Friday, July 8, 2016

Southern Goodness

Ever think a vegetarian chef would master the meat-laden meals of the South? At the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel Nashville, Executive Chef Kevin Randolph has been serving up mouth watering southern fare for over a decade, and one would never guess from biting into his Baby Back Ribs that he doesn’t taste them himself!

Having been a chef for 30 years, and a vegetarian for 8, Randolph certainly knows his way around both sides of the kitchen. Below you can find his recipes for Southern Style Baby Back Ribs, as well as for the Ultimate Veggie Burger, courtesy of the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel Nashville.

Southern Style Baby Back Ribs


2 1-2 lb. Rib Slabs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 tsp. garlic
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp BBQ spice
1 tbsp. mesquite seasoning
1/2 tsp. Cheyenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil


Combine all ingredients except for ribs in a large mixing bowl. This will serve as the BBQ Rub.
Grill Baby Back Ribs for about 3 minutes on each side. (Best to grill with open flame using hickory charcoal but a gas grill will do as well.)
Place your ribs on a sheet pan and rub them down on both sides with BBQ rub recipe. 
Wrap the whole pan with aluminum wrap and bake in the oven @ 225 degrees for 2.5 hours.
Enjoy with or without sauce.

Ultimate Veggie Burger

Makes twelve 4-inch burgers

¾ cup dried brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
2 ½ tsp salt
¾ cup bulgur wheat
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)
1 large celery rib, chopped fine (about ½ cup)
1 small leek, white and light green parts only, chopped fine (about ½ cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 2 tsp)
1 lb cremini or white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced about ¼ inch thick (about 6 ½ cups)
1 cup raw unsalted cashews
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 cups Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Ground black pepper
12 buns for serving


Bring 3 cups water, lentils and 1 teaspoon of salt to boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are just beginning to fall apart (about 25 mins). Drain in fine mesh strainer. Line baking sheet with triple layer paper towels and spread drained lentils over. Gently Pat lentils dry with additional paper towels. Cool lentils to room temperature.

While preparing the lentils, bring 2 cups water and ½ teaspoon of salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir bulgur wheat into boiling water and cover immediately, let stand off heat until water is absorbed (15-20 mins). Drain in fine mesh strainer, use rubber spatula to press out excess moisture. Transfer bulgur to medium bowl and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat until simmering. Add onions, celery, leek and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown (about 12 mins). Spread mushrooms on baking sheet with vegetable mixture; cool to room temperature (about 20 mins).

Process cashews in food processor until finely chopped (about 15 one-second pulses). Stir into bowl with  wheat along with cooled lentils, vegetable-mushroom mixture and mayonnaise. Transfer half of mixture to now empty food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped (about 15-20 one-second pulses). Mixture should be cohesive but roughly textured. Transfer processed mixture to large bowl; repeat with remaining unprocessed mixture and combine with first batch. Stir in Panko, 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Line baking sheet with paper towels. Divide mixture into 12 portions, about ½ each, shaping each into a tightly packed patty, about 4 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick. Set patties on baking sheet (paper towels will absorb excess moisture). Patties can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days.

Grill burgers over a medium-hot charcoal fire, or preheat a gas grill on high. Grill until well browned (about 5 mins), flip and grill on opposite side until well browned.

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