Today is National Virginia Day. It is also Eat a Hoagie Day. When I first set out to write this post, I thought I’d figure out a way to Eat a Hoagie in Virginia. That is until I began to research menus and recipes from a few famous resorts and dinners throughout the state. Virginia beckoned me in a whole other direction and I gladly followed.
We will begin our Culinary Journey through Virginia at the Skyland Resort in the Shenandoah National Park. Skyland Resort, originally called Stony Many Camp, was built in 1895 on what would become the highest point along Skyline Drive. Skyland Resort offers sweeping views of the Shenandoah Valley some 3,600 feet below. Early in its life, the camp was advertised as a Dude Ranch. When it opened to visitors, they arrived by horse or wagon. In 1931 the National Parks took over operations. Rather than destroy the resort, it was restored and expanded while keeping with the natural beauty of its surroundings. Our onion Soup is served at Skyland Resort. Enjoy!
Caramelized Onion Soup with Jarlsberg Croutons
6 medium Yellow Onions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons Butter
1/4 teaspoon Fine Salt
4 cups Water
1 (14.5 oz) can Beef Broth
1-3/4 cups Beef Stock
1/4 teaspoons dried Thyme
4 (1/2-inch thick ) slices French Bread
4 oz Jarlsberg Cheese, shredded
Note: Gruyere or Fontina Cheese may be used in place of the Jarlsberg Cheese
Trim root and tip from the onions, peel and slice as thinly as possible using a mandoline slicer at its thinnest setting. Break rings apart.
In 12-inch skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very tender and begin to caramelize, about 45 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until onions are deep golden brown, about 15 minutes longer.
Transfer onions to stock pot and set aside. To the now empty skillet add 1/2 cup water and heat to a boil, stirring until browned bits are loosened from bottom of skillet. Add water to onions in stock pot. Add remaining 3-1/2 cups water, beef broth, beef stock and thyme to onions. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut slices of bread diagonally and arrange on cookie sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 5-7 minutes. Ladle soup evenly into four ovenproof bowls on cookie sheet and top with toasted bread, slightly pressing bread into soup. Generously distribute cheese evenly on top of each. Bake until cheese has melted and begins to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
From Shenandoah we’ll head south-west to Meadows of Dan. Primland Resort was founded with the vision of giving its guests the opportunity to immerse completely in the beauty of the land. At this breathtaking resort, you can enjoy world-class golf and refined dining all with indulging in an assortment of outdoor activities in an eco-conscious and thoughtful manner. Wow – what that translates into is come and spend a whole lot of cash while feeling good about the pampering. Oh but I could not resist their take on Fried Quail. So simple, so delicious. And perfect with my favorite Sage Mashed Potatoes, you couldn’t go wrong.
Sorghum Glazed Fried Quail
1 cup Buttermilk
1 tablespoon Hot Sauce
2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning
1 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Roasted Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon dried Thyme
1/4 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Sorghum Molasses as desired
Handful Baby Spinach
Rinse quail inside and out, Remove backbone and break breastbone to flatten. Fold wings underneath each quail and set aside.
Heat oil in a deep fryer or heavy pot to 350 degrees. Place a baking rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Place the prepared sheet in the oven and heat to 375 degrees and heat deep fryer to 350 degrees..
In one shallow bowl, mix hot sauce and buttermilk. In another bowl, mix flour and all the seasonings. Dredge quails in buttermilk and then seasoned flour.
Drop one at a time into the fryer. Do not overfill fryer. Fry for 4 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Remove to a baking tray. Drizzle quail with Sorghum Molasses and bake for 4 minutes.
Line a serving platter with a bed of spinach. Arrange quail over spinach leaves and swerve.
Browned Sage Butter Mashed Potatoes
3 lb. small Yukon Gold Potatoes
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) Butter, divided
12 fresh Sage Leaves
3/4 cup Half-and-Half
Kosher Salt to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Peel potatoes, cut into quarters. Place in a stock pot with just enough cold water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well, return to stock pot and “dry” potatoes over low heat for about 5 minutes.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of the butter. When the foam subsides, add the sage leaves and fry until crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sage leaves to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking the butter until it is brown but not smoking, 2 to 3 minutes more. Pour into a heatproof bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter and the half-and-half. Heat until the butter melts and the mixture is hot, about 8 minutes.
Mash the potatoes using a potato masher or hand-held mixer until creamy but not yet smooth. Using a spatula, fold in the Half-and-Half mixture and 4 to 5 tablespoons of the brown butter until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the potatoes to a serving dish. Garnish with the sage leaves and drizzle with the remaining brown butter. Serve immediately.
While most of the South revels in Pecans, in Virginia it’s all about the Peanut. Smoked peanuts, roasted peanuts, boiled peanuts. And the most famous of all Peanut Pie. Look no further than The Virginia Diner in Wakefield, Virginia for the best Peanut Pie around. The Virginia Diner opened in 1929 in a refurbished railroad dining car along a dusty highway in southeastern Virginia. Mrs. D’Earcy Davis threw open the doors as a refuge for folks who liked home-cooking. She began by serving up hot biscuits and vegetable soup. As business grew, the restaurant added more dining cars to accommodate the growing list of return customers. Since the diner was in the heart of Virginia Peanut Country, it was only natural that Peanut Pie ended up on the menu. While the pie is still an attraction, the railroad cars are gone. Virginia Diner is a real restaurant, complete with a gift shop featuring all things peanut.
Virginia Peanut Pie
1/2 lb Salted Peanuts, crushed
1 cup sugar
3 whole eggs
1/2 cup flour
1-1/2 cups Light Corn Syrup
1/2 cup shelled Salted Peanuts
2 tablespoons Butter, melted
1 Pie Shell, unbaked
Warm oven to 250 degrees. Crush peanuts, set aside. Melt butter, set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, flour and sugar. Stir in add syrup along with both the crushed and whole peanuts. Add the melted butter last. Pour peanut mixture into pie shell. Bake in the warm oven until center is firm, about 90 minutes.
Let cool to room temperature before serving. Serve plain or ala mode