Going Coastal

Thanksgiving Dinner Southern Style – White Truffle Butter

Norman Rockwell ThanksgivingThanksgiving dinner is one of the great unifiers of Americans.  With few exceptions we all eat on the same day, enjoy the same dishes and have the same responses (falling asleep).  Granted there are subtle regional differences like wild rice in Minnesota or hatch chilies in New Mexico so I intend to look at some things customary to a Turkey Day menu in the South but I’m not doing it alone.

My good friend Gene Fox of Deep South Cooking Outfitters will show us how to deep fry a turkey without deep frying our house (HERE).  Chris Lilly of world famous Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, AL will be talking turkey, well actually pies – grilled pies..  Chris is fresh off his appearance on Best in Smoke on the Food Network and winning Grand Champion at the 2011 Memphis in May.  Also lending a hand will be Richard Rosenfeld of premium tea company Two Leaves and a Bud because no Southern Thanksgiving table is complete without a pitcher of Alabama Table Wine – iced tea.  And I’ll be Going Coastal with dressing made with plenty of cornbread, Andouille sausage and Gulf oysters.

415WMlqRNZL. SL500 AA300  Thanksgiving Dinner Southern Style   White Truffle ButterIn the coming days I’ll be dropping each of these little nuggets on you but today I’m going to discuss making a great compound butter.  A “compound butter” is real butter flavored with herbs or spices.  Making a compound butter is easy – just let a stick or two of real unsalted butter come to room temperature, add it to a mixing bowl and using an electric mixer cream the butter like you would for frosting.  Then add your flavor additive, a pinch of salt and cream it just long enough to combine.  Spread the butter onto some wax paper or plastic wrap and shape into a log.  Seal tightly and refrigerate for at least two hours.  Serve for topping hot dinner rolls or cornbread.

You can use any fresh or dried herb or spice mixes like Cajun seasoning or Tabasco sauce.  In this instance I am making an elegant and luxurious compound butter like you might find at one of those great Southern white tablecloth restaurants in Charleston, Savannah or New Orleans. White Truffle Butter.

White Truffle Butter
Recipe Type: Condiment
Author: Stuart Reb Donald
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 5 mins
Serves: 12
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 TBL white truffle oil or to taste
  • 2 pinches of salt or to taste
  1. Place room temperature in a mixing bowl and using an electric mixer cream the butter like you would for frosting.
  2. Add your white truffle oil, a pinch of salt and cream it just long enough to combine.
  3. Spread the butter onto some wax paper or plastic wrap and shape into a log.
  4. Seal tightly and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Going Coastal Recipe: Creole White Chili

Gumbo is decidedly Cajun.  Chili is decidedly Texican.  This recipe draws a line between the two signature soups of the Third Coast then zig zags back and forth across it.  White chili, made with cannellini beans and chicken, is supposed to be the dainty side of chili.  This recipe kicks that notion in the nads.  Perfect for tailgate parties or chilly fall nights.

Creole White Chili
Recipe Type: Appetiser, Entree
Author: Stuart Reb Donald
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 2 hours
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans – with liquid
  • 2 pounds Gulf shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 2 TBL clarified butter
  • 1/4 cup blackening seasoning
  • 1 TBL cumin
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 pound Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  1. Heat a large stock pot or Dutch oven to medium heat. Render the sausage until crispy then set aside.
  2. In the pot, reserve the fat from the sausage and add enough canola oil coat the bottom a 1/4″ deep. Add the onions, celery and bell pepper then saute until translucent.
  3. Add the chicken stock and cannellini beans with liquid and lower to a simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat (this should be done with very good ventilation because it’s going to smoke). In a large zip top bag add the shrimp and blackening seasoning then shake to completely coat the shrimp. Add the clarified butter and quickly blacken the shrimp in batches if necessary.
  5. Add the blackened shrimp to the chili stirring thoroughly. Blackening seasoning will come off the shrimp and flavor the chili with both spice and shrimp flavor.
  6. Turn off the heat, add cumin and half of cheese. Stir just until cheese has melted and more cheese if the chili is too thin. Use remaining cheese as a garnish.

Going Coastal Recipe: Texas Smokehouse Soup

According to legend, Brunswick Stew was first created in Brunswick Bounty, Virginia in the 1820’s. The original recipe varies vastly from the contemporary. That first stew was made with squirrel, stale bread and butter while today’s stew is made using potatoes, chicken and corn. It is the perfect day-after recipe for that weekend cookout as it’s prime ingredients are usually leftovers. This is why it is a staple at BBQ joints from Charlotte to Tulsa.

When I ran the kitchen at Mars Hill Cafe I did a variation on a theme with Brunswick Stew that replaced the chicken with brisket, smoked sausage and smoked turkey meat or pulled pork, replaced the potatoes with kidney beans and replaced the corn with Cajun trinity (onions, celery and bell pepper). Too add to the BBQiness of the soup I use BBQ sauce in the broth.  Since BBQ along the Third Coast tends towards walking meat as to flying meat this recipe is better matched to our lifestyle.  The beauty of this soup is that you can use any smoked/grilled meat – chicken, turkey, brisket, beef ribs, steak, ham, pork ribs, chops, pulled pork and even leftover burgers.  You’ll find the recipe is a perfect use of Fourth of July leftovers.  Happy July 4th!

Texas Smokehouse Soup
4 ounces diced smoked sausage
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion,chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
4 ounces diced smoked brisket or beef rib meat
4 ounces chopped smoked turkey and/or 4 ounces pulled pork
2 quarts beef broth
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 15-ounce can kidney or pinto beans
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup BBQ sauce; adjust for taste
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large soup pot render the sausage over medium heat until browned.  Add the trinity (onions, celery & bell pepper) and sauté for roughly five minutes or just until soft.  Then add remaining meats and cook for another 5 minutes.  Pour in half of the beef broth, the diced tomatoes, the beans, smoked paprika, garlic powder, chipotle chili powder then simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir in half the tomato paste, the BBQ sauce, liquid smoke (if using), Worcestershire sauce and salt & pepper to taste.  Simmer for another 10 minutes.  Taste!  If the soup is too thick add some of the remaining beef broth.  If the soup is too thin add more tomato paste.  Serve with Texas toast.

Going Coastal Recipe: Mardi Gras Slaw

I have never been a fan of traditional mayonnaise-based Cole slaw.  I have never been able to figure out why either?  I like mayo, I like cabbage, I dig carrots but not all in the same little shredded goo.  I am not alone either, for every person I know that likes Cole slaw I know a dozen that share my dislike for it.

I have found that I am a fan of vinegar-based slaws like curtido from Central America and the slaws found at many Jewish delicatessens.  When I make a slaw I usually toss it with a dressing of some sort like an Asian ginger-sesame vinaigrette.  I developed a slaw at one restaurant we called Mardi Gras Slaw because it contained the three colors of carnival: purple, green and gold.  Purple was easy, purple cabbage instead of green.  Green came from finely diced jalapeño.  The gold was from golden raisins.  It’s perfect for a Mardi Gras themed party, a Fourth of July cook-out or just as a colorful addition to most any meal.  Here’s the recipe:

Mardi Gras Slaw
1 head purple cabbage, shredded
2 jalapeños, seeds and membrane removed then finely diced
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 teaspoon onion powder or 1 tablespoon finely diced green onion
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
2/3 cup Roasted Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

In a large bowl toss the cabbage with the celery salt, mixing thoroughly.  Add the jalapeño, raisins and onion powder (or green onion) then toss.  Incorporate the vinaigrette thoroughly and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Roasted Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup garlic infused oil*
1 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Creole or other whole grain mustard
1/4 cup sugar

In a small sauce pan, mix the balsamic and the sugar. Heat on low to reduce by half.   Once cool, pour the reduction into a blender and add mustard, salt and pepper then blend (don’t forget the lid).  Remove the blender’s small cap slowly pour in the oil in a thin steady stream.  Once all oil is in, put the cap back on and blend on high for one minute.

*Making garlic infused oil is easy.  Break down a head of garlic so that all of the cloves are separated and their paper (peel) removed.  Place a small sauce pan over medium heat and add a cup of canola oil.  When the oil is hot, drop the garlic into the oil and basically fry it until it is a deep caramel color, roughly 20 minutes.  Allow the oil to cool before using.  With a fork mash the fried garlic cloves and spread on toasted French bread because it is tastilicious.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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