Grace and I are both from the South so we love it when there’s an opportunity to feature a traditional Southern recipe. This week, Top Chef favorite Kevin Gillespie shares with us his recipe for Brunswick Stew. Some of you may ask “Stew?? In the summer?” but in Atlanta, Kevin’s home, its eaten as an accompaniment to barbecues, with white bread to soak it up. In other places, like in Virginia at the Bonney household, Brunswick Stew was served in winter. Personally, I think any season is the right time for good food, and as Matt Armendariz said (who photographed this recipe for us today), “It’s freakin’ delicious!!!!” –Kristina
About Kevin: Chef Kevin Gillespie’s true passion lies in serving his customers quality food every day. This enthusiasm means incorporating the use of fresh, organic and sustainable ingredients in all of his dishes. His goals as executive chef and partner of Woodfire Grill are to increase the usage of local products, make seasonal dishes more exciting, and create a youthful atmosphere at the restaurant. [Portrait of Kevin by Broderick Smylie, Photography by Matt Armendariz, Styling by Adam C. Pearson]
CLICK HERE for the full recipe and more about Kevin after the jump!
More about Kevin:
Gillespie, an Atlanta native, began his culinary education at the Art Institute of Atlanta. After graduating with honors, Gillespie went on to hold different positions at several well-known Atlanta restaurants including chef de partie at Atlanta Grill at The Ritz-Carlton, sous chef at TWO Urban Licks and chef de cuisine at Woodfire Grill. He enjoyed his time at each of these places but found a true connection at Woodfire, where he originally stayed for two years.
In the summer of 2008, Nicolas Quiñones and Bernard Moussa of Five Senses Restaurants, LLC purchased Woodfire Grill and made Gillespie the new executive chef. They felt that in order to carry on Woodfire Grill’s reputation and mission, he was the most qualified for the position. In early 2009, Gillespie joined Quiñones and Moussa as a partner in the restaurant. Through his training, skill and passion, Gillespie maintains the values and ideas on which the restaurant is based. In addition to achieving this partnership at the restaurant, Gillespie also earned a spot on Bravo’s Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series “Top Chef” for the show’s sixth season in Las Vegas in 2009. Proving to be a top contender by winning several “Quickfire Challenges” and “Elimination Challenges,” he stood out as one of this season’s final three chef-testants who competed for the “Top Chef” title in Napa Valley. Gillespie was also voted “fan favorite” by the viewers of “Top Chef.”
As a rising young culinary star that brings more than just good food to the table, Gillespie was named one of Mother Nature Network’s top “40 Chefs Under 40” in November 2009 for linking farms to forks and promoting better health for people and the planet. In February of 2010, he was honored as one of Gayot.com’s “Top Five Rising Chefs” and named as a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Rising Star Chef of the Year” award. A few months later, in June, Gillespie was invited to prepare a meal at the James Beard House in New York City and was also featured on “Cooking with Emeril” on SIRIUS Satellite Radio.
Gillespie currently resides in the Ormewood Park neighborhood of Atlanta. He is a member of Slow Food Atlanta, Southern Food Ways Alliance, Chefs Collaborative and the Society for the Preservation of traditional Southern Barbecue. In his spare time he enjoys camping, playing music and barbecuing.
(Recipe as written is for 30 servings; The numbers to serve 8 are in parenthesis)
1lb smoked chicken thighs (1/4 pound)
3lb fresh pork shank (3/4 pound)
1lb grassfed beef cheeks (1/4 pound)
2qt canned peeled tomatoes (2 cups)
1qt fresh shucked white corn (1 cup)
2qt pork stock (2 cups)
1c apple cider vinegar (1/4 cup)
1c homemade vinegar based barbecue sauce (1/4 cup)
1c Louisiana pure pepper hot sauce (1/4 cup)
2Tbl fresh ground black pepper (1.5 teaspoons)
Combine all meat into a very heavy bottomed dutch oven with stock. Bring to a boil and skim to remove any particles that reach the surface. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Continue to simmer covered until meat has completely fallen apart and is easily shredded. Remove from heat and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Skim any particles on surface. Strain meat from stock and reserve both separate. Hand chop all meat very fine and reserve. Strain stock through a triple layer of cheese cloth and combine back with meat. Chill this mixture overnight.
The next day put the mixture back into the same pot and reheat to a boil. Add tomatoes, crushing them in your hand while you add them to the pot. Add vinegar, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, and black pepper. Season with a small amount of sauce and let this mixture simmer for 40 minutes. Add corn and allow it to simmer for a further 20 minutes. Reseason with salt and any additional vinegar or hot sauce to taste.
Why Kevin Chose this recipe
I chose the recipe because it is a basic, but good example of the style of Brunswick stew that we ate growing up. This could be eaten with either cornbread, or white bread. I like it with saltines as well. It is hearty enough to have as a meal, but is a natural accompaniment to chopped pork and coleslaw.