The Dish: Chef Andy Little

The Dish: Chef Andy Little

Andy Little grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch country where he savored the produce of local farms. After first aiming for a career in classical music, he started supporting himself with restaurant work and grew inspired to become a chef. He headed off to the prestigious Culinary Institute of America and started his career. Five years ago, he became executive chef and partner at Josephine in Nashville where Pennsylvania Dutch and southern hospitality meld together for a unique and much-honored cuisine.    

Here are some of Little's signature recipes: 

Whole chicken with kale and potato

Ingredients

4 lbs. whole chicken
Chicken Brine (recipe follows)
1 gallon Peanut Oil (or enough oil to cover the chicken
Chicken Spice(recipe follows)
For the Chicken(starting 48 hours in advance)

For the chicken brine:
8 cups water
1/2C kosher salt
3 bay leaves
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1T whole black peppercorns
3t smoked paprika
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh parsley
2 lemons, sliced 

For the chicken spice: 
1C Salt
1/4C Sugar
1T Old Bay seasoning
2 bay leaves
1t mustard seed
1t paprika
3t black peppercorns 

For the kale salad: 
6C Kale, chiffonade and packed tight
1/2 lb. green onions
1T olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 egg yolks
1C red wine vinegar
1/4C honey
1 clove garlic
1C water
4 sprigs thyme
2C olive oil

Fingerling potatoes with worcestershire vinaigrette: 
8C whole fingerling potatoes
10 cloves garlic, smashed
1 bunch thyme
Salt and pepper
Peanut oil for frying
1 1/4c Worcestershire sauce
8 sprigs thyme
1 clove garlic
1T honey
2 egg yolks
3 ½ c olive oil
  

Directions

• Truss the chicken and place in brine(see recipe below) for 24 hours. After 24 hours, remove the chicken from the brine, rinse all brine off and place in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 24 hours to dry. Add the peanut oil to a large pot and heat to 350 degrees. Allow enough room for the chicken to raise the oil level and also for the bubbling and splashing that will occur while frying. Once the oil is heated to 350 degrees, place the whole chicken in the oil and fry for 30 minutes while maintaining 350 degrees. Alternatively, if you want to roast the chicken, roast in the oven at 425 degrees for 55 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oil, place on a resting rack and season with chicken spice(see recipe below). Serve with kale salad and fingerling potatoes.
• For the brine: Place the water, salt, honey, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, parsley and lemons in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Once at a simmer, remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
• To char the onions: Drizzle the onions with 1T olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the onions on a hot grill and char until the achieve nice color and are cooked through. Chill in refrigerator.
• Place the chilled charred onions in a blender with the egg yolks, red wine vinegar, honey, garlic, water and thyme. Blend the mixture until smooth and slowly drizzle in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
• To finish, bruise the kale by gently squeezing it in your hand then dress the kale with the charred onion vinaigrette until evenly coated and seasoned. 


• Place the potatoes, garlic and thyme in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook the potatoes until they are just cooked through. Remove the cooked potatoes from the water and place in the refrigerator to cool. Once cool, smash flat and reserve for frying. Once you are ready to complete the dish, heat the peanut oil to 350 degrees and fry the potatoes until crispy and golden brown. Season with salt and pepper then dress with the Worcestershire vinaigrette(method below)
• Combine the Worcestershire sauce, thyme, garlic, honey and egg yolks in a blender. On slow speed, start to blend the mix, when fully blended and smooth, slowly stream the olive oil into the blender to make a vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.

Mushroom pot pie 

Ingredients

1C crimini mushrooms(quartered)
1C shiitake mushrooms(stem cut and sliced)
3/4C oyster mushrooms(cleaned and cut into small pieces)
1/4C turnips(small dice)
1/4C carrots(small dice)
1/4C parsnips(small dice)
1/2C red Onion(small dice)
1/4C celery(small dice)
3/4C yukon Potatoes(small dice)
2 cloves garlic(minced)
¼# Butter
4 sprigs thyme
1 Bay leaf
1qt. Half and Half
1/4C olive oil 

For the pot pie tops:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups cold unsalted butter, cubed
About 1 cup cold water
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 yolk 

Directions

• Film a heavy bottomed sauce pan with olive oil over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms and quickly sear. Once they have achieved a golden brown color, season with salt and pepper and remove to a paper towel and drain the oil out of the pot. With the same pot you just used, add the butter and place over medium to high heat. When the butter is melted, add the onion, celery, garlic and cook over medium heat until translucent, but before the vegetables attain any color. Add the thyme, bay leaf, half and half and potatoes. Cook until the potatoes soften and the half and half is reduced to a pot pie consistency. 

For the pot pie tops:
• Cut butter into flour until it is about the size of peas
• Take the flour in sections, and roll with rolling pin to create flaky pieces of butter
• Slowly incorporate water, mixing and distributing with your finger tips
• Once the water is evenly distributed, bring the dough together by pressing with the palm of your hand.
• Form dough into a square packet, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill at least 1 hour up to 1 day
• Using flour as needed, roll dough out into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick. Then fold the dough onto itself in third, just like folding a letter. Roll out dough again to 1/4" thick. Chill dough 1 hour.
• Blend together 1 egg, 1 yolk, and a pinch of salt to make an egg wash.
• Brush the top of the dough with a thin layer of egg wash
• Cut and score dough to desired shape and size, freeze until ready to bake
Bake at 400 F for 20-30 minutes until dark golden across and flaky.  

Nashville hot scrapple

Ingredients

5 lbs. ground pork
10 oz chicken liver
3 large shallots, rough chopped
3 garlic cloves
3t thyme - picked
1t black pepper
3T salt
1T sugar
80 oz chicken stock
Cornmeal (450g)
Buckwheat (320g)
3t fennel seed
1t red pepper flake
Olive oil
Salt and pepper 

For pickle vinaigrette:  

1 jar bread and butter pickles
1/4C olive oil
Pinch xanthan gum 

For Nashville hot sauce:  

2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4C packed brown sugar
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 1/2C Water
1C Oil
¼ tsp xathan gum 

Directions

• Film a large heavy bottomed stock pot with oil and place over medium high heat. Add the chicken livers and brown then add garlic and shallot. Continue to cook the vegetables until they are translucent then add the ground pork, thyme, black pepper, salt, sugar and cook until the pork is fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, turn the heat off and allow to cool slightly. Process the mixture in a blender until smooth. Once the mixture is finished blending, return to the heavy bottomed stock pot and add fennel seed and red pepper flake. Next, slowly whisk in cornmeal over medium heat, bring to a boil, turn off heat and let mixture sit for 15 minutes. Turn the heat medium-low heat and very slowly add buckwheat flour. Cook for an additional 10 minutes then place in the scrapple mixture in prepared(sprayed with cooking spray) loaf pans and refrigerate over night.

• To serve, cut slices about ¾" thick and pan fry in olive oil until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper then coat with Nashville hot sauce and top with frisee lettuce coated with olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and chives. Place a spoonful of pickled vinaigrette on the plate and place the scrapple on top of the vinaigrette. 

Pickle vinaigrette:  
• Separate the pickles from their brine and add the pickles to a blender. Blend on medium to high speed until the pickles form a smooth puree. Add in some pickle brine if necessary. Stream in the olive oil and once combined, add the xanthan gum and blend until hydrated, about 3 minutes.

Nashville hot sauce:
• Combine all ingredients except in a blender and blend on medium speed. Once fully incorporated, slowly sprinkle in the xanthan gum. Process in the blender until fully emulsified, about 3 minutes.

Dandelion salad with pickled red beet eggs

Ingredients

4 bunches dandelion, cleaned of woody bottom stems and arranged into 6 bouquets
18 chives
2C panko bread crumbs
¼# unsalted butter
6 hard cooked eggs, peeled
3C pickled beet juice
6 slices bacon
2 whole shallots
1 clove garlic
3T Dijon mustard
1/2C dark brown sugar
2C chicken stock
1C balsamic vinegar
1/2 C orange juice
6 sprigs thyme
8 peppercorns
1 pinch xanthan gum
Assorted flowers and herbs(dill, pansies, red vein sorrel)
Salt and pepper 

Directions

• For the dandelion: Take each dandelion bouquet and wrap the bases with three pieces of chive. Reserve for plating
• For the butter crumb: In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter and add the panko. Warm the panko in the butter until it is golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.
• For the warm bacon vinaigrette: In a medium sauce pan, add the bacon and slowly render the fat. When the fat is rendered, add the shallot, garlic, thyme, mustard, chicken stock, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, peppercorns, and orange juice. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool, then transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Once smooth, add the xanthan gum and process for another 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve warm.
• For the pickled red beet eggs: Add the eggs to the pickled red beet vinegar and reserve. Allow at least 8 hours for the eggs to properly color.