Mamatoga Guest Chef: Hattie's Holiday Recipes

We are excited to announce a new feature on Mamatoga, the Guest Chef Series! We have so many fantastic local restaurants with great chefs at the helm, and we thought it would be fun to feature these chefs and the recipes they cook when they're at home with their families. We are even MORE excited to kick off the series with recipes from one of our absolute favorite local restaurants, Hattie's! Owned by Chef Jasper Alexander and his wife Beth, Hattie's is best known for their amazing fried chicken, which won a "throwdown" against Chef Bobby Flay and is featured in his cookbook and was also featured in Food & Wine Magazine as among the best fried chicken in the entire U.S.! For those of you that have been there and had this chicken you know how fantastic it is, but it isn't just the chicken that makes Hattie's so special. The warm, friendly and inviting atmosphere keeps people coming back, and you can tell that all the food is thoughtfully prepared for each guest. It's family friendly, casual, and fun, and is an absolute staple for my family year round.

Now let's take a peek at the holiday recipes Jasper and Beth have for us! The first recipe is for brunch that Beth puts together on Christmas Eve and pops in the oven Christmas morning. I love the idea of having it all ready to just put in the oven, something nice and easy so you can focus on all the Christmas morning fun with the family!

At Beth and Jasper's house they usually do a big buffet in the morning/afternoon with Hatfield Ham, cheese grits, Uncommon Grounds bagels with cream cheese and a selection of smoked fish, croissants and mixed pastries from Mrs. London's, deviled eggs from Hattie's (on their new brunch menu!) and shrimp cocktail, which all sounds fantastic!

At brunch they also serve Cowboy Breakfast:

Makes 12 servings (or 8 for cowboys) Active time: 30 min Total time: 1 1/2 hr

Ingredients:

  •  1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing baking dish
  • 1 (1-lb) package bulk breakfast sausage (not links)
  • 1 (15-inch-long) loaf Italian bread (about 4 inches wide)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 dozen large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large bunch scallions, chopped (1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/4 lb sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (1 cup)

Preparation

  • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Generously butter bottom and sides of a 13- by 9-inch baking dish.
  • Cook sausage in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring frequently and breaking up any large lumps with a fork, until browned, about 10 minutes. Pour off fat from skillet, then cool sausage to room temperature.
  • Cut half of loaf into 1-inch-thick slices and reserve remaining half for another use. Pulse butter and garlic in a food processor until smooth. Spread a thin layer of garlic butter on both sides of each bread slice, arranging bread in 1 layer in bottom of baking dish. Sprinkle sausage on top.
  • Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until frothy, then whisk in scallions and half of cheese. Pour egg mixture over sausage (bread will float to the top), pushing down on bread with a spatula to help it absorb liquid. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Bake, covered with a large sheet of buttered foil (buttered side down), 30 minutes, then carefully remove foil and bake until top is slightly puffed and eggs are cooked through in center, about 20 minutes more.
  • Let stand 10 minutes, then cut into 12 squares.
  •  Cooks' note: Dish can be assembled (but not baked) 12 hours ahead and chilled, covered with buttered foil. Bake as directed above.

Last year Beth decided to switch to buffet style after a kitchen sink mishap and realized everyone loved it more than a formal sit down dinner. I love how great ideas can spring from unforeseen complications and make the day even better than planned! Their dinner this year is going to be a mixed salad and crust bread served with this cassoulet:

Cassoulet The hearty, meat-studded dish from southwestern France known as cassoulet may be the ultimate one-pot meal. A slow-simmered mix of beans, pork sausages, pork shoulder, pancetta, and duck, the cassoulet takes its name from the earthenware cassole in which it was traditionally made. The crisped bread crumb crust atop this version contrasts appealingly with the hearty stew beneath. Serves 6-8.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. dried great northern beans
  • 10 tbsp. duck fat or olive oil
  • 16 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 
2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 large ham hocks
  • 1 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1"cubes
  • 1⁄2 lb. pancetta, cubed
  • 4 sprigs oregano
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 
3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup whole peeled canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 confit duck legs (optional)
  • 1 lb. pork sausages
  • 2 cups bread crumbs

Preparation:

  • Soak beans in a 4-qt. bowl in 7 1⁄2 cups water overnight. Heat 2 tbsp. duck fat in a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add half the garlic, onions, and carrots and cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add ham hocks along with beans and their water and boil. Reduce heat and simmer beans until tender, about 1 1⁄2 hours.
  • Transfer ham hocks to a plate; let cool. Pull off meat; discard skin, bone, and gristle. Chop meat; add to beans. Set aside.
  • Heat 2 tbsp. duck fat in a 5-qt. dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown for 8 minutes. Add pancetta; cook for 5 minutes. Add remaining garlic, onions, and carrots; cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Tie together oregano, thyme, and bay leaves with twine; add to pan with tomatoes; cook until liquid thickens, 8–10 minutes. Add wine; reduce by half. Add broth; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, uncovered, until liquid has thickened, about 1 hour. Discard herbs; set dutch oven aside.
  • Meanwhile, sear duck legs in 2 tbsp. duck fat in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat for 8 minutes; transfer to a plate. Brown sausages in the fat, about 8 minutes. Cut sausages into 1⁄2" slices. Pull duck meat off bones. Discard fat and bones. Stir duck and sausages into pork stew.
  • Heat oven to 300˚. Mix beans and pork stew in a 4-qt. earthenware casserole. Cover with bread crumbs; drizzle with remaining duck fat. Bake, uncovered, for 3 hours. Raise oven temperature to 500˚; cook cassoulet until crust is golden, about 5 minutes.

For dessert Beth is thinking of doing chocolate bark with candied oranges, which sounds like the perfect topping to a perfectly delicious day!

Special thanks to Beth Alexander and Hattie's for sharing these recipes with us especially for Mamatoga, and stay tuned for more recipes from other great local restaurants coming up!