Jessie James Decker's Go-To Southern Meal To Cook And Eat - Exclusive

While she may have been born in Italy, Jessie James Decker knows Southern cooking. Out of the more than a dozen places she lived growing up, a fair number are in the South, from Louisiana and Georgia to the Gulf area and Texas. Now, Decker and her family live in Nashville. All of these Southern influences can be seen on full display in her new and second cookbook, "Just Eat," which is packed with comfort food favorites and recipes that any Southerner will recognize. (Think beignets, buttermilk biscuits, hush puppies, and succotash.)

When talking to Decker to learn more about "Just Eat" in an exclusive interview for Tasting Table, we asked her to pick her quintessential, go-to Southern meal to cook — and Decker didn't disappoint. "When I really think about the go-to Southern [meal], I think chili. I don't know if that's considered 'Southern,' but growing up in the South, we always had some version of chili," she said. "I have a lot of chili recipes. I had a lot in my last book. I'll have a lot in the next one. Chili is very important to me. It's one of my favorite things to cook and eat. It's hearty, and you can do a million different variations."

Chili — and other comfort food favorites — fill the pages of Decker's new cookbook

If you take a gander through Jessie James Decker's new cookbook, you'll find that she's not joking — she really does have a lot of chili recipes. In a section of the book featuring soup, stew, and similar recipes, out of a collection of 10 favorite dishes, four are chili. The section also includes what Decker says is her top comfort food recommendation for those picking up the cookbook this fall: her chicken thigh bake, which combines chicken thighs, veggies, and rice for a recipe that's somewhat reminiscent of chicken pot pie filling, but with rice instead of a crust. She told us, "That one is as cozy as it gets. It's hearty. It's filling. It can feed a lot of people. It feels and tastes like fall."

Decker's other Southern food favorite? It's one that would go well with a chili feast (or maybe an upcoming game day). Beyond the chili, she also pointed to pigs in a blanket.

"Just Eat" by Jessie James Decker is on sale now, as is Decker's new line of cookware, Just Feed Me by Jessie James Decker.