Deviled is a cooking term that’s been around since the 1700s, referring to boiled or fried foods that have been heavily seasoned with cayenne and other hot spices. But a perfect deviled egg is hard to get right, says Twain’s executive chef Savannah Haseler. It starts with a properly boiled egg. Haseler begins by piercing the wider end of each raw egg with a push pin, pressing just enough to puncture the shell. Place eggs in a large pot, and add enough room-temperature water to cover the tops by at least an inch. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then set the timer for two minutes. Add ½ teaspoon baking soda for each quart of water to increase alkalinity, making it easier to peel the eggs. Remove the pot from heat, cover with a lid, and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain, and run cool water over the eggs until they are not too hot to handle but still warm to the touch. Roll each egg on the countertop until tiny cracks appear all over. Peel under cold water, beginning at the pin hole.
1. Cut eggs in half, and scoop out the cooked yolk into a bowl. 2. Push yolks through a mesh strainer into a medium bowl. “This is a little time-consuming but well worth it,” says Haseler. “It makes the yolks light and fluffy and gives the filling a great texture.” 3. For 1 dozen yolks, add ½ cup mayonnaise, 2 tsp. smooth Dijon mustard, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. white pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. Mix until just incorporated. 4. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. (If you don’t have one, improvise by snipping about ¼ inch off the corner of a plastic bag.) 5. Squeeze mixture into each egg half, using a circular motion to create a swirling pattern. 6. Garnish as desired. For Twain’s signature deviled egg, Haseler folds the yolk mixture into homemade pimento cheese then tops it with sunflower sprouts, bacon pieces, and pickled mustard seeds.
Perfect pairing: Twain’s pimento cheese
1. Using an electric mixer, blend 8 oz. softened cream cheese and ½ cup mayonnaise at medium speed until thoroughly combined. 2. Add 2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, ¼ tsp. garlic powder, and ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper.
3. Mix to combine, then fold in ½ cup chopped pimentos. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
About Chef Savannah Haseler Since taking over as executive chef at Twain’s in 2012, Haseler has gradually elevated its menu with thoughtfully sourced local ingredients and classic techniques. Last year she was selected to cook with a team of Georgia chefs at the James Beard House in New York.
This article originally appeared in our June 2016 issue.
“These pancakes need to come with a warning,” says Bryan Stoffelen. “Once you’re finished, you’re going to want to lay on the couch for the rest of the day.” Crisp and golden-brown on the outside and meltingly tender and cake-like in the center, the lofty, dinner plate–sized beauties arrive at Bread & Butterfly’s tables oozing with butter and warm, pure maple syrup.
What’s his secret? Besides top-shelf ingredients like King Arthur flour, organic local eggs, unsalted European-style butter, and pure maple syrup from Virginia, Stoffelen uses an alarming amount of baking powder—10½ teaspoons—and a generous pinch of Diamond Crystal kosher salt. That extra leavening creates plenty of air pockets for maximum fluffiness.
Makes 12 to 14 large pancakes
1 In a large bowl, sift together 4½ cups all-purpose flour, 10½ tsp. baking powder, 3 Tbsp. sugar, and 1 Tbsp. kosher salt. In another large bowl, beat 3 large eggs and 4 cups whole milk with a whisk until blended. Meanwhile melt 9 Tbsp. unsalted, European-style butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Slowly whisk the melted butter into the wet ingredients.
2 Using a wooden spoon, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined but still lumpy. Do not overmix; it can result in tough, rubbery pancakes.
3 Let the batter sit undisturbed for at least 30 to 60 minutes, or refrigerate overnight. This will hydrate the gluten for a more tender pancake.
4 Heat a griddle to 325°F (a simple one from Black & Decker works) or medium to medium-low if cooking on the stovetop. Add 1 Tbsp. butter and let it coat cooking surface. If butter starts to brown, reduce heat.
5 Ladle ½ cup (or 4 oz.) of batter into the pan. Cook approximately 3½ minutes. (If pancake is browning too quickly, reduce heat.) When bubbles appear all over the surface and start to burst, slide a spatula underneath and flip. Cook another 3½ minutes.
6 Flip only once, and don’t mash down with a spatula, which will deflate and toughen the pancake. (To check for doneness, insert a toothpick in the center to see if it comes out clean.) Keep pancakes warm in an oven set to 200°F until ready to eat.
7 When done and still on the griddle, place a few generous pats of butter on half of the pancakes and melt by placing an unbuttered pancake on top of each. Stack on a serving dish and saturate in warm syrup.
About Bryan Stoffelen
A native of Fairfax County, Virginia, Stoffelen moved to Atlanta in 2010 to join the line at 4th & Swift and later Cakes & Ale. He worked as chef de cuisine until last December, when he took over the kitchen at Bread & Butterfly.
This article originally appeared in our May 2016 issue.
Few sights inspire us to take a crack at home canning more than a farm stand overflowing with just-picked strawberries. A jar full of glistening homemade preserves makes a year-round prized treat, whether smeared on a hot biscuit, dolloped onto goat cheese, or draped over ice cream. Here, Preserving Place’s Martha McMillin explains how to make her award-winning recipe.
1 Sterilize seven 8-ounce canning jars and have them ready in a canning pot full of hot water. Keep clean lids in a small pot of warm water, with sterilized rings nearby.
2 Briefly rinse and drain 6 pounds of strawberries. Hull and leave whole, or cut in half if very large.
3 Place strawberries in a wide, large, nonreactive heavy-bottomed pan. Stir in 4 cups sugar and 1⁄3 cup pure bottled organic lemon juice. Bring to a steady boil over medium heat, stirring gently so as not to crush the berries.
4 When sugar dissolves and mixture turns soupy, add 2 green apples (cored, seeded, and quartered) and boil 20 to 30 minutes, skimming off any white foam and stirring frequently until mixture has thickened to a syrupy consistency.
5 Remove apple pieces before they fall apart, then cook mixture approximately 30 minutes longer. Remove from heat once the color and aroma of the preserves deepen and intensify, and mixture is thick enough that you can see the bottom of the pan as you stir
. 6 Remove jars from the canning pot and bring the water to a hard boil. One by one, place a funnel into each jar and ladle in the preserves, leaving ¼ inch of space below each rim. Run a thin knife around the inside edges to remove air bubbles, which can trap bacteria. Wipe down the top rims and sides of the jars. Place a lid on top of each jar and twist on the ring.
7 Place jars into the boiling water. The water should cover the jars by at least one inch. Cook for 10 minutes at a steady, hard boil.
8 Remove jars and place on folded towels. Do not disturb for 24 hours, then press down on the center of each lid to check whether it has sealed. If the lid does not move, that indicates a proper seal. If it pops back up, the jar should be refrigerated and used immediately. Date the can and be sure to use within one year, or within two to three months after opening and refrigerating.
About Martha McMillin
In 2013 McMillin left a 31-year career in law to open her Westside storefront that puts up local produce the old-fashioned way. Of the store’s 15 different preserves, pickles, and condiments, one of her bestsellers is strawberry jam, which she and her team are making this month as strawberries come in season.
This article originally appeared in our April 2016 issue.
“An omelet in its purest form is sacred to me,” says Linton Hopkins as he sets a nonstick skillet with shallow, sloping sides on the stove. “The fewer ingredients the better, so long as they are of exceptional quality: the best farm eggs you can get, really good butter, and sea salt. I don’t even add pepper.”
To be clear, Hopkins isn’t talking about the puffy half-moons bulging with cheese and veggies found on diner menus across America—that’s a Western-style omelet. He’s talking about the French omelette roulée, or rolled omelet, a deceptively challenging dish said to be the true test of a chef’s skill. From pan to plate, the whole process takes less than two minutes. The texture should be tender and velvety, says Hopkins, not spongy or rubbery, with soft curds in the center that border on underdone (they’ll continue to cook from the residual heat once rolled). The finished product should be uniformly pale yellow with no creases or cracks. “An omelet is a lesson in simplicity, judgment, and hand-eye coordination,” says Hopkins. “Once you get the technique down, you won’t even need a spatula.”
1 Have a serving plate ready on the counter beside the pan, along with sea salt for seasoning. Crack two large eggs into a bowl. Beat vigorously with a fork until whites and yolks are thoroughly incorporated but not foamy.
2 Set your skillet over high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. butter and tilt pan to coat. There should be wisps of steam rising from the pan when the butter starts to sizzle. As it foams, add eggs and quickly twist the pan to coat the bottom.
3 Sprinkle eggs with salt. Constantly shake the pan to lightly scramble the eggs. Smooth over the top with a fork as needed to ensure even cooking, until soft curds begin to appear and a thin skin forms on the bottom of the pan. If curds form too quickly, remove from heat.
4 Tilt pan toward plate. Using a fork, gently loosen the top edges of the omelet and allow it to roll over itself, slowly tilting the pan further until the omelet rolls onto the plate. For a more even shape, set a clean tea towel over the omelet and gently press the edges inward with the sides of your hands.
5 Remove towel and gloss the top of the omelet with butter. Serve immediately.
The Perfect Pan
For the omelet maker in your life, Hopkins suggests the 8.5-inch Original French Chef Omelette Pan by the Pot Shop of Boston. This deluxe utensil is made of heavy cast-aluminum for slow, even cooking.
About Linton Hopkins
Since he opened Restaurant Eugene with his wife, Gina, in 2004, Hopkins’s empire has grown to include Holeman and Finch Public House, H&F Burger, Hop’s Chicken, and a bread company that delivers to kitchens citywide. In November 2014, the 2012 James Beard Award winner for best chef in the Southeast opened the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Cafe at Linton’s, which is set to move into a two-story, state-of-the-art facility later this spring. This classic rolled omelet will be available all day.
Illustrations by Joel Kimmel
This article originally appeared in our March 2016 issue.
The profiteroles at Cafe Alsace have developed quite a reputation since Benedicte Cooper first put them on the menu 18 years ago. “We have regular customers who order them on their anniversaries instead of Champagne,” says Cooper. The trio of airy, crispy puffs, filled with homemade ice cream, arrive nestled in a pool of vanilla bean–flecked custard, draped in bittersweet chocolate sauce, and showered with toasted almonds and confectioners sugar. The pastry is made from dollops of eggy, buttery dough called choux paste (pâte à choux, pronounced paht-ah-shoo). Master this versatile pastry dough, and you can build a number of sweet and savory dishes. Poke a hole in the bottom to pipe in chocolate mousse for a cream puff. Form into an oblong log, fill with custard, and frost with chocolate for an éclair. Drop dollops into hot oil and roll in powdered sugar for beignets. Or pipe in cheesy béchamel for gougères.
1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
2 In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup water, 1 stick unsalted butter, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium. Add 1 cup all-purpose flour, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until dough pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 2 minutes.
3 Transfer dough to a large mixing bowl. Add 4 large eggs, one at a time, beating mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon in between. The dough should be shiny and smooth. Don’t over-stir, which can prevent puffing.
4 Using two spoons, scoop a mound of dough about 1 ½ inches in diameter and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, placing mounds about an inch apart.
5 Dip your finger in water, then smooth the top of each mound. Bake until lightly browned, puffed, and firm to the touch, about 20 to 25 minutes.
6 Remove to a baking rack and let cool completely. Using a serrated knife, slice each puff in half horizontally. 7 Spoon a pool of crème anglaise onto the center of the plate. Set the bottoms of three puffs on top and crown each with a scoop of ice cream. Add tops, drizzle with chocolate sauce, and sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds. Shower with confectioners sugar.
Top it off—bonus recipes:
Crème Anglaise Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup whole milk 1 vanilla bean, split 4 egg yolks ½ cup granulated sugar
Place milk in a medium saucepan. Scrape seeds of vanilla bean into milk, add bean, and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until very light in color.
Remove vanilla bean from boiling milk. Gradually whisk hot milk into egg mixture. Return to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat while stirring, being very careful not to let the mixture boil. Keep stirring, and test thickness by dipping a wooden spoon into mixture and then dragging it through the custard. If it leaves a path, it’s sufficiently thickened. Strain custard into a bowl; cover and chill.
Dark Chocolate Sauce Makes 1 ¼ cups
1 cup 58 percent dark chocolate chips ½ cup heavy cream
Place chocolate and cream in top of a double boiler set over simmering—not boiling—water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and thoroughly incorporated into cream.
Remove from heat; cover and refrigerate if not using immediately. To reheat, place in a saucepan over low heat.
About Benedicte Cooper
A native of Alsace, France, Cooper first made her mark on the Atlanta pastry scene at the now-defunct St. Agnes Tea Garden, a quirky little shop that developed a cult following after opening in Decatur in 1995. Then in 1997 she followed up with Cafe Alsace, also in Decatur, which quickly became a neighborhood favorite thanks to a homey menu rooted in French-German classics, from boeuf bourguignon with spaetzle to these profiteroles.
This article originally appeared in our February 2016 issue.
Just how fresh is the fish at Kyma? It was likely still swimming in Greek waters 18 to 30 hours before it hit your plate. “We’re lucky to have that door-to-door connection, from Athens to Kyma,” says chef Pano I. Karatassos. To highlight the fish’s natural maritime flavors, he keeps seasoning to just olive oil, lemon, fresh herbs, and salt and pepper. As for preparation, one of the easiest and healthiest techniques is cooking en papillote, in which fillets are wrapped in parchment to steam in a hot oven. Stuff the parchment packets with sliced vegetables or rice for a complete meal. The trickiest part is checking for doneness, but Karatassos shares a chef’s trick that works like a charm: Poke a metal cake tester through the paper into the meatiest part of the fish. After five seconds, remove it and lightly touch it to the bottom of your lower lip. If it’s warm, it’s done. If it’s scalding, the fish is likely overcooked. (A one-inch-thick piece cooked at 400°F should take 12 to 15 minutes.)
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Cut a rectangle of parchment large enough to fold over the fish from side to side and top to bottom. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
3. Season 2 skin-on fish fillets (3 to 4 oz. each) with salt and pepper. Place one fillet, skin-side down, in the center of the parchment.
4. Top with ½ cup of pilaf and add the other fillet, skin-side up. Drizzle with more olive oil.
5. Add 1 to 2 tsp. water, white wine, or other liquid, which will create the steam.
6. Fold long sides of parchment over the fish, then fold the shorter sides over.
7. Cut a 3-foot-long piece of kitchen twine and center the package over it lengthwise. Pull the two ends together, cross in the middle, wrap it around the fish once, and tie as if you’re wrapping a present.
8. Set package on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake 12 to 15 minutes for every inch of the thickest fillet. Remove, snip string, and open parchment, being careful not to let the steam burn you. Serve with lemon wedges and extra rice pilaf, if desired.
Home cooks who want access to the same variety of high-quality fish can shop the market housed inside Kyma’s sister restaurant, the Atlanta Fish Market.
Bonus recipe: Spanokorizo (Spinach Rice) Makes 2 to 4 servings
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup long-grain rice
½ medium Vidalia onion, finely diced
1 small bay leaf
1 cup water
8 ounces spinach, leaves rolled in tight bundles and thinly sliced (chiffonade)
1/3 cup minced fresh dill
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-low; add onion. Cook and stir onion until tender and translucent but not brown. Add rice; cook and stir until lightly toasted. Add water, bay leaf, and ½ tsp salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove bay leaf. Stir in spinach, dill, and parsley, and immediately remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper; drizzle with remaining oil. Toss rice until all spinach has wilted. Spread on parchment-lined sheet pan to cool.
About Pano I. Karatassos
The son of the founder of Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, Karatassos trained under Michelin-starred chefs like Thomas Keller, Eric Ripert, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Even so, his 14-year-old restaurant also takes inspiration from watching his grandmother prepare traditional Greek meals.
This article originally appeared in our January 2016 issue.
This is my idea of a perfect cool-weather weeknight meal: hearty, healthy, and comes together in an hour with little clean-up. To go with it, I roasted a pound of Brussels sprouts—trimmed, halved, and tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper—in a separate pan alongside it for about 20 minutes. Watch carefully and shake the pan now and then; I like some dark, crispy leaves but don’t let them get too black. Depending on how big your pork chops are and how hungry you are, this will serve two to four.
1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 1-inch-thick bone-in pork loin chops (1 to 1 1/2 pounds total)
½ to 1 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
2 large shallots, quartered, with some root attached
1/2 cup minced parsley leaves
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 450°F. Place the fennel seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium heat and toast, stirring and shaking the pan often, until fragrant, 3 or 4 minutes. Let cool.
Grate the garlic cloves with a microplane into a small bowl. Stir in the fennel seeds, paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, 5 or 6 grindings of pepper, and 2 tablespoons oil. Place pork chops in a resealable plastic bag and add the spice mixture. Seal and turn the bag to coat thoroughly. Let sit at least 20 minutes, or refrigerate overnight.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and cook until golden brown on 1 side, about 4 minutes; turn. Add potatoes and shallots to the skillet; season with another ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt and a few more grinding of pepper and toss to coat in the pan drippings. Cook, tossing the potatoes and shallots occasionally, until pork is golden brown on second side, about 4 minutes.
Transfer both to the oven and roast until potatoes are tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chops registers 135 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. (If potatoes need more time, transfer chops to a plate and continue to roast the potatoes until tender; transfer the chops back to skillet when potatoes are done.)
Remove the skillet from the oven and mix in the parsley and vinegar. Let the mixture rest 5 minutes in skillet.
If desired, transfer the chops to a cutting board; cut meat from bones and slice against the grain. Serve with the potatoes, shallots, and any pan juices. Or, serve the chops whole for heartier servings.
Recipe adapted from one by Alison Roman that ran in Bon Appétit in February 2014
For an easy dinner at home, Billy Allin suggests open-top braising, a slow-cooking method that yields super-tender meat with minimal kitchen effort. For poultry, Allin prefers the “crocodile” method, in which he places chicken (or duck) pieces in a pan and partially covers them with liquid, leaving the tops exposed “like the backs of crocodiles floating in the water.” Then he transfers the chicken to the oven and allows it to cook, uncovered, so that the skin on top browns while the liquid reduces down to a rich jus. Tips: Use high-quality stock (fortified with dry white wine), aromatic vegetables, and herbs, and season the chicken well the night before. But don’t overdo it. “You do not need to put Sriracha on this,” he says. “I like my chicken to taste like chicken.”
1 Place 4 chicken legs (with thighs attached) on a paper towel–lined rimmed tray. Generously season pieces with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (or 1 tsp. of spice blend). Refrigerate 8 to 12 hours.
2Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove chicken from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking. Pat dry with paper towels. Coat a large, heavy, oven-safe skillet with 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and set on medium heat. Add ½ onion, thickly sliced; 1⁄3 stalk celery, sliced; and 2 small chopped carrots. Saute until vegetables are softened and lightly caramelized.
3 Add 1 plum tomato (San Marzano, if possible), 1 fresh bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme, and 1 whole peeled garlic clove. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to break up the tomato.
4 Add 1 cup dry white wine and 1 Tbsp. Champagne vinegar. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add chicken pieces and enough stock to partially submerge, leaving the top of the chicken exposed. Cook over medium until liquid is hot.
5 Drizzle top of chicken with more olive oil, and place pan in oven. Cook at 325°F, uncovered, for 1 ½ hours, or until done.
6 Cut each thigh and leg into 2 pieces. Pat off excess oil. Serve with jus from the pan.
Spice Blend Combine 1 cup kosher salt, 1 Tbsp. each toasted and ground coriander seed and toasted and ground fennel seed, 1 tsp. each toasted and ground cumin seed and freshly ground black pepper, and 1 ground clove. Store in a covered container.
Side Ideas Allin suggests assertive-flavored sides to balance the mildness of the chicken. One favorite: quickly sautéed baby turnips and fresh artichoke hearts (or baby artichokes if you can get them.) He brightens the plates with handfuls of arugula leaves and suggests adding cooked farro for an earthy, chewy counterpoint. Pair with a dry Riesling, an Alsatian Pinot Gris, or light Beaujolais.
Vegetables: 1 lemon, quartered
4 medium fresh artichoke hearts, halved (see directions)
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
8 small turnips, trimmed, scrubbed and halved (or quartered) into bite-size pieces
A few handfuls of arugula leaves
In a medium skillet, combine artichoke hearts, 1/3 cup olive oil, wine, water, and salt. Bring to a heavy simmer and cook 8 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and artichoke hearts are sizzling in remaining oil. When very tender, remove to a paper towel–lined plate.
Add remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to another medium skillet. Swirl to coat, and add turnips. Cook and stir, shaking pan occasionally, until turnips are lightly caramelized. Transfer pan to oven and cook at 325ºF, 5 to 10 minutes, or until turnips are can be pierced easily with knife. Remove to a paper towel–lined pate.
To serve: Place chicken on a plate with artichoke and turnips. Drizzle with some of the jus, and top with a handful of arugula leaves.
Tip: Preparing fresh artichokes Peeling artichokes is a pain, but the flavor is infinitely superior to canned or frozen. A basic method: Squeeze the juices of 1 lemon into a large bowl of water, then cut up and toss in the rinds. Snap off the tough outer leaves from artichokes, then cut off the tops, leaving only the soft outer leaves. Using a paring knife, peel outer skin from around the base of the artichoke and stem. Cut artichoke heart in half, then scoop out all of the “choke,” the silky purple and white leaves in the middle that include the hairy-looking filaments that can scratch your throat if swallowed. Immediately dip hearts into lemon water to prevent browning until ready to use.
Chicken Stock Makes 2 to 3 quarts
Ingredients 1 whole organic chicken, cut into pieces
1 small (or 1/2 large) onion, cut in half
1 medium carrot, cut in half
1/2 stalk celery
2 sprigs thyme
1 fresh bay leaf (or ½ dried leaf)
1 whole clove
1 1/2 gallons water
Instructions Place chicken, onion, carrot, celery, thyme, bay leaf, clove, and peppercorns in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the chicken by an inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 2 hours, uncovered, skimming surface as needed. Strain through a colander. Reserve chicken for another use.
About Billy Allin James Beard semifinalist Allin is the chef owner of Cakes & Ale. Raised in South Carolina and educated in the culinary arts in northern California (including a stint at Chez Panisse), he worked as Scott Peacock’s sous chef at Watershed before opening Cakes & Ale with his wife, Kristin, in 2008.
This article originally appeared in our December 2015 issue.
There are cookbooks I want to just curl up in a corner and read and drool over, and cookbooks that actually inspire me to get into the kitchen. With Nancie McDermott’s books, I want to do both. Such is the case with her latest, Southern Soups & Stews: More Than 75 Recipes from Burgoo and Gumbo to Etouffee and Fricassees (Chronicle, 2015). In each thoughtfully selected and perfected recipe, McDermott provides deep and fascinating insight into the South’s diverse cultures by way of the stockpot or Dutch oven. While the classic rib-sticking soup, Caldo Gallego, has roots in northwestern Spain, she acknowledges its Cuban influences in this version that’s made its way up to Florida.
Beans, greens, potatoes, and some kind of pork are the common denominators of all. Some variations, she notes, include tomatoes, ham hock and saffron. I mostly followed this recipe as written, using a combination of turnip greens and kale for the greens and kielbasa for the sausage, and ramping up the heat with a few shakes of hot sauce. McDermott recommends serving it over rice or hot buttered bread. On a rainy autumn evening it hit the spot, and provided a welcome, ready-made lunch straight from the fridge for days to come.
Ingredients Serves 8 to 10
5 bacon slices, cut up
1½ cups chopped onions
1 pound dried navy beans, soaked in cold water for 6 hours, or overnight (or 5 cups canned navy beans, rinsed and drained)
6 ounces chorizo sausage, andouille, or smoked kielbasa
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 cups 1-inch chunks peeled potatoes
4 cups chopped turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, or Swiss chard
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Hot sauce for seasoning, optional
In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until it sizzles, stirring as it begins to curl and brown, about 1 minute. Add the onions and cook, tossing them often, until both ingredients are shiny and fragrant, and the bacon is nicely browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
Drain the beans, add them to the pot, and stir well. Add enough water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring it to an active boil and stir the beans. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle, but visible, lively simmer, and cook for 1 1⁄2 to 2 hours, until the beans are tender.
While the beans cook, cut the sausage lengthwise in half, and then crosswise into 1⁄2-inch chunks. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles at once. Add the sausage and cook, tossing it often, until it is shiny, fragrant, and nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, toss it well, and set the pan aside.
When the beans are tender, stir the potatoes and turnip greens into the pot. Cook until the greens and potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the sausage along with the garlic and the oil in which they cooked. Add the salt and pepper, stir well, and remove the pot from the heat. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve hot or warm, with hot sauce on the side if desired.
Tip: Look for fresh chorizo in the refrigerator case, resembling kielbasa or andouille sausage. You could also use Spanish-style chorizo, the dark red, harder-textured dried version, as well.
My latest grain discovery is freekeh, an heirloom varietal I picked up at Geechie Boy Market & Mill on Edisto Island, S.C., when I stopped in to buy a bag of their famous grits. Now that I’m hooked, I’m happy to know I can find it at Whole Foods and other natural foods stores here in Atlanta. These young wheat berries are sun-dried and lightly roasted, giving them a smoky tinge that pairs exceptionally well with hearty fall vegetables, dried fruits, sausages, and nuts. This colorful meat-in-one mélange, based on a recipe I found on a freekeh website, features all of them and is a great starting place to explore the possibilities. If you can’t find freekeh, other hearty grains like farro, whatberries, and barley would also work well. Freekeh is also sold cracked, which cooks faster.
Ingredients For 6 servings
1 cup whole freekeh
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 package (6 links) chicken-apple sausage, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 8-ounce package white mushrooms, quartered
6 ounces chopped fresh kale
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
In a medium saucepan, combine freekeh and broth and bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat, and let simmer for about 45 minutes, or until tender and chewy.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread out the diced squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and season with a little salt and pepper. Let roast until tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and saute until lightly browned. Remove to a plate. Add the onion and mushrooms and sauté until tender, then add the kale and sauté until kale is wilted.
Stir in the cooked and drained freekah, sausage, sage, cranberries and pecans. Cook 2 more minutes and serve.
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