Staff Meals from Chanterelleby David Waltuck, Melicia Phillips
It's the other menu at Chanterelle, New York's dazzling four-star restaurant. Customers eat foie gras and truffles. The staff eats Venison Chili with Red Beans. Customers swoon over the signature seafood sausage. The staff, elbows on the table, cheerfully tucks into Lamb Shanks with Tomato and Rosemary. Of all the great restaurants in New York, Chanterelle serves
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It's the other menu at Chanterelle, New York's dazzling four-star restaurant. Customers eat foie gras and truffles. The staff eats Venison Chili with Red Beans. Customers swoon over the signature seafood sausage. The staff, elbows on the table, cheerfully tucks into Lamb Shanks with Tomato and Rosemary. Of all the great restaurants in New York, Chanterelle serves the finest staff mealsnothing fancy, just delicious home-style peasant and bourgeois dishes. And here they are, in Staff Mealsfrom Chanterelle.
In 200 recipes, Chanterelle's chef, David Waltuck, brings the superb culinary insights and techniques befitting one of America's best chefs (Gourmet) to the delectable stews, pasta dishes, roasts, curries, one-pot meals, and blue plate specials that have made families happy forever. Outstanding yet easy-to-make, these are dishes for home cooking and entertaining alike, including Fish Fillets with Garlic and Ginger, Thai Duck Curry, Sauteed Pork Chops with Sauce Charcutiere, and the most requested dish of all, David's Famous Fried Chicken with Creamed Spinach and Herbed Biscuits. Tips throughout put cooks in the hands of a four-star teacher, from the best way to boil a potato (uncut and in its jacket) to shaping hot, oven-fresh tuiles into sophisticated dessert cups.
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Read an Excerpt
The name says it all. Neatness doesn't count here, but ketchup certainly does. In fact, sloppy Joes are pretty much a defining moment for ketchup-how many other recipes can you think of that call for 2 cups of it? At our staff meals we're not unaware of the culinary irony represented by sloppy Joes. After all, they're the polar opposite of the refined, sophisticated dishes for which
Chanterelle is so well known. With a whisper of chili powder, some garlic powder, a few hot red pepper flakes, and a dash of red wine vinegar to unite the flavors, this mildly seasoned version makes both children and adults happy. You'll probably cringe about the inclusion of garlic powder or granulated garlic, but it's a must in this recipe. Of course, for a more sophisticated flavor you might add several dashes of Tabasco sauce.
Makes 8 to 10 sandwiches, depending on how sloppy you are
1 tablespoon canola or other vegetable oil
1 small onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 cups ketchup, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
Coarse (kosher) salt, to taste
Red wine vinegar, to taste
8 to 10 hamburger buns, toasted
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the ground beef to the skillet, breaking it up well with a spoon, and cook until the meat has lost its raw color, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to break up any clumps.
3. Pour off and discard any juices and fat that have accumulated in the skillet. Add 2 cups ketchup, the chili powder, garlic powder, pepper flakes, and salt and stir well to mix. Cook, uncovered, until the meat is cooked through and the flavors are blended, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. The mixture should be loose, with enough sauce to bind the meat. If it gets too dry, add more ketchup or a bit of water and cover the skillet during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Stir in a splash of vinegar, then remove the skillet from the heat.
4. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then spoon onto hamburger buns and serve.
Macaroni and Two Cheeses
Every family should have a mac-and-cheese recipe. At Chanterelle the staff and I like ours ultra-cheesy, ultra-creamy, and as rich as possible. Some cooks make theirs in a deep casserole, but I prefer to fix macaroni and cheese in a wider, shallower baking dish so there's plenty of the delightfully crusty top layer to go around. Serve this with a simple tomato salad on the side, or arrange some sliced tomatoes on top during the last 20 minutes of the baking time (the staff calls this the fancy version). Serves 6
Coarse (kosher) salt
1 package (16 ounces) ridged elbow macaroni
3 cups heavy (or whipping) cream
2 1/2 cups grated sharp yellow Cheddar cheese (about 10 ounces)
1 small onion, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs (see box, page 279)
1. Preheat the oven to 400*F.
2. Bring a large stockpot of water and G cup of the salt to a boil over high heat.
3. When the water is boiling, add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally, until flexible but very al dente, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain, then let the macaroni stand in the colander under cold running water until chilled. Drain again, then transfer to a medium-size baking dish or shallow casserole and set aside.
4. Bring the cream to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the grated Cheddar, onion, garlic, mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco, pepper, and salt to taste. Stir over low heat just until the cheese is completely melted, then remove the pan from the heat and taste and adjust the seasoning; the flavor should be strong.
5. Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni in the baking dish and stir thoroughly to coat. Sprinkle first the grated Parmesan, then the bread crumbs, over the mixture and bake until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden brown and crusty, 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand a minute or two before serving.
Chicken with Black Mushrooms and Chinese Sausage
This nearly effortless one-pot meal was inspired by a steamed chicken dish I've often enjoyed in Cantonese restaurants, where it's usually made with either sausage or mushrooms, but never both. Expanding the combination of ingredients results in a dark-colored, rustically flavorful dish perfumed with the earthy undertones of the shiitakes and the slightly sweet Chinese sausage. It's long been a favorite with both the staff and my family. Our kids, Sara and Jake, are quite fond of it. In fact, for reasons I've been unable to pin down, so are most kids. Be sure to use a casserole with a very tight-fitting lid; if it seems a bit loose, tightly cover the top with foil before putting on the lid. This dish tastes best the day it's made. The steaming creates plenty of delicious sauce, so a big bowl of plain white rice is the only essential accompaniment. Serves 6
25 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds)
6 Chinese sausages (see box, page 161), cut diagonally into 1/8-inch slices
1/4 cup Chicken Stock (page 39) or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup oyster sauce, plus additional for serving
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and cut into
3/4-inch lengths, plus additional for serving
1 piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, peeled, cut in half crosswise, and very finely julienned
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
2 tablespoons good-quality soy sauce, such as Kikkoman
1. Place the shiitake mushrooms in a large bowl with very warm water to cover. Let soak for 30 minutes to soften. Lift the mushrooms from the water, leaving the grit behind. Leave the mushrooms whole, trimming away any stems. Set the caps aside. Strain the soaking liquid through a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Cover, refrigerate, and save for use at another time.
2. Preheat the oven to 400*F.
3. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water, removing any excess fat. Cut the chicken into 10 pieces (see box, page 159) and pat dry with paper towels.
4. Combine all the ingredients in a single layer, if possible, in a large, heavy casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Bake for 1 hour, then uncover and bake for 10 minutes more.
5. Remove the pan from the oven and skim off as much of the fat as possible. Sprinkle several tablespoons of oyster sauce and a small handful of scallion pieces over the top and serve.
What People are saying about this
Who would have thought that the best fed people in New York are the staff at Chanterelle? This book of terrific recipes shows how a great chef thinks when heís cooking for family.
I wish I was able to book a table to eat these beautiful dishes. Obviously, staff family meal is treated like a real family meal at David and Karenís more-than-perfect Chanterelle.
Give your family a treat! We all know what an extraordinary restaurant Chanterelle is, so I'm not at all surprised to see the extraordinary dishes David and Karen Waltuck serve up to their staff 'family' every day.
What a great idea for a cookbook. This is a fantastic insiderís guide to what chefs eat. Itís also packed with chefís tips.
I always think of Chanterelle as a very happy restaurant. This book expresses the Waltucksí good taste and generosity toward their staff while providing the home cook with a lot of mouthwatering recipes.
Comfort food epitomized. Staff Meals evokes fond memories of how great food can transform a family's simple gatherings into celebrations.
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