Savor the Season

Photography by Candice Herriott

Charleston Food Writer Candice Herriott asks two chefs who have inspired her – Carrie Morey of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit and Melissa Ann Barton of Mod Squad Martha – to cook up a favorite holiday table worthy recipe and share some of their favorite holiday memories.  

 “A few of the things that I really love about these recipes is that they are both approachable, use seasonal produce and together make a perfectly balanced menu of savory and sweet food to create the perfect dinner that will rock the socks off of your next dinner party,” Candice says.  

Hard Cider Brined Applejack Pork Tenderloin with Tart Granny Smith Apples, Vidalia Onions and Sage 

 “I love this tenderloin recipe because it’s something that is really beautiful and it tastes really good,” Candice says. “It has the gorgeous pop of color from the heirloom carrots, a tiny splash of fresh green from the sage, a gorgeous white border of the baked parsnips. I loved how it looked and smelled, and it tasted like being home during the holidays.”

The chef: Melissa Ann Barton, owner of Mod Squad Martha

Melissa Ann’s holiday traditions:
“Each year, my Mamma and I would get all dressed up, shop and eat a fabulous meal. We shared memories of my grandparents,” Melissa Ann recalls. ”When Graham, my son, came along, it was the three of us. Now, Graham and I shop on King Street, eat some place over-the-top and share the sweet memories we treasure of MeMee. Each year, Graham and I continue the tradition of going to visit low-income senior housing and a nursing home. We bring gifts, food but the biggest gift we bring is our fellowship.”  

Ingredients for brine:
12 ounce bottle of any hard apple cider beer
1 cup water
2 tablespoons dark molasses 
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/8 cup sea salt
1 cup ice cubes
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons olive oil 
Sea salt
Coarse black pepper granulated garlic 
Onion granules 

Combine first five ingredients and whisk until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add ice and stir.  Pour over pork tenderloin in a sealed bag. Brine for at least six and up to 12 hours. Remove from brine, rinse and pat dry. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with seal salt, black pepper, granulated garlic and onion granules. Set aside. 

Ingredients for sauce:
3 slices applewood smoked bacon
1/4 cup bourbon, blackberry whiskey rocks
2 tablespoons butter
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into thick slices
1 cup Vidalia or sweet onions, sliced thin
2/3 cups unfiltered apple cider (spiced is best)
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream (light cream can be substituted)
6 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, divided
Sea salt and black pepper 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Over medium high heat and using a cast iron skillet, cook the bacon until not quite crisp. Pour off fat, leaving just a coating in the skillet. Chop and set aside. Sear pork over same heat until well browned on all sides. Remove skillet from heat. Place pork in a baking dish and pour bourbon over. Bake for 25 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 145 degrees. Once done, let sit for 10 minutes before slicing. While pork is baking, melt butter in the same skillet over medium high heat. Add apples and onions and cook until apples and onions start to brown, about six minutes. Add cider and boil for about three to four minutes. Add the stock, five tablespoons sage and boil for about five minutes. Add cream and cook until reduced by half. Remove from heat and stir in any accumulated pork juices. Slice pork tenderloin and transfer to serving dish and spoon sauce either alongside or over meat. Serve with Mashed Herb Cauliflower with Pomegranate Molasses Drizzle and Roasted Parsnips, Carrots and Butternut Squash with Bourbon and Maple Glaze


Crumbled Apple and Cranberry Crisp 

“To be 100 percent transparent anything that is cooked, baked or seared in a cast iron skillet will win my heart over every single time,” says Candice. “There is something special about making food in a piece of timeless cookware! When Carrie told me she was going to create a new recipe for this project I almost jumped over the moon, bursting with excitement! I hope you enjoy incorporating this fantastic dish into your menu planning. It’s easy, yummy and adds the perfect dash of color and flavor to any holiday event!”

The chef: Carrie Morey, owner of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit 


Carrie’s holiday tradition:
Carrie shared that growing up she always looked forward to spending Thanksgiving at her grandparents’ house in Gaffney, where her grandmother’s table was set to perfection with crisp linens and every accoutrement.   

Today, Carrie says her family always run the Turkey Day Run and then spend the day prepping for the big feast at her family’s country house. ”And when I say big feast, I mean 20 people shoulder-to-shoulder at our long table on the screened porch in the middle of the woods. It’s simply the best,” she says. 

 “What I love more than anything is that holiday cooking brings the family together and that time and the memories made carry you throughout the year,” she says. “It’s as if time stops all the noise around us and we are able to focus only on family.”

Your favorite pie crust recipe (Try the recipe for Mama’s Butter Pie Crust found in Callie’s Biscuits Cookbook)
1 pound apples, cored and peeled
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
½ cup orange juice
2 tablespoon melted butter, divided
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla 

Ingredients for crumb topping:
2 leftover Callie’s Sweet Potato Biscuits, crumbled
¼ cup Callie’s Pecans
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons melted butter 

Preheat oven to 350. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet.  Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, add the apples, cranberries, orange juice, sugars, vanilla and cinnamon. Let sit for 30 minutes. Roll out the pie crust into a 13- inch round and place in the skillet. You can also make a free form tart on a baking sheet. After the apples and cranberries have macerated for 30 minutes, lay them on the crust. Leaving enough space around the edges to fold the dough up and over the apples by ½ to 1 inch. Prepare the crumb topping by adding all ingredients to a small mixing bowl. Toss to coat in the melted butter. Sprinkle over the apples and cranberries. Fold the dough up and over the apples for a rustic look, pleating as necessary.  

Brush the remaining 1 tablespoon of melted butter over the exposed dough. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the apples and cranberries, crumb topping and pastry are all browned. Serve with ice cream or room temperature. Enjoy!