Monday, February 10, 2014

Downton Abbey Inspired Dinner-

With a Southern Touch

By Doc Lawrence

ALBANY, GA-The culinary connections between England and the Deep South might not always be obvious, but they are here. A traditional English breakfast would be right at home in Montgomery, the capital of Alabama.. Or, the glorious dessert, Charlotte Ruse, brings priceless memoirs of legendary Sunday-down-South feasts. While the stiff formality depicted in the mega-se
Dinner at Downton Abbey (Courtesy of PBS Masterpiece)
ries “Downton Abby” is better left to official White House dinners, the cuisine and appropriate wines are another matter. There is a kinship not unfamiliar to Southern cooks. After all, the acknowledged founder of America’s wine industry was a gardener, gourmet and serious wine importer. Thomas Jefferson loved to entertain guests from the four corners with dinner at Monticello.

No better person to learn more about the food with British influences than the rising star of Southern cuisine, Chef Lara Lyn Carter, host of her cooking show on WALB-TV. Enjoy Lara Lyn’s tribute dinner that would no doubt please Lord and Lady Grantham- and perhaps prompt a smile from the butler.

Chef Lara Lyn Carter
Steak with Southern Chasseur Sauce
For the Steak
4 filet or rib-eye steaks 6 oz. each
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Melt the butter and brush over each side of the steaks. Season each side with salt and pepper. Grill steaks to desired temperature and allow the steaks to rest for 10 minutes. Serve with sauce poured over the steaks.
For the Sauce
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup Vidalia or Texas Sweet onion finely chopped
3 tbsp. minced garlic
16 oz. sliced baby portabella mushrooms
1 cup of fresh tomatoes diced
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup beef broth
4 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. fresh thyme
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook while stirring constantly for 5-7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the sauce to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Note - This sauce is my variation of a Chasseur Sauce. Chasseur Sauce is a French sauce that was very popular in the Edwardian period and was often referred to as “Hunter’s Sauce” as it could be used for beef, poultry or wild game.
Butternut and Sweet Potato Soup
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 clove minced garlic
Red and White Bordeaux Should be Served
2 large Vidalia or Texas Sweet onions chopped
3 medium size sweet potatoes cubed
1 medium butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed
32 oz. chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1 cup heavy cream
4 pieces of thick smoked bacon fried and crumbled
Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, sweet potatoes, and squash. Cook for 10 minutes. Pour the chicken broth over the vegetables and add curry, nutmeg and salt. Stir well and cook for 45 minutes. With an immersion blender, puree the soup until it is smooth. Pour in the cream and stir to blend. Pour the soup into individual bowls and top with bacon crumbles.

This show stopping dessert will complete your meal. My dear friend Caron O’Hanlon, who happens to be from England, agrees that my Rum Parfait recipe in my newly released cookbook, “Southern Thymes Shared”, would be the perfect equivalent to a traditional English Trifle.
Rum Parfaits
Two 3 oz. boxes of French Vanilla instant pudding
8 oz. carton of original Cool Whip
1/2 cup 151 proof rum
3 1/2 cups of whole milk
Pound cake
Raspberry preserves
In a large mixing bowl, combine the pudding and milk. Slowly add the rum and mix well. Gently fold in the Cool Whip until the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture in a large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the mixture for 6-8 hours or overnight.
Cut the pound cake into 1 inch cubes. Begin arranging the parfaits in the glass layering the ingredients as follows; 3 to 4 cubes of pound cake, 1 tablespoon preserves, ¼ cup of the rum cream mixture, and 4-5 berries. Continue the layers until the top of the glass is reached.
You can substitute the raspberries and preserves for blackberries if you prefer.

Wine Pairing

Bordeaux, naturally. Without English aristocracy and the highly developed British business skills, many regal French wines would likely have suffered an unkind fate. The soup becomes memorable with the Downton Abbey white Bordeaux. The steak demands a red and the Downton Abbey Claret blends with all the rich flavors.

Southern Thymes Shared (Pelican Publishing 2014), is an original hardbound cookbook by Chef Lara Lyn Carter and Doc Lawrence, loaded with proven recipes accompanied by charming anecdotes and some daring wine pairings. Bonus: It glows on a coffee table. Read more at
Available now at

1 comment:

  1. Dear Doc & Lara Lyn,
    Thank you for the delicious recipes and pairings; I look forward to attempting the Butternut & Sweet Potato soup!
    All my best,