POPSUGAR Food

12 Creative Dishes From 2013's Grand Cochon

Jun 17 2013 - 8:33am

After a weekend of nonstop eating and sipping at the Food & Wine Classic [1] in Aspen, we left the Colorado mountain town with a bang, finishing things at Grand Cochon [2] in the Hotel Jerome.

Grand Cochon is the epic finale of the Cochon555 national tour [3], which challenges local chefs from cities across the US to prepare food created from heritage-breed pigs. At the Aspen faceoff, 10 regional winners went down for the crown. Ultimately, the winner was RN74's Adam Sobel [4], but all of the chefs inspired us to do more with pork. Here are 12 of the most creative bites.

Pork and Clams With 3 Chiles and Coconut

Miami-based Edge Steak & Bar [5] chef Aaron Brooks went the rustic route, serving sausage-topped clams in a cast-iron skillet, family style. They'd been made fruity and spicy thanks to the addition of coconut and three different kinds of chiles.

Pepperoni-Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Squash blossoms are often lightly battered and fried, but chef Ryan Smith of Empire State South [6] in Atlanta, GA, put his twist on the Summer flower by stuffing it with pepperoni, then serving it atop tomato marmalade and slivers of fennel with a crackling cheese puff.

Bologna Soup Dumplings

In what might be the most creative take on Chinese food yet, Smith also made a Shanghai-style soup dumpling [7], but used bologna as the wrapper instead of dough. It was filled with a bologna consommé, then topped with grainy mustard and pickles.

Pork S'mores

Jason Harrison of Flame Restaurant and Fireside Lounge [8] in Vail wowed the crowd with s'mores that were composed of bacon graham crackers, lardo fudge, candied pork belly, pecans, and pork rind marshmallows. They were bruléed with a flame torch just before serving.

Mule Foot Ham Rillett

It may not be Spring any longer, but chef Harrison made it feel like the height of the season with a ham rillett, made lighter thanks to fava beans, peas, and morels. The fresh produce [9] was a nice foil to the rich, bourbon-studded ham rillett.

Fatback Bonbons

Jason Franey of Canlis [10] — possibly Seattle's most well-known restaurant — offered a cheeky take on dessert with his smoky and silky fatback bonbons.

Pork Pancake

Who said pork can't work in sweet breakfast applications? Cosmo Goss of Chicago's Publican Quality Meats [11] proved pork and pancake can coexist with a piggy flapjack dusted with confectioner's sugar.

Tortellini

Bacon tortellini with a ricotta-mascarpone filling was one of the highlights of the tasting, thanks to Missy Robbins (formerly of A Voce [12] in New York). In a brilliant move, she served the tortellini and broth with a dusting of — what else? — bacon bits.

Fatback "Mapo Tofu"

Adam Sobel of San Francisco's RN74 [13] offered his take on the classic Szechuan dish, making it with braised pig head and trotters, shoulder, skin, loin meat, and chili oil.

The Return of Fat Elvis

How could guests resist a dish titled "The Return of Fat Elvis"? They couldn't — and it wasn't just because of the name. The dish, also created by Sobel, was made of several components — smoked pork belly, peanut butter, milk chocolate, banana, passion fruit caramel — all wrapped up in an egg roll.

Pork-Fat Arancini

A team favorite from the night was the risotto balls with a pork-fat center from former Top Cheffer Mike Isabella, owner of Graffiato [14] in Washington DC.

Crispy Earl Grey Pork Belly

Michael Scelfo of Alden & Harlow [15] in Boston stunned with an Earl Grey-infused pork belly that was served with smoked Anson Mills grits, cherries, and Fernet.


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