This post is sponsored by Morton Salt. Thank you for supporting my work.
You probably remember when I went to Nashville to meet Travis, a full-time musician, husband, and father who until that week, had not had a lot of time to master the kitchen because of his busy schedule.
Like many of us, Travis not only loves food but also the time he spends with his family and friends bonding over food, either while eating it or cooking together.
I know exactly how difficult it is to want to learn to cook fresh food from scratch when you have a limited amount of time. After all, it wasn’t that long ago (ok, almost a decade) that I found myself in Travis’ shoes.
One of the ways I taught myself how to cook was by watching Ina Garten on Food Network. And, like most chefs, she always seasons her foods with enough salt to bring the flavors together.
From experience, I’ve also realized that omitting salt from a recipe that calls for it, can result in a bland dish or worse, not the desired results in baking since it provides flavor, helps breads rise and ferment -for example.
Luckily for Travis, and for my belly, Karl Worley from Biscuit restaurant in Nashville came to the rescue to teach him how to improve his cooking.
As a guest to Travis’ back yard and kitchen transformed into a pop-up restaurant dubbed as “Indie’s Kitchen” named after Travis’ daughter and I was lucky enough to be a guest that evening where we were served an amazing meal that blew all of us away.
We were greeted with Lemon Spring Tea, where kosher salt mellows out the bold, tart flavor from the natural lemon, giving the garnish a sweet flavor. Followed by an appetizer tray of homemade Pimento cheese, where Morton Sea Salt was perfect to bring precision and control to the cheese and pimento pepper flavors. I should add that the twice baked crackers with sprinkled coarse sea salt were out of this world.
Another of my favorite dishes was the Chicken Country Captain (recipe below) served over cheese grits. The chicken is seared in a cast iron pot (winner!) but the curry flavors that seasoned it came through with the perfection that only a chef could attain. Of course, we all know that Travis prepared this meal, and when we asked him what the secret to the delicious curry flavored sauce on the chicken was, he said Morton Kosher Salt. So, plain chicken without salt is not the same as chicken that’s been seasoned and then cooked to perfection.
We ended the evening with homemade Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake, where I have to add that the biscuits were amazing. The fresh strawberries were brined in sugar and a little bit of Kosher salt, bringing out their natural juices, that when topped over the perfectly flakey biscuits they were melt-in-your-mouth amazing.
Of course, I was thrilled to attend not just for the food, but to learn how by using Morton Kosher and Sea Salt in cooking, a staple in my kitchen, anyone can transform their everyday cooking into amazing fresh food! You can watch the sweet video of our event below and stay tuned to the website for some amazing summer cooking and grilling inspiration in the coming months. The Next Door Chef event will be headed to New Orleans next!
Chicken Country Captian
The texture of Kosher salt pierces the chicken, allowing the curry flavors to distribute as it cooks.
- Yield: 6-8 servings
- 2 lbs. Boneless skinless chicken thighs
- ¼ cup Vegetable oil
- 1 cup Yellow onion– diced
- 1 tsp. Morton Kosher Salt
- ½ cup Yellow pepper– diced
- ½ cup Green pepper– diced
- 1 cup Carrots– peeled and cut into rounds
- 4 Garlic cloves– chopped
- 28 oz. can Diced tomatoes
- 2 tsp. Curry powder
- Preheat oven to 325° F.
- Place a 6 quart enameled cast-iron pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add ½ the oil.
- When heated, sear the chicken in batches until brown, (about 3 minutes per side) and place on a plate.
- Place the remainder of oil in the stockpot and add onions and 1 teaspoon Morton Kosher Salt.
- Sweat onions for 5 minutes until translucent, stirring often.
- Add peppers, carrots, garlic, and curry powder and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.
- Add chicken thighs, stir, and place lid on the pan.
- Place in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove lid from pan, stir, and return to the oven without the lid.
- Cook for 20 minutes or the chicken thighs are cooked through and tender and the sauce is thick.
- Serve over cheese grits.
- Yield: 6 servings
- 1 cup Milk
- 1 cup Heavy cream
- ½ cup Grits, stone ground
- ¼ cup Cheddar cheese
- 2 oz. Butter
- Morton Kosher Salt– to taste
- Black pepper– to taste
- Add milk and cream to pan, bring to simmer.
- Whisk in grits, and return to a simmer, whisking often.
- Reduce heat to low, and cook for 45 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add cheese, and stir to melt.
- Adjust consistency with more warm milk.
- Season with Morton Kosher Salt and serve.