Tag Archives: beer

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.

Smoked and Braised Pork Shoulder Latin Style

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plate 2 This recipe has been one I have used for years. I used to make it at my cooking school for Cuban Night. I change out a few things here and there to go more Italian or more Cuban. Even if you do not have a smoker this is delicious braised or done in a slow cooker or dutch oven. You simply make a paste in the food processor and then make slits in the pork shoulder (bone in or out, your choice). Marinate it over night, smoke the next morning and then finish it off in a crock pot or in a dutch oven in the oven.  Note: I do not add salt before cooking, but I offer it at the table. 

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Ingredients:

1 cup each of packed cilantro and flat leaf parsley

1/3 cup each of coriander, cumin and fennel seeds toasted

30 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup crushed red pepper (the kind you put on pizza)

1/4 cup pink pepper berries (optional)

1 tablespoon hickory powder if you are not smoking the meat

1/4 cup olive oil (I use smoked oil that I make)

1 5-7 pound pork shoulder (get them on sale and freeze)

2# Yukon Gold Potatoes

3 large onions, quartered

2 cans of beer

1/4 cup Spice and Tea Exchange Sweet Onion Sugar (optional)

Method:

Put the cilantro, parsley seeds, garlic, pepper berries, crushed red pepper, hickory powder if you are not smoking and the olive oil in a food processor. Pulse till you have a thick paste.

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Put on latex gloves if you have them, this gets messy. Cut 1 1/2 inch slits into the meat on all sides. Stuff the slits with the paste. If you have any paste left over, smear it on the meat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate 12-24 hours.
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Remove the meat from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Meanwhile set up your smoker and turn your grill on high.

Sear the meat on all sides on the grill. Then place in the smoker at about 200 degrees over a drip pan and smoke for 6 hours. If you do not have a smoker, go directly to the slow cooker or roaster but cook for 8-10 hours on low.

Porchetta out of the smoker

Prepare the roaster or slow cooker by placing a bed of Yukon Gold potatoes (small ones or cut larger ones in half) and the onions. Sometimes I add other root vegetables too. Place the meat directly on the bed of veggies. pour two cans or bottles of beer over the meat. Sprinkle the sweet onion sugar all over.

Roast at 350 degrees covered with foil or in a dutch oven. Or you can use a slow cooker on high for 4 hours (either method).  It is just that easy. The leftovers are sometimes my favorite part… tamales, tacos pulled pork sandwiches. 🙂

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Beer Braised Horseradish Meatballs

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Inspired by a post on my friend’s blog:He Cooks She Cooks about their meatballs, I developed this tweak using some twists of my own and some ingredients from the Spice and Tea Exchange of Charleston, where I work. I have provided links for these ingredients but you can make substitutions for them if you need to. These meatballs are made with the traditional meatloaf mix of beef, veal and pork, but you can use just beef and pork if you cannot find veal, or you can substitute ground turkey for the veal. They are mixed with lots of aromatics and interesting flavors and then braised in beer and chicken stock which also has lemon and hot peppers floating about. The sauce is a rich sour cream based horseradish sauce. It is easy to put together and I had a large container of meatballs left for another use. I made mine about 1 1/2 inches in size so that I can use the leftovers for appetizers.

Beer Braised Horseradish Meatballs

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 2 pounds of meatball mix using beef, pork and veal or just beef and pork
  • 1/3 cup extra strong horseradish
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup extra fine panko or bread crumbs
  • 1 cup finely diced onion (I used a purple onion)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup dried shallots reconstituted and strained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill weed
  • 4 Tablespoons Spice and Tea Exchange Sweet Onion Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Feta Cheese Powder
  • 1/4 cup Vic’s Garlic Fix (you can substitute minced garlic)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup of butter and 1/8 cup of olive oil for browning

Braising Liquid

  • 1 bottle of beer (I used a light amber)
  • 1 1/2 cups of good chicken stock
  • juice and peel of one lemon
  • 4 hot peppers (serrano)
  • one bay leaf

Sauce

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup braising liquid
  • 1/4 cup horseradish
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • lemon  pepper to taste
  • salt to taste

Method: 

  • In a large bowl, mix all of the meatball ingredients together till they are finely blended
  • Make into golf ball sized meatballs
  • Place on a tray on parchment paper and chill for one hour
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Make braising liquid and simmer in a Dutch oven
  • In a large skillet, melt butter and olive oil and brown the meatballs in batches. When they are all browned place in the hot braising liquid, cover and braise in the oven for 30 minutes

When the meatballs are finished, remove them from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Make the sauce, in a frying pan and add the warmed meatballs. Serve over noodles or rice or put toothpicks on them and serve the sauce on the side.