Soulful, heartland-inspired food from Portland’s popular The Country Cat
Heartlandia is based on husband-and-wife team Adam and Jackie Sappington’s acclaimed Portland restaurant, The Country Cat Dinner House & Bar. Adam, Executive Chef and a self-taught expert in whole animal butchery, and Jackie, the Executive Pastry Chef, make food that is the definition of soulful, heartwarming comfort food. Some of the mouthwatering dishes include Autumn Squash Soup with Apple Cider and Brown Butter, Red Wine-Braised Beef with Wild Mushroom Steak Sauce, and Crispy Fried Oysters with Smoky Bacon and Green Apple Ragout. And don’t forget about their legendary Skillet-Fried Chicken. The sweets are just as enticing, such as the Challah French Toast with Maker’s Mark Custard and Clabber Cream, Butterscotch Pudding, and Bourbon Peach Crumble Pie. Additional chapters include one for drinks and another for pickles and preserves. The cookbook also has beautiful photographs that capture not only the amazing food but also the spirit of the restaurant and the heartland.
Missouri heritage cooking meets the clean flavors of the Pacific Northwest in this improbably delicious mash-up. The Sappingtons, chef owners of the Country Cat in Portland, Ore., open their collection with a classic perfected buttermilk biscuits and then the homestyle hits keep coming: challah French toast with Maker's Mark custard and clabber cream, the restaurant's signature skillet-fried chicken, rhubarb cobbler with ruby caramel. Woven into each chapter are plenty of charming anecdotes from Adam Sappington's Midwest childhood, with respect for the culinary wisdom of past generations in his ode to "glorified Gramma cuisine." Hints of a more refined Portland palate make their way in too, with dishes such as the chanterelle, green bean, and freekeh salad with huckleberry vinaigrette, and crispy fried oysters with smoky bacon and green apple ragout. However, the recipes that shine the brightest are the ones written from the heart: a passionate homage to ranch dressing, a remembrance of the Friday night fish fry, and a potted cheese dip simply known as "Judy." With generosity and a warm sense of humor, the Sappingtons invite everyone to pull up a chair at their family table and with recipes like theirs, readers will be more than happy to dig in.