I first heard about Sean Brock five years ago when I first watched his season of Mind of a Chef. I admire his dedication to reviving heirloom ingredients and techniques, which is probably his defining characteristic as a chef and restaurateur. I still haven’t had a full meal at his flagship Husk in Charleston, only drinks and appetizers at the bar. I’ll get there soon!
I picked up Brock’s Heritage shortly after it came out and have only cooked a few things from it because I can’t reliably source most of the heirloom ingredients he uses in most of his recipes. The ones I can get ingredients for are wonderful, and I love flipping through this book to look at the gorgeous photos and read Brock’s commentary and farmer profiles between the sections.
When I discovered that I could get high quality local whole rabbits from Campbell Meats in Dobbs Ferry, I decided to make Brock’s Rabbit Stew with Black Pepper Dumplings when our dear friend Kat came to visit.
You should definitely plan to make this on weekend, not a Thursday night like I did. It isn’t particularly difficult, but it is time consuming for one person to make the stew: Boiling for an hour and a half, pulling and shredding the meat, making the roux, chopping and adding the veggies, then putting it all back together. Next time I’ll make the stew a day or two ahead of time and reheat it while we make the dumplings.
I put Kat to work helping make the dumplings. I’m a big fan of giving guests a job so they don’t feel like they have to just sit there and twiddle their thumbs. It also gives you more time to talk and catch up. You get help and they feel invested in the final outcome. Win/win.
This recipe alone warrants buying this book. It is fantastic. Perfect for a chilly evening and good friends. Everyone ate multiple helpings and Amanda and I both took it for lunch later in the week.
I’m glad I picked up this book again. While I can’t make most of the main dishes out of it, I certainly can make some of the sides, condiments, and pickles Husk uses to accent their main dishes. I also missed the drinks and bitters section the first time around, which I’m keen to dive in to. Did you know that the Queen Anne’s Lace flower is a wild carrot? By the time the flowers come out, the carrot is bitter enough to make a tincture with.
That is exactly why I’m doing this Cooking the Books challenge – Revisiting old things that I missed and getting more out of them. More to come soon.