Although Emeril Lagasse is most often linked with New Orleans, the chef actually grew up far from there, in Fall River, Mass., which has a large Portuguese community.
Lagasse's mother, Hilda, is from a Portuguese family, and she has said that even when he was a little boy, Emeril would help her cook. When Emeril got a little older, one of his chores was to get bread at the Portuguese bakery Carreiro's where the ambitious Emeril talked the workers into giving him a job when he was 10 years old.
Below are a couple of Emeril's favorite home-cooked recipes from his first teacher — his mom, Hilda.
Help those who are hungry this holiday season through America's Second Harvest.
Herb Roasted Pork Loin With Braised Red Cabbage
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, Emeril's Food of Love Productions, copyright 2007
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups sliced red onion
1½ to 2 pounds red cabbage, shredded
2 granny smith apples, peeled and shredded
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup apple cider
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon juniper berries
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 2 to 3 pound pork loin
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary and thyme
¼ cup coarse-ground German brown mustard
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt butter in a medium-size Dutch oven. When the bubbles subside, add the red onions and saute until translucent and tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shredded cabbage and apples and cook over medium heat for another 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, apple cider, red wine vinegar, and brown sugar.
Place all of the spices on a piece of cheese cloth and tie the ends together to make a bundle. Add the spice bundle, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1 teaspoon of the pepper to the pot and stir to combine.
Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover the Dutch oven with a lid or aluminum foil and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Rub the pork loin with the mustard and chopped herbs; season with the remaining salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast reads 140 to 145 degrees F, usually 35 to 40 minutes.
Allow the roast to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice the roast crosswise against the grain into thin slices and serve with the red cabbage.
Yield: 6 servings
Twice-Baked Potato Casserole
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, "Emeril's Potluck," William Morrow Publishers, New York, 2004
10 large russet baking potatoes (about 7 pounds total)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
¾ pound bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
½ pound sharp white Cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
¾ pound mild Cheddar cheese, grated (3 cups)
½ cup finely chopped green onions
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Scrub the potatoes well and rinse under cool running water. Pat dry with paper towels and prick the potatoes in several places with a fork. Place the potatoes in the oven and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside on a wire rack until cool enough to handle.
When the potatoes have cooled, cut each potato in half and, using a spoon or a melon baller, scoop the flesh out of the skins, leaving as little flesh as possible. Place the potato flesh in a large bowl and add 1 stick of the butter, the sour cream, heavy cream, salt, and pepper and mash until chunky-smooth. Add the bacon, cubed white Cheddar, half of the grated Cheddar, the green onions, and eggs and mix thoroughly.
Butter a 9 x 13-inch casserole with the remaining tablespoon of butter and reduce the oven temperature to 375ºF.
Place the seasoned potato mixture in the prepared casserole and top with the remaining grated Cheddar. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges and heated through and the cheese on top is melted and lightly golden. Serve hot.
Makes 12 servings