From the get-go, the Butcher & Bee planted a flag in Charleston's sandwich scene that made it immediately clear: We eschew boring.
Chef: Greg Marks
Restaurant: Butcher & Bee
Resume: Cooking since age 18 at New Orleans Take-out and Eldorado Grill (Madison, Wis.); moved to Charleston in 2008 and worked at SNOB (5 years), and The Macintosh before becoming sous chef at Butcher & Bee.
Tidbits: Loves the South's “bold flavors” and moved here to learn Southern cooking. Misses the fried cheese curds back home.
So when we asked the chefs for their take on a turkey sandwich, we knew to expect the unexpected.
And sous chef Greg Marks delivered. His idea is a play on a “traditional French rillette ... with Thanksgiving flavor.”
Rillettes are potted meats, similar to a pate, that begin with meat slowly cooked in fat. The meat is then broken up or pulverized, depending on the desired texture.
Marks did that, but turns it into sort of a turkey salad, seasoned with sherry vinegar, fresh herbs and Dijon mustard, and puts it on brioche or baguette with ham, pickled cranberries and arugula.
While he promises that it's “extremely easy” to do, Marks does have one caveat: “The only hurdle would be sourcing the fat.”
Indeed, and pricey when you do: We did find a gallon of rendered duck fat on Amazon selling in the $50 range. Ted's Butcherblock in Charleston has it for $10 a pint. The good news? It's reusuable.
Another option: The rillettes will be on the menu around Thanksgiving. Check Facebook or call to be sure.
Serves 8 people
For the turkey:
Medium- to large-size dark meat turkey parts (legs, thighs, wings and neck)
4 quarts rendered duck or pork fat (see cook's note below)
4 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 fresh bay leaves
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine all in deep roasting pan or Dutch oven.
Cook in oven for about 4 hours, or until meat is very tender. Allow turkey to cool in the fat, strain, then pick meat, discarding skin and bones.
Cook's note: After cooling, the duck fat may be separated from the juices, and stored under refrigeration for future uses.
In electric mixer with paddle attachment combine meat with:
1 large shallot, sliced thin
1½ tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ cup sherry vinegar
½ tablespoon hot sauce
¾ cup reduced turkey stock
1½ tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
Begin mixing on low, then slowly increase to high speed. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, and the meat has a soft, emulsified texture.
Rillettes should be spreadable, and served at room temperature.
For the pickled cranberries:
2 cups dried cranberries
¾ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup red wine
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 star anise
½ cinnamon stick
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and allow to cool in pot to room temperature.
1 pound good quality ham, thin sliced
Salt and pepper
2 crusty french baguettes, cut into 4 sandwiches or 8 toasted brioche buns (for open-faced)
Spread bottom half of bread with grain mustard. Top with about 4 ounces of turkey rillettes and 2 ounces of ham.
Lightly dress arugula with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Toss with some of the cranberries, and place on top of ham.