Tag Archives: bacon

Husk…. Sean Brock’s Southern Food

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Bon Appetit hailed it as the Best New Restaurant in the US…. accolades have been streaming ever since. It is not all hype, the food is amazing, creative and interesting. Husk is the love child of James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock of McCrady’s and the Neighborhood Dining Group. Since opening Husk in Charleston he opened another outpost of Southern ingredients in Nashville. He recently opened Minero, a taqueria in the high rent district of downtown Charleston. There is word that he is also taking that concept to Atlanta where the Neighborhood Dining Group is headquartered. He transforms the essence of Southern food over and over again. Solid… delicious… promising. Sean is dedicated to bringing back old Southern grains, beans, greens and other treasures that were all but lost. He is the champion of the old non-gmo crops that were grown 200 years ago in the south. His food reflects that without being obvious. It is just delicious food, and then you learn its history and all of the work that went into bringing it to the table.

Led by Brock and Chef de Cuisine Travis Grimes, a Lowcountry native, the kitchen reinterprets the bounty of the surrounding area, exploring an ingredient-driven cuisine that begins in the rediscovery of heirloom products and redefines what it means to cook and eat in Charleston.

Starting with a larder of ingredients indigenous to the South, and set within a building complex dating to the late 19th century, Brock crafts menus throughout the day, responding to what local purveyors are supplying the kitchen at any given moment. The entrance beckons with a rustic wall of firewood to fuel the wood-fired oven and a large chalkboard listing artisanal products currently provisioning the kitchen, but like the décor that inhabits the historic building, the food is modern in style and interpretation.

At Husk there are some rules about what can go on the plate. “If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door,” says Brock, who has even stricken olive oil from the kitchen. As he explains, the resulting cuisine “is not about rediscovering Southern cooking, but exploring the reality of Southern food.” This modern approach results in playful dishes such as Deviled Eggs with Pickled Okra and Trout Roe, and new classics like South Carolina Shrimp and Choppee Okra Stew with Carolina Gold Rice and Flowering Basil.

Seed-saving, heirloom husbandry, and in-house pickling and charcuterie efforts by the culinary team are the basis of the cuisine at Husk. The restaurant is as casual as it is chic, evoking a way of life centered on seasonality and the grand traditions of Charleston life—one lived at a slower pace, preferably with a cocktail and a wide porch in the late afternoon. It is a neighborhood gathering place for friends, and a destination dining spot for travelers, with a little bite of the South for everyone’s palates.

These photos are from my lunch there with Nathalie Dupree and Holly Herrick, two Charleston based friends of mine than rank in the upper echelons of Food Writers.  And so we were treated to many things that we did not order. On of the most amazing things that day was totally unexpected, the fried chicken skin with honey and hot sauce. It is a dish I have reconstructed at home a few times. I also reconstructed Husk’s Sweet Tea Brined Kentuckyaki Chicken Wings and you can get the recipe here.

Candied Bacon, Beyond Delicious

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bacon candy

File this one under DELICIOUS! This recipe could not be easier, especially if you have access to the flavored sugars mentioned. But you can also make your own by adding chile powder to raw sugar. The Spice and Tea Exchange of Charleston is part of a larger company with many franchise stores around the US. They also sell everything on their corporate website. I have provided links for the sugars in case you would like to order them. You can also play around with other flavors, but this is a terrific combination.

1 package of bacon, I used thick cut black pepper bacon

3 tablespoons of Spice and Tea Exchange Sweet Onion Sugar

1 tablespoon of Spice and Tea Exchange Habanero Sugar

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  • Place the bacon strips close together on a broiler pan
  • Sprinkle the bacon with the sugars and fresh ground black pepper
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the bacon is crispy

You may want to double this recipe… it is impossible to resist eating these.

All of the grease will go down to the bottom pan and after you pour that out clean up is easy.

 

Candied Prosecco Poached Pears Filled with Brie and Wrapped in Bacon

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This recipe came about, as many do, with an inspiration from another cook. My friend Caterina Borg who has the fabulous food blog Good Food Gourmet. She made this post back in October about poached pears stuffed with Brie. She was inspired by another food blog Palachinka. Here is Palachinka’s original post with a different spin on the theme. Palachinka’s post was inspired by a recipe in Sale&Pepe magazine, Serbian issue for December 2009.

I had planned to make this as an appetizer, but could not find small pears, so I made it as a first course, served in bowls with a reduction of the poaching liquid spooned over. This would also go great on some lightly dressed greens.

My spin was of course quite different, from the poaching liquid to the finish, and yet all three of our dishes have the same basic components, pears, cheese and bacon. What is not to love? Here is my version of the concept which dazzled my dinner guests last night:

Ingredients: 

6 pears

Enough wine to cover 6 pears in a pot (2-3 bottles). I used prosecco, but you could use any wine you like. Port is great for this as would be a merlot. Each with their own distinctions.

Aromatics: I used fennel, pink pepper corns, thyme, cinnamon sticks, big slices of orange peel and cloves. Star anise would be nice this too.

A small wheel of Brie Cheese (You will have leftover cheese.)

12-14 slices of bacon

1 1 /2 cups brown sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons of  Chipotle powder

Method:

  •  Peel pears and place in a large pan so that they are in a single layer.
  • Cover with wine and add aromatics
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, remove pears to another bowl for cooling.
  • Turn the burner up to a rolling simmer and reduce the poaching liquid by half.
  • When pears are cool, cut in half, scoop out the center with a melon baller and fill the cavities with peeled brie, then put back together.
  • Wrap each pear with 2 slices of bacon, if you have a really large pear, you might need three slices. Hold together with toothpicks.
  • Roll the pears in the seasoned brown sugar
  • Place standing up on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy.
  • Place each pear in a bowl, mine were laying down, but you could place them standing up too.  Spoon the remaining poaching liquid with the aromatics over each pear. Serve with a sharp knife so the bacon is easily cut through.