Restaurant Week January 2011: Cloudy with a chance of Cassoulet: Area chefs share classic recipes to indulge the soul

Impending snow storms, howling winds, dwindling daylight– oh my! Don't let winter's bitter bite deprive you of your appetite! With all the chill just gearing up and the threat of Snowpocalypse, we're craving delicious soups and cozy stews as we snuggle up in front of the fireplace with our favorite people. Some of Charlottesville top chefs offer their favorite comfort foods to help guide us through the shiver-inducing days ahead– so bundle up and find the perfect recipe to indulge your soul with this winter.

Brookville head chef Harrison Keevil


Harrison Keevil

Roasted Chicken with Wades Mill Grits

(serves four)

3-4 lb whole organic chicken

1 lemon, sliced in half

1 head garlic, sliced in half

2 thyme sprigs

2 rosemary sprigs

salt and pepper to taste

2 ft of butchers string

1 cup Wades Mill Grits (can be found at Feast or Foods of All Nations)

2 cups whole milk

2 cups low sodium chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbs unsalted butter

optional: 1 cup cheddar

For the chicken:

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

2) Take the chicken and season the cavity with salt and pepper– it is very important that you do this.

3) Stuff lemon, garlic, thyme, and rosemary into the cavity.

4) Tie the legs together with the butcher's string and fold the wings under the chicken.

5) Season the outside of the bird with salt and pepper.

6) Place the bird on a baking sheet or oven-safe sauté pan and put in the oven.

7) After one hour, check to see if the bird is finished by placing a meat thermometer into the thick part of the thigh. If the temperature reads 160 degrees F the bird is done. If not, put the bird back in the oven and check every 10 minutes thereafter until finished.

8) Once the bird is finished, it is VERY important to let it rest in a warm place for 20 minutes before you cut into it.

9) Once rested, carve up and serve!

For the grits:

1) Place milk, stock, salt and pepper into a pot and place over medium-high heat.

2) When mixture comes to a simmer, whisk in grits.

3) Reduce heat to low and whisk constantly until grits become tender (depending on size of grits, this could take between 10 and 12 minutes.)

4) Remove from heat and whisk in butter (and cheese if used).

5) Taste for seasoning and add more if needed.

Brookville's favorite winter ingredient is... anything that takes a while to cook, like short ribs, pork cheeks, pork belly and shanks. When you take time to cook something, it allows you to develop deep natural flavors without adding a lot of salt and other seasonings.

The celebrity chef I'd love to cook with: if time travel were possible, I would love to just be in the same room as Escoffier because he literally wrote the book on French cooking. However, barring any scientific discoveries, I would love to cook with Martin Picard of Au Pied de Couchon in Montreal and Fergus Henderson of St. John's in London. Their love of everything pork is unrivaled.

The most overrated ingredient? I personally don't think there is such a thing as an overrated ingredient. If any ingredient is respected, loved, and cooked using techniques that enhance its natural qualities, then it is going to taste great.

My favorite utensil is...  my cake tester, because I can use it to tell if my meat is cooked correctly, my fish is cooked through, and my desserts are finished.

Blue Light Grill head chef Lee Gregory

Blue Light Grill

Lee Gregory

Duck Fat Donuts

1 Tbs yeast

1 1/2 cups cream

2 1/2 ounces duck fat

1/3 cup warm water

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

23 ounces of flour

Melt together cream and fat. Bloom yeast in water. Mix together liquids, eggs, and sugar. Add in flour and salt, then mix with dough hook. Let rise in oiled bowl and then fry until golden brown.

Blue Light's favorite winter ingredient is... brussel sprouts.

The celebrity chef I'd love to cook with: David Chang.

The most overrated ingredient? Truffle oil.

My cookbook would feature American regional/Southern cuisine.

My favorite utensil is... a wooden spoon– it doesn't leave any artificial flavors behind.

L'etoile's Brian Wilkinson


Brian Wilkinson

Chicken and Dumplings

For the chicken:

1 (2.5-3 lb) chicken, cut into eight pieces

4 ribs celery, diced

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 bay leaves

For the dumplings:

2 cups flour

1 stick unsalted butter, cubed

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp white pepper

In a large pot, sweat the celery, onion, and garlic together. Add the chicken pieces to the pot. Cover with four liters of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer the chicken until it is tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the chicken and let cool. Remove the skin and separate the meat from the bones. Add chicken back to the broth, and simmer on low heat.

Place flour, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into the flour, using your fingers. Mix until butter is incorporated into the flour. Add the milk into the flour mixer and mix together until it forms a dough. Knead dough for 3-4 minutes, adding flour as needed. Roll dough out to about one cm thick. Cut into one inch squares. Dust with flour to prevent dumplings from sticking together.

To finish, bring chicken and broth back to a boil. Add the dumplings. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 10-13 minutes, or until the dumplings are done. Season with salt and pepper.

Four servings.

L'etoile's favorite winter ingredient is... pork belly.

The celebrity chef I'd love to cook with: Sean Brock, McCrady's, Charleston, SC

My cookbook would feature Southern cuisine.

My favorite utensil is... a sharp knife.

Horse and Hound head chef Luther Fedora and son Quinn.

Horse and Hound Gastropub

Luther Fedora

Duck Cassoulet

Yield: 6 portions

5 oz pork hock

5 oz peppered bacon

10 oz smoked sausages

20 oz dried white beans, soaked overnight in one gallon of water

1 celery stick

1 large onion

1 large carrot

6 garlic cloves

4 bay leaves

1 oz duck fat

1 bouquet garni

1/2 tbs sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 clove fine chop

2 tbs tomato paste

4 duck confit legs

2 oz duck fat

2 oz dried breadcrumbs

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

10 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

1. Cover the pork hocks in four cups water and bring to a simmer. Cover. Cook on low heat until the meat falls off the bone. Remove bones.

2. Chop the bacon into small cubes. Cut the sausage into 1/4 in. thick slices.

Drain the soaked beans and discard the soaking water. Place beans in a large sauce pan, cover in cold water and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and discard water.

4. Roughly chop the celery, onion, and carrot. Add garlic.

5. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

6. Heat the duck fat in a Dutch oven over a low heat and sweat the celery, onion, carrot, and garlic for five minutes. Cook for another five minutes, until a light browning occurs. Add the sausage, beans, cooked hock, stock and bacon. Add six cups of water. Add the cooked pork and stock to the beans.

7. Bring to a boil, skim off fat, and then add the salt, pepper, clove, and tomato paste.

8. Transfer the cassoulet to the oven and cook, uncovered, for two hours, stirring every hour.

9. Remove the cassoulet from the oven. Place duck legs in the bottom of the Dutch oven and cover with beans. Cover with breadcrumbs and garlic.

10. Return to the oven and cook for a further two hours.

11. Serve with chopped parsley.

Horse and Hound's favorite winter ingredient is... lamb.

The celebrity chef I'd love to cooks with: Gordon Ramsey.

The most overrated ingredient? Ranch dressing.

My favorite utensil is... my smoker. It adds great complexity and depth to whatever you put in it.

Aberdeen Barn's Robert Johnson

Aberdeen Barn

Robert Johnson

Rib-eye Steak with a Whiskey & Onion Blue Cheese Sauce

1 18 oz rib-eye steak

1 large yellow onion, sliced thick

6 Tbs butter

2 oz bourbon

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles



In a heavy skillet melt the butter over high heat.

Add the sliced onion and cook until they are dark brown. Stir only occasionally.

Salt and pepper– the more pepper the better– the rib-eyes.

Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot. Add plenty of butter and the steaks.

Char both sides and finish in a 400 degree oven to medium rare.

Once the onions are a deep brown add the whiskey.

Add the cream and reduce by a third.

Stir in the blue cheese until melted.

The cream will take on the color of the caramelized onions.

Pour a generous amount of sauce in the center of the plate and place the rib-eye steak right on top, pressing down gently to spread the sauce.

Indulge and enjoy.

Aberdeen Barn's favorite winter ingredient is... fresh nutmeg.

The celebrity chef I'd love to cook with: Anthony Bourdain.

My cookbook would feature old-school coastal seafood.

The most overrated ingredient? Lemon pepper.

My favorite utensil is... tongs. They're an extension of your hand that doesn't get burned. –questions answered by Aberdeen Barn assistant chef Matt Nottingham

Orzo head chef Charles Roumeliotes


Charles Roumeliotes

"My family loves braised lamb shanks during the cold months. I serve those over mashed potatoes and some sauteed dinosaur kale. Leftovers can be used as a pasta sauce or you can add cannelini beans to create a terrific stew."

Lamb Shanks

6 domestic lamb shanks

2 sweet onions, medium dice

1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes

1 quart chicken stock

1 bottle good Italian wine (Primitivo or Aglianico)

1/2 bulb of garlic, chopped

1 tbs dried oregano

1 tbs dried basil

1 tbs pepper

1 tbs sea salt, or to taste

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

2 tbs canola oil

Serves four with leftovers.

Set oven to 350 degrees.

Brown lamb shanks all over in an oven-proof pan with the canola oil and half of the salt and pepper. Remove shanks to a plate after browning and remove the canola oil from pan. Add olive oil and heat over medium fire and add onions and the remaining salt and pepper. Cook until soft and then add the chopped garlic. Cook for five minutes and add the tomatoes and red wine. Bring to a simmer and reduce by 1/3. Add the lamb shank and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 2 1/2 hours or until tender. Add the herbs. Serve shanks with mashers and some of the sauce. Garnish with Parmigiano and a vegetable of choice on the side.

The celebrity chef I'd love to cook with: Michael Psilakis. He is a fellow Greek with an ethnic background like myself and is part owner of three restaurants in New York City, Anthos, Kefi, and Mia Dona. He has a great passion for combining old world flavors with modern cooking techniques.

My cookbook would combine the flavors of Italy and Greece.

The most (overused) ingredient? Truffle oil. Moderation is the key to any successful dish.

My favorite utensil is... my fish spatula. Not only is it great for turning fish over but great for scallops, meat medallions, sauteed chicken breasts and the occasional grilled cheese sandwich between shifts.

Maya head chef Christian Kelly


Christian Kelly

Sweet Potato and Bacon Soup with Brioche Grilled Cheese

2 yellow onions, diced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 ribs celery, diced

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

6-8 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

6 slices bacon, chopped

2 cups dry white wine

4-6 cups chicken stock

pinch cinnamon

3 sprigs thyme

2 cups heavy cream

salt and pepper

Grilled cheese:

thick slices of brioche


vermont white cheddar

fresh goat cheese

Begin by chopping the bacon into small pieces and putting them into a large sauce pan or stock pot over medium heat. While the bacon cooks, do all of your peeling and knife work for the veggies. Keep an eye on the bacon, stirring occasionally. When it begins to foam or looks crispy, pull off heat unless veggies are ready– in which case, just dump all veggies, cinnamon, and thyme into pot.

Stir until all is coated in bacon love! Pour white wine into pot and bring to a boil. Let the wine reduce a little, then pour in the chicken stock. If the chicken stock does not cover all the veggies just add enough water to make sure the vegetables are completely submerged.

Turn the heat up to high and cover pot. Once the pot is boiling, bring down to a simmer and let it cook until the sweets are tender and falling apart.

While this is happening, butter both sides of two thick slices of brioche and pile as much of both cheeses as desired (pile does imply something here). An amazing addition to this would be some cured ham thinly sliced, like Surryano.

Now back to the soup. Once the sweets are tender, remove from heat and set up your blender. While blending the soup, leave enough room to drizzle a little heavy cream into each batch that you blend. When it is all blended taste the finished product and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Working quickly now, get your trusty cast-iron pan nice and hot and brown both sides of your sandwich and make sure there is some good melting going on. Cut it if you want to be civilized and enjoy!

Maya's favorite winter ingredient is... a tie between a winter squash and any animal part fit for braising.

The celebrity chef I'd love to cook with: Thomas Keller.

My cookbook would feature American comfort cuisine.

The most overrated ingredient? Liquid nitrogen

My favorite utensil is... palate knife.


The Melting Pot

Derek Bond

Cheddar Cheese Fondue

4 oz domestic beer for base

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 tsp mustard powder

5 oz floured cheddar cheese

1 tsp worcestershire sauce

1 tsp ground pepper

Grab a couple of fondue forks or just use your hands and dip some rosemary, french, and honey wheat bread into the pot.

The Melting Pot's favorite winter ingredient is... swiss cheese– it gives the feel of snow.

The celebrity chef I'd love to cook with: Gordon Ramsey.

The most overrated ingredient? Onions.

My favorite utensil is... fondue forks– they help to create enjoyable conversation during dinner.

The Bavarian Chef's Jerome and Christine Thalwitz

The Bavarian Chef

Jerome Thalwitz

"This recipe was passed on to Jerome by a German bobsled athlete who owned a restaurant called the Bobschuppen, or "Bobsled Shed," located at the foot of the Koenigssee bobsled luge and skeleton track. Jerome has fond memories of sitting around the table with friends, enjoying a hearty bowl of Ungarische Gulaschsuppe, fresh-baked rye bread and a rug of Paulaner.

Hearty Ungarische Gulaschsuppe

Zest of one lemon

1 tbs caraway seeds

2 bay leaves

1 tsp salt

1 tsp granulated garlic

3 tbs olive oil

1 pound beef shoulder, fat trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 pound ground veal

3 tbs Hungarian sweet paprika

1 onion, chopped

1 celery stick, chopped

1 green bell pepper, 1/2-inch medium dice

1 red bell pepper, 1/2-inch medium dice

1 parsnip, peeled and chopped

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

10 cups beef broth

1 12-ounce russet potato, peeled, 1/2-inch medium dice

2 tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

black pepper to taste

cayenne pepper to taste

salt to taste

Make Hungarian Goulash seasoning by combining and finely chopping lemon zest, caraway seeds, bay leaves, salt and granulated garlic. Set aside.

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add beef, veal, paprika, and Hungarian Goulash seasoning. Saute until meat is brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Then add onion, celery, bell peppers, parsnip, and carrot. Saute until onion begins to soften, about 8 minutes. Add broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until meat is tender, about 40 minutes.

Stir in potato and tomatoes. Simmer until vegetables and meat are very tender. Cool slightly. 

Stir in parsley. Season to taste with black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. Serve with German rye bread (Schwartz Brot).

Can be made 2 days ahead. If storing immediately after preparation, allow soup to cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and store in refrigerator. Bring to simmer before serving.

The Bavarian Chef's favorite winter ingredient is... slow braising meats, such as short ribs or kalbshaxen, with root vegetables.

The celebrity chef I'd love to cook with: Emeril Lagasse. He and I have similar styles in that we both like to push the envelope on seasonings and food combinations.

My cookbook would feature German cuisine with continental overtones.

The most overrated ingredient? There really aren't any overrated ingredients in my book, just trends that overexpose certain foods.

My favorite utensil is... my 10" chef's knife. It is an extension of my arm in the kitchen.


Brasserie Montiel

Alex Montiel

Venison Stew

2 pounds venison, cubed

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

2 stalks celery, roughly chopped

1 carrot

2 cups of sliced mixed wild mushrooms

375 ml dry red wine (1/2 bottle)

2 fresh sprigs of thyme

2 cups diced tomato

2 cups black eyed peas (or black beans)


1 cup vegetable oil

5 cloves garlic

1 tsp salt

1/3 tsp black pepper

2 whole dried cascabel peppers

1 whole dried guajillo pepper

1 whole dried ancho pepper

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 toasted almonds

Blend in blender until a paste forms. Adjust consistency with amounts of oil.


Cube meat and set aside. Make paste by blending all ingredients above. Using gloves, place venison in mixing bowl and rub each cube with the paste. Move seasoned cubes to hot oil and sear. Reserve remaining paste for later. Add onions, celery, carrot, and mushrooms and saute for two minutes. Add red wine, sprigs of thyme and fresh tarragon. Simmer until red wine is reduced by half. Add one quart of beef or chicken stock (whichever you have on hand) and remaining paste. Add freshly diced tomato and black eyed peas. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until venison is tender.

Salt to taste. Garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream, ripe avocado fans, diced white onion, and cilantro.

Brasserie Montiel's favorite winter ingredient is... game poultry and meats such as a pheasant, squab, wild boar, and venison. I am from Mexico City and traditional Mexican cuisine is rich with many stews.

The celebrity chef I'd love to cook with: At this point in my career, I love to cook with anyone who is enthusiastic, talented, and fun-loving regardless of their celebrity. I have had the great fortune to work alongside Mario Batalia, Eric Ripert, Charlie Palmer, Emeril Lagasse, and may more.

My cookbook would document and preserve long-standing culinary traditions. I would love to write an anthology of authentic regional cooking from all over the globe.

The most overrated ingredient? Although I love chipotles, they seem to be everywhere right now.

My favorite utensil is... my industrial truffle cutter.

Fossett's head chef Dean Maupin


Dean Maupin

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi with Sage Butter

1 lb fresh ricotta cheese

1 1/2 cups blanched fresh spinach, squeezed of juice

2 eggs

2 oz. a.p. flour

1 cup packed finely grated parmigiano reggiano

2 cups fresh soft breadcrumbs

pinch of salt and pepper


In a large bowl, add the ricotta, parmesan, flour, and bread crumbs.

In a blender, add the blanched spinach and eggs and process until very smooth.

Add the spinach-egg mixture to the cheese mixture and fold until well combined.

Scoop into balls a little smaller than the size of a golf ball and place onto a flour-dusted tray.

Allow to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Make the sauce while these chill.

Place into gently simmering water and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Toss in the warm sage butter and finish with lots of fine grated parmigiano reggiano.

For the Sage Butter Sauce

1 cup white wine

1 shallot, minced

6 medium leaves of sage

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 lb quality butter, diced and chilled

fresh lemon


In a non-reactive sauce pan, add the wine, shallot, and sage. Reduce over medium high heat by 70%. Add heavy cream and reduce again by 50%.

Lower the heat and whisk in chilled butter to create an emulsion.

Season with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon and then strain through a fine mesh strainer.

Chop the fresh sage finely, add to the butter sauce. Reserve warm.

Fossett's favorite winter ingredient is... Virginia maple syrup.

The celebrity chef I'd love to cook with: Victor Arguinzoniz.

The most overrated ingredient(s)? Sodium alginate, tapioca maltodextrin, lecithin, meat glue, calcium lactate, etc...

My favorite utensil is... chitarra cutter.

The Old Mill Room's executive chef, Bill Justus.

The Old Mill Room, Boar's Head Inn

Bill Justus

Mudslide Cookies

Flourless cooking spray for greasing

3/4 cup plus 2 tbs cake flour

1 tbs baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1 tbs instant coffee powder

1 tbs boiling water

1 tsp vanilla extract

7 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

8 tbs unsalted butter

7 large eggs

2 3/4 cup sugar

2 cups chopped walnuts

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or line them with parchment paper. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside. Combine the instant coffee and boiling water to make a paste. Blend in the vanilla extract.

Melt the chopped unsweetened chocolate, chopped semi-sweet chocolate, and the butter in a saucepan over medium low heat or in the microwave in 15 to 20 second intervals. Gently stir to blend. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the eggs, sugar, and coffee paste mixture on high speed until light in texture and thick, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the chocolate mixture with the machine running on medium speed. On low speed mix in the dry ingredients until just blended. Mix in the walnuts and chocolate chips until blended. Scrape down the bowl as needed during mixing to blend evenly.

Using a 1/4 cup measure as a scoop, fill it with dough, level it, and drop the dough onto a prepared cookie sheet, leaving 3 to 4 inches between the cookies. In batches, bake until the cookies are cracked on top but still slightly moist, rotating the pans as necessary to bake evenly, 14 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the cookie sheet before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely. 

Makes 24 cookies.

The Old Mill Room's favorite winter ingredient is... root vegetables, braised items, and comfort items like short ribs and whole chickens.

The celebrity chef I'd love to cook with: Jacques Pepin– one of the first cookbooks I purchased was Jacques Pepin la technique. I will still refer to it to this day.

My cookbook would feature modern classical cuisine.

My favorite utensils are... sharp knives and a sous vide machine.

Camino's Matthew Turner.


Matthew Turner

Olive Oil Poached Shrimp

Serves 2

1 cup (approx) fine extra virgin olive oil

12 large fresh shrimp peeled, deveined, with the tail on (ask for Carolina or domestic shrimp)

4 cloves garlic (1 large tbs chopped)

4-5 arbol chiles

salt and pepper

2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary (dried rosemary will not work)

2 tbs chopped flat Italian parsley

1/2 French baguette (sliced at a 45 degree angle, at least one inch thick)


Preheat oven as hot as it will go, or 500 degrees.

1. Place the shrimp in a saute pan big enough to hold them all in one layer, neatly curled into the shape you want them once they are cooked.

2. Pour in enough olive oil to go halfway up the depth of the shrimp. You can be liberal, but do not submerge them completely– about 3/4 cup for an 8 inch pan.

3. Add the garlic, chiles, pinch of salt and pepper. Stir and place on cold burner.

4. Turn the burner to medium and let it warm gently. Remember, you are not sauteing the shrimp, and do not want it to sizzle.

5. Turn up the heat to medium high. Take the pan on and off the burner to keep it form getting too hot– the perfect temperature is just at the point that the garlic BEGINS to sizzle. Make sure not to brown the garlic.

6. When the shrimp looks less translucent and begin to firm up (about 1.5 minutes), carefully turn them over and add the rosemary. Finish cooking as before, smashing the rosemary to the side of the pan to release its essential oils. They are firm when cooked and will not have a translucent center.

7. Stir in the chopped parsley. Immediately remove from heat but leave everything in the pan. The flavors will continue to meld while you make your toast.

8. Rub the French bread slices with oil, salt and pepper and place in the oven directly on the oven rack for a few minutes to get golden brown. You might want to put a drip pan on the shelf just below to catch oil droplets.

9. Place all of the contents of the pan into two dishes small enough to hold the oil at depth, cover with toast, and... bon appetite!

Camino's favorite winter ingredient is... hearty legumes like French green lentils and all types of bone marrow are definitely important for sauces, stews, etc.

The celebrity chef I'd love to cook with: Ferran Adria in Spain, a true innovator, a chef's chef.

My cookbook would feature "New Virginia Cuisine."

My favorite utensil is... my heavy Global Chef's knife, because it's been sharp for five years!

Ten's head chef Pie Chang


Udon Soup

2 cups Dashi (fish stock)

2 tbs soy sauce

2 tbs rice wine

1/2 cup udon noodles

a pinch shredded nori

Cook the noodles separately. Combine remaining ingredients in pot over heat and add cooked noodles.

Ten's favorite winter ingredient: Beef short rib.

The celebrity chef I'd love to cook with: David Chang.

My cookbook would feature Japanese American street food.

The most overrated ingredient? Butternut squash.

My favorite utensil: A fish spatula– light and elegant.