If you’re like me, then you go into hibernation mode in the winter. I crave chilies, stews, roasts, and starches. Potatoes: sweet, Yukon, Idaho, whichever your choice just roast ‘em with chicken for a simple one-pan dinner or throw them in your succulent winter stew for some heartiness. Although superbly versatile, there’s more to your winter meal regimen than potatoes. I asked Matt Harris, Executive Chef of Tupelo, how he stocks his menu with all the vegetables of the rainbow during the winter season.
Dishing: What is your go-to winter vegetable and veggie dish?
Matt Harris: Whole roasted cauliflower, it’s very fresh with a little lemon and parsley.
D: How do you stay out of the starch rut in the colder months?
MH: I always think green (yes, the color) easy to get caught up in all the browns. Tons of things out there: kale, Romanesco, collards, brussel sprouts, green cauliflower…
D: Where do you find dish inspiration?
MH: The ingredients – all the dishes at Tupelo start with direct sourcing. Going to the farm, ranch, fishermen and see what they have. Then we come up with the dishes.
D: What is the most out-of-the-box combination of flavors you have used that ended up working really well together?
MH: Burnt rosemary and popcorn, they add a super flavor when finishing sauces!
D: Where did your elevated home-style cooking stem from?
MH: I like to take food that people know and are comfortable with, then I drop it on its head. Always thinking of classic dishes, food I grew up with. Then I take them apart, refine them and put them back together in a dish. But I always try to start with a classic.
D: Any tips for the chefs at home?
MH: The Instant Pot: it will change your life.
(I will attest that the Instant Pot truly does change lives)
In the winter months, it’s difficult to navigate what’s truly in season without a farmer’s market to guide you. Luckily, there are great resources to use, like local chefs. Check out restaurant menus, like Tupelo’s, to see which vegetables chefs are cooking with. Chefs that work with local sources or organic produce are wonderful gauges because they typically will buy from markets, farms, or suppliers that won’t manipulate produce to grow out of season. Or, just hop on the internet to find seasonal produce guides which break down months and seasons with what is actually in season. Break free from your starchy restraints and take advantage of delicious winter “greens” in brussel sprouts, beets, oranges, pears, kale, turnips, and so much more!
Tupelo is hosting a Duckhorn Wine Dinner on Thursday, March 22. Join them as they prepare an exclusive four-course dinner featuring the wines of Napa Valley’s Duckhorn Vineyards, including the 2014 Napa Valley Merlot Three Palms Vineyard (Wine Spectator’s #1 Wine of 2017!).
See first-hand how Matt prepares the goodness of greens like broccoli rabe, miners lettuce, snap peas and green strawberries all artfully paired with proteins and Duckhorn wines. For tickets and more information, click HERE.