James Beard Award winning chef Robert Stehling is perhaps best known for his elevated takes on southern breakfast staples (see sausage gravy smothered chicken biscuit above) at his Charleston restaurant Hominy Grill. Tomorrow evening we’re thrilled to welcome him to the L'Atelier to sample his equally decadent dinner staples.
Join us for our first Guest Chef Series of the new year!
This is my grandmother’s recipe, but it didn’t die with her when she passed away in 1996. Instead, Teresa, the woman who helped my grandparents around the house since 1967, continued to make this brisket for my grandfather for the remainder of his long life (101 years). When I first began teaching myself to cook, I had the crazy idea to have a massive Passover meal, with this brisket as the centerpiece. Teresa gave me the recipe over the phone, and off I went, cooking 12 lbs of brisket for over twenty people. It was an enormous success, and has been made time and again since then.
Note: I have written the recipe for the brisket, but not for the potatoes and carrots that I always serve with this dish. You can cook the potatoes and carrots however you like, and then throw them in with the meat when the meat is close to finished. Truthfully, I haven’t found the perfect way to cook the potatoes and carrots, so I try a new method every time. If you have any tips, let me know!
2 diced tomatoes
1 vidalia onion, cut into rings
1 cup of red wine vinegar
1 cup of red wine
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
4 tablespoons of olive oil
5 cloves of garlic
Salt & pepper
1 bay leaf
Small handful of peppercorns
5 lbs of brisket
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Rub brisket with a little olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper.
Using cast iron pot (I use a Le Creuset dutch oven), brown both sides of brisket on stovetop. It should get pretty dark, that beautiful color that leaves its flavor all over the pan.
Take brisket out of pot and place on plate.
Inside same pot, place the vidalia onion that has been cut into rings at the bottom. Lay the brisket on top of the onion rings.
Over brisket, pour in 1 cup of red wine vinegar and 1 cup of regular red wine.
Sprinkle some brown sugar on top – a little more than a tablespoon. You can eyeball this, though be careful not to put too much as it will make the meat too sweet.
Put diced tomatoes on top, just to cover the meat. Don’t mix these in. (If you don’t have tomatoes, you can use ketchup. That’s actually what the original recipe calls for. However, if you use ketchup, I would skip the brown sugar as ketchup already has sugar in it).
Throw in 1 bay leaf and a few pepper corns.
Cover the pot and cook until done. Meat should be very tender and falling apart when ready.
Our second day tagging along with team Cook it Raw had us up before the dawn, heading two hours south of Charleston, close to the Georgia borderline, to Turnbridge Plantation for an epic immersion into Lowcountry living filled with foraging, rice harvesting and alligator hunting (yes, alligator hunting) culminating in an afternoon feast comprised only of things caught and found.
Here’s what we saw. . .
1. Sunrise breakfast cooked straight on the campfire.
2. Chef Alex Stupak of Empellon in New York City manning the grits, eggs, bacon and pork belly stations.
3. Chefs JP McMahon and Sean Brock sifting through fields of Carolina Gold Rice.
4. Chefs Ben Shewry, Dan Barber, Sasu Laukkonen and Anson Mills Founder, Glenn Roberts, bringing back the morning’s haul.
5. Chef Eric Werner of Hartwood in Tulum, Mexico breaking down a whole white tail deer.
6. Chef Phil Wood of Rockpool in Sydney separating grains from their husks with a modern Japanese rice milling machine.
7. Chefs Sean Brock of Husk and McCrady’s in Charleston and Nashville and April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig, The Breslin, Salvation Taco and The John Dory in New York City doing it the old-fashioned way.
8. Freshly foraged wild flowers
9. Sean Brock carefully skinning the catch of the day, an 8 ft. speckled aligator.
10. Wild bay leaf scented Carolina Gold Rice, from field to fork in under 5 hours.