“They loved the brisket,” said Cheryl Lacey as she paused, however briefly, during the college’s faculty and staff holiday gathering on Tuesday evening in Commons.

Lacey, director of dining at Bates, was talking about the students’ own dining celebration, their beloved Harvest Meal, which held a few weeks ago, before Thanksgiving break.

The annual tradition is fun for her team, she says. “It’s about their reactions. The big smile.  The napkin the next day that says, ‘Oh my gosh I just loved that dish.”

Each year, the Harvest Meal menu grows “pretty much out of Owen’s imagination,” she says, referring to Executive Chef Owen Keene. With another food-fueled holiday season upon us, here are four dishes, both mains and sides, from the 2017 Harvest Meal menu.

SEAFOOD CHOWDER
Servings: 11 portions (6 ounce)

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 stalks celery, medium diced
1/4 large onion, medium diced
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons fish base
2 quarts milk
1/2 pound cooked potatoes, diced
1/4 pound 40/60 count scallops
1/4 pound 70/90 peeled, de-veined raw shrimp
1/4 pound lobster meat
1/2 pound fish of your choice, can be a variety
1/2 teaspoon tabasco sauce

In a pan over medium heat, melt butter or margarine. Whisk flour into the butter until a thick, rough paste forms (roux.) As it cooks the roux will become smooth. Stir often and watch for burning.

After about 5 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.

Mix fish base and milk, then add to vegetables and bring to a simmer.

Thicken with roux.

Add potatoes, scallops, shrimp, lobster, fish, and tabasco. Bring back to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes. Check seasoning.


Every Harvest Meal has a theme woven through Commons decorations and the menu. In 2015, it was “Cats on the Coast.” (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

CORN AND BLACK BEAN SUCCOTASH
Servings: 14 (4-ounce) portions

3 cups whole kernel corn, fresh or frozen
14.5-ounce can black beans
1 cup roasted red peppers

In a pan over medium heat, add all ingredients and simmer until heated through. Season to taste.


From 2006: students queue up for Harvest Meal outside Chase Hall, the home of dining Commons until 2008. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

HERBED STUFFING
Servings: 12 (4 ounce) portions

1/2 large onion, medium diced
2 stalks celery
1/3 cup margarine
6 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 gallon dried bread, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a pan over medium-high heat, melt margarine. Add onion and celery and sauté for 10 minutes.

Add stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add bread, salt, pepper and sage. Mix thoroughly. Place in a greased baking pan.

Bake for 15 minutes.


From 2002: Dining Service’s Paul Begin presides over that year’s medieval-themed Harvest Meal. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

BROWN SUGAR AND CHILI CRUSTED BRISKET
Servings: Rub is enough for two (5-6 lb.) beef briskets, each approximately 20 portions

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons dark chili powder
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons salt
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons black pepper
3 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground bay leaf
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons granulated garlic
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated onion

Mix ingredients and rub generously on briskets.

Bake at 250 to 275 F. for 3 hours minimum. Brisket needs to reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees.

Leftover rub can be refrigerated in an airtight container.

 

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