The Hippo


Apr 20, 2019








Maple bacon jam

From the kitchen of Joe Drift
1 large white onion
1 pound smoked bacon, thick slice
8 ounces pure maple syrup
4 ounces brown sugar
Black pepper to taste
Caramelize bacon and onion in pan until brown and crispy. Remove bacon and onion, strain out fat and put back in pan with brown sugar, maple syrup and pepper. Cook on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes until jam becomes thick. Remove from heat and let cool. Jam should be thick and jelly-like. Serve with seared sea scallops, grilled pork chops, crispy chicken cutlets.

Winter classics
Regional comfort foods to get you through the cold months

By Allie Ginwala

 In New Hampshire, the winter mindset lingers for about half the calendar year, so it’s no surprise that foods designed to warm up your insides are ones most associated with our neck of the woods — New England boiled dinner, Yankee pot roast and baked beans, to name a few.

The Hippo spoke with New Hampshire natives Joe Drift, executive chef at Sky Meadow Country Club in Nashua, and Joe Grella, executive chef at 1 Oak on Elm in Manchester, for ideas about how to mix up the traditional regional fare.
Defining a classic
Drift grew up eating baked haddock, baked beans, hot dogs and brown bread. His New Hampshire dish associations also include scallops, Yankee pot roast and boneless short ribs, with an emphasis on Dutch oven or “one pot” meals.
Grella said that when he thinks of “New Hampshire fare,” he considers specific ingredients rather than whole dishes. 
“With the way my brain has been trained writing menus, I think of a region … it’s more [about] ingredients and seasons than actual dishes,” he said. “When you learn a region, that’s the first thing you learn: the ingredients, how that ingredient got there, how it was preserved.”
Cranberries, apples, pork, maple syrup, lobster and steamers come to his mind as traditional regional fare. 
“There’s a huge hunting population in New Hampshire, so venison for me would be New Hampshire,” he added.
Try it out
If you find yourself making the same four or five dishes week after week, all winter long, you might want to consider trying a new way to use those ingredients.
One option is to add a new flavor to a standard dish, like Drift’s baked haddock, for which he makes a honey butter crumb or potato crust. If you don’t want to mess with the main, add new sides like maple syrup sweet roasted pumpkin or butternut squash.
Or, Drift suggested, instead of a traditional braised short rib, go for a boneless pulled lamb dish with a side of pureed parsnips, or scallops with lobster risotto and maple bacon jam, which Drift makes with all New Hampshire products.
If you still want that braised short rib, try altering the flavor expectation, like Drift does with his blackberry cherry braised short ribs.
“It’s not that decadent beef, savory herb flavor — it’s more of like a candied sweet flavor, and [you] offset it with a crumbled goat cheese that adds some sharpness to it,” he said. 
He also makes an apple cider-soaked pork tenderloin with cranberry cornbread stuffing.
“New England is tough getting people out of the [comfort] realm, but we do our best,” Drift said. 
The concept of one-pot cooking, whether it be in a slow cooker or Dutch oven, is something both Drift and Grella associate with the Northeast.
Grella’s family always had a casserole-type dish with Italian sausage, potatoes, peppers, onions and cloves of garlic.
“You’d throw it all in a big pan and roast them and that was it,” he said.
He noted that many New Hampshire families have their own staple casserole or one-pot, big-pan family-style meal, though it may be different from house to house. It’s a good way to introduce something new, trying different substitutions.
“You’re going to put a starch, a meat and vegetables in a pan, and that for you may be chicken, rice and broccoli. For me it’s Italian sausage, potatoes and peppers and onions,” Grella said. “So, for instance, [instead of] a beef stew, why not make a chicken stew? Take one thing, take the staple of that and then change it. Chicken pot pie — why not make beef pot pie?” 

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