My mama is from central Georgia, where I have spent many summers over the course of my life. But I’ve spent a lot less time in the big city of Atlanta until the four trips to ATL (four!) I’ve taken in last 16 months. Last year, after hosting a conference in the Midtown area, I stumbled bleary-eyed, overworked and under-rested into Empire State South. I’d never heard of the place but after eating there I was smitten and have been back to eat almost every trip since. It seemed everyone else was also in gluttonous lust as I soon noticed mentions of the place everywhere in the food writing universe— Bon Appetit, Southern Living, Eater.com, Garden & Gun, everywhere! — within months of my dining discovery.
For our next Sunday Supper I decided on a southern-ish meal inspired by successful Empire State South meals but with a twist: I used as many locally sourced Colorado ingredients as I could muster. Beyond the obvious reasons of supporting the local economy, the woman behind Colorado’s Eat Local First campaign was one of my dinner guests. It was easy to combine Southern flavors with Colorado-raised pork, Tender Belly bacon, locally farmed chard, and a dessert plate featuring Chocolove and delicious Jumping Good Goat cheeses, to enjoy the Sunday Supper menu below:
- Pork Roast with Chipotle Bacon Marmalade
- Vinegar-poached Swiss Chard
- Empire State South’s Boiled Peanut Hummus + gluten-free rosemary focaccia
- Cheese Plate: Goat’s milk cheddar + chocolate; snowcap (soft goat cheese) + pecan crackers
Chipotle Bacon Marmalade
*The marmalade recipe was modified by an artist friend, Deanna, from a recipe she found on the Homesick Texan and then sent to me to try with her modifications. I’m so glad she did!
–1/2 lb. bacon, preferably center cut or thick, meaty slices, cut into 1/4″ pieces
–4 cloves of garlic minced
–1/4 cup white or yellow onion, chopped
–2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
–1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
–1 tsp grated dark chocolate or dark chocolate cocoa powder
–1/2 tsp cinnamon
–1/4 cup brown sugar
–1 cup brewed coffee
–1/4 cup + 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
–1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
In a large saucepan, cook the bacon on medium heat until the fat begins to render, but not to full crispness. Remove the bacon and leave the fat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for two minutes. Return the bacon to the pot along with the remaining ingredients. Simmer on low for one hour, stirring occasionally. Deanna reported her jam dried out and she needed to add some water. I didn’t have that problem, but I do recommend watching the pot to make sure it doesn’t dry up. After the hour, pulse in a food processor for 2-3 times. Be careful when you process it as you want it to stay chunky.
–2 lb. pork loin or pork roast
–salt and pepper
Rest the pork for one hour at room temperature before cooking. Pat dry with paper towels and season the pork with generous sprinkles of salt and fresh cracked pepper, being careful not to over-salt.
The pork should be roasted while the marmalade cooks. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add enough oil to barely coat the bottom of the pan. Sear pork until browned on all sides. Roast in the cast iron skillet for 40-50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Slice the pork and serve with the marmalade spooned over the top.
Vinegar Poached Swiss Chard
–1 lb Swiss chard, cut away from the ribs and roughly chopped into medium-sized pieces
–1/4 cup red wine vinegar
–1/4 cup water
–1 TBSP sugar
Heat the water and vinegar over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chard with sugar and poach for 3-5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove from the pan to serve.
Empire State South’s Boiled Peanut Hummus
I used green (raw) peanuts I picked up during my last Georgia trip instead of canned. The raw part is key! Using dry-roasted peanuts won’t work at all. No no no no. You MUST use raw/green peanuts (which do come dehydrated in the produce section of the grocery store). Boiled peanuts are a staple snack in peanut country. Directions on how to make the peanuts, the base of the recipe, are below:
1. If you use dehydrated green peanuts, be sure to soak them in water overnight before the same as you would with any other dried bean.
2. Place the peanuts (1/2 pound) in a large pot and cover with 1/4 cup of salt.
3. Cover them with water (4-6 cups) and bring to a boil.
4. Simmer for 2-4 hours or until the peanuts inside the shell are soft. You may need to add more water if using dehydrated green peanuts as they will soak up more water than fresh raw peanuts.
Or, follow the ESS recipe and buy cans. I personally have no idea where to find canned boiled peanuts but I suppose the Internets are large and vast and good for that sort of thing.