Chef Pyles 3 Course Dinner was a Break from Thanksgiving Tradition
Chef Pyles is known as one of the founding fathers of Southwestern Cuisine and the creator of Modern Texas Cuisine. But tonight as I watched Chef creating magic in the Sustenio demonstration kitchen, I realized he is also a Master of Latin American Cuisine.
This evening 30+ lucky and hungry guests are being treated to a South American Thanksgiving. Breaking from a traditional American Thanksgiving, Chef Stephan Pyles is demonstrating his culinary talents once again by taking us on a journey through food. Through each course of the dinner chef describes his dishes by revisiting his travels through different countries and his discovery of new spices and foods. His eyes literally light up as he talks about tasting a new food for the first time. And as he is winding his way through his roads less traveled, all guests are smelling the flavors of the cooking foods as they wafted through the room.
Our delight tonight is seeing how chef has taken his discovered treasures and changed them into exquisite dishes. Watching him stir, blend, taste and design the plating of each dish was undoubtedly watching a culinary artist at work.
His starter this evening was Sweet Corn Humita with Shrimp, Scallops, Apple and Avocado along side Locro, an Argentine Potato-Hominy Soup. Every piece of this plating was bursting with color, different textures and flavors that touched on every aspect of the palate. Each course this evening was also paired with a different South American wine. The selection for this course was a Colonia Torranles, a white wine from Argentina.
Chef’s second course was an abundance of different creations, each one very different yet a delight in every bite. Here we had Roast Turkey “A La Brasa” with Arepa-Chorizo Stuffing, Pork Barbacoa with pomegranate barbeque, Quinoa Salad with apples, pears, raisins and pine nuts, Peruvian Purple Sweet Potato Mash with Coriander Marshmallow, Tomatillo Green Bean Cazuela with Almonds and a Wild Mushrooms Empanada. This part of the tasteful journey took us through several countries and thrilled us at every forkful. I would love Chef Pyles’ recipe for the Peruvian Sweet Potato Mash! Due to all the different flavors, there were two wines to pair with this course. There was the Bonarda Mendoza, a nice Argentina red wine that paired well with the tart fruits and spices and the Albarino, a white wine from Uruguay that complimented the turkey, sweet potatoes and green beans.
Now full but knowing dessert is on the way to the table, we listen intently to Chef Pyles description of the Lucuma Suspira. Lucuma is a subtropical fruit looking similar to a mango but found in the Andean valleys in Peru and Ecuador. The flesh of this fruit is used for adding flavor to juices, milk shakes and ice cream. Possessing flavors of both butterscotch and maple syrup, we were told we were in for a wonderful surprise. The dessert course of Lucuma Pudding and compressed Pumpkin-Pecan Tres Leches Cake topped with a homemade churro was out of this world. I am in love with Lucuma! Paired with Cruzat Clasico Brut, a sparkling wine from Argentina, all guests attending this dinner were pleasantly full and happy.
Included here is a recipe from Chef Pyles for your holiday baking.
BLACK BOTTOM PECAN PIE WITH WHISKEY BUTTER
Recipe by Chef Stephan Pyles
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate
5 teaspoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 9-inch unbaked piecrust (recipe follows)
9 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 teaspoons bourbon
5 large eggs
1 cup pecan halves
whiskey sauce (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler set over simmering water. Heat the cream and the granulated sugar in a saucepan and stir. Whisk in the melted chocolate and continue whisking until thoroughly blended.
Pour the chocolate mixture over the bottom of the chilled piecrust, and spread evenly. Place the piecrust in the freezer for 5 minutes to set the chocolate.
Melt the butter and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, place the brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and bourbon. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
Remove the pie shell from the freezer. Spread the pecan halves evenly over the bottom of the pie shell. Pour the filling over the pecans. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 300 degrees and continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes, until the center of the pie is set. Remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature for 1 hour, then place in refrigerator. Serve chilled with the whiskey sauce.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
3 to 4 tablespoons cold water
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the shortening and incorporate with your fingertips until the mixture resembles very coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle the water over the flour mixture in tablespoon increments while stirring with a fork. Form the dough into a ball and let rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough in a circle to 1/8 inch thickness. Place the dough in a pie pan; trim and crimp the edges. Fill the crust with the filling and bake according to the recipe.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon very hot water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup bourbon whiskey
Melt the butter in a double boiler set over gently simmering water.
In a small bowl, beat the granulated sugar and the egg until blended. Stir the mixture into the butter. Add the tablespoon of hot water and stir until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Remove from the double boiler and let cool to room temperature. Stir the cream and whiskey into the sauce.
**Full Disclosure: I received dinner in exchange for my review. All opinions are mine.
Location: 18603 La Cantera Terrace, San Antonio, Texas 78256
Phone: (855) 257-3040