| CHEF'S CHOICE
Dinner Bell is ringing
Come get it�catfish, turnip greens, beans, and cornbread�at this country buffet
At the Dinner Bell in Benton, old-fashioned service meets old-fashioned food. Locals and tourists�particularly those visiting Kentucky Lake�line up to wait for a seat at the seven picnic tables and one regular table inside for the buffet of country cooking that gets set on real wood stoves that have been converted to electric.
Every day they have fried chicken and fried catfish. �Most people come here for the catfish,� says Harry Holliday, grandson of owner Martha Hopper, who has worked at the restaurant for 18 years, becoming the cook 10 years ago.
But on Thursdays you can also get chicken and dumplings, Fridays there are country fried steak and gravy, Saturdays pork chops, Sundays turkey and dressing. And every day there are white beans, turnip greens, baked apples, and usually green beans. For dessert, diners find apple and cherry cobblers and banana pudding.
The Dinner Bell can be found at 13444 US Highway 68 East in Benton, though it�s closer to Aurora. It�s open from the second week in March to the last Sunday in October, 4-8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, and noon-7:30 p.m. Sunday (closed Monday-Wednesday).
You are sure to enjoy the Dinner Bell�s easy corn bread recipe, which you can pair with our online recipe for Slow-Cooker Country White Beans. For the bean recipe or to learn how to season your cast-iron skillet, go to Cooking Tips.
1-2-3-4 CORN BREAD
It�s called 1-2-3-4 because you mix 1 cup corn oil, 2 eggs, 3 cups buttermilk, and 4 cups self-rising cornmeal. You can bake the cornbread in a 9 X 13-inch baking pan. Holliday says he often cuts the recipe in half (that recipe version follows) to bake the cornbread in a cast-iron skillet.
1⁄2 C corn oil
1 1⁄2 C buttermilk
2 C self-rising cornmeal
Heat oven to 450�. Grease a 12-inch round cast-iron skillet. Whisk oil and eggs together. Mix in buttermilk and self-rising cornmeal. Pour into the skillet and bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with white beans and relish, or chili. Serves 8.
TRISH'S DIFFERENT WINGS WITH A ZING
12 chicken wings
1 C white vinegar
1⁄2 tsp pepper
1⁄2 tsp minced garlic
1 C flour
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Cut the wings in thirds at the joint. Discard tips. Mix the vinegar, pepper, and garlic in a bowl and the meaty chicken wing joints. Set aside for 20 minutes: no longer than that or the vinegar will overpower.
Combine flour, seasoned salt, and red pepper in a separate bowl. Dip each wing in seasoned flour. Heat a wide skillet filled with 1⁄2-inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When oil is thoroughly heated, add wings and cook until they are a deep golden brown, cooking in batches if necessary, about 5 minutes per side. Serve hot with dressing or dip of choice. Serves 4.
Submitted by Patricia Glass, of Grayson, a Grayson RECC member, who says, �I always serve these wings as an Asian appetizer along with hot mustard and teriyaki dipping sauces, or bleu cheese or ranch dressing.�