Jenn Louis is the James Beard Award-nominated chef/owner of Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern in Portland, Oregon.
“As a chef, I don’t have a lot of time off, even around the holidays, so when I do I try to plan comfortable meals that I’ll be able to enjoy alongside my friends and family. One of my favorites is cassoulet. Sometimes I use confited rabbit or duck or braised pork or lamb, but I always like to braise my meat separately and usually include a sausage. I mix all that with beans and the braising liquid and stir them into a cassoulet that’s been heating in the oven and top it with a little duck fat and a light sprinkling of breadcrumbs. It takes some time, but it’s special. Add crusty bread and a big salad, and you’ve got a happy party. Or, because winter in the Pacific Northwest is prime season for seafood, another great way to celebrate is with a crab boil. Put out some butter, some truffle salt, and a salad; spread out newspapers and handout wet towels — and just let everyone talk and laugh and get messy together.”
Serve it with: I’m a bourbon drinker — with everything. One of my favorite cocktails is the Monte Carlo, which is a riff on the classic Manhattan that substitutes Benedictine for sweet vermouth. It has a warm, carmel flavor that stands up well to rich dishes.
Pro tip: One of my tricks is that if I am braising meat, I save the liquid and throw it in my freezer so I always have a really rich stock on hand for cooking. And when I roast a chicken, I throw the bones in a Ziploc in the freezer. Once I have a couple in there, I make stock — it’s a good habit to get into and a way to convince yourself to eat more roasted chicken!
Dungeness Crab Boil