagship Highland Avenue location of Stacey Eames's Highland Bakery, country-fried steak Benedict arrives at the table with the crisp, battered beef paired with poached eggs atop a giant biscuit smothered in jalapeño–cheddar cheese sauce.

Darryl Evans’s Fried Chicken over Cracklin’ Cornmeal Waffles

Darryl Evans's career took shape in the era when fusion was hot, mixing Southern cooking with global flavors in dishes such as whole, sizzling Asian-style catfish or ravioli stuffed with goat cheese and Georgia caviar.

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