Many of us spent the winter holidays visiting family and friends, eating meal after meal of casseroles, pies, sides and entrees — often made from recipes passed down from generation to generation. We soaked in tradition, and probably a whole lot of butter (especially if you’re from the South), finishing meals with full bellies and recipe cards for taking home to recreate favorite dishes in our own kitchens.
Now, winter is truly upon us in North Carolina, and while we may be weary of Grandma’s Sweet Potato Casserole recipe, comfort food and familiar flavors still call to us. Enter two of Lucky’s Longtime Favorites: Chicken Tomato Basil Soup and Weaver Tuna Salad. You may think to yourself, What could be so special about tomato soup and tuna salad? Each of these dishes takes a unique spin on a kitchen standby, adding the Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen stamp that makes them, as our proprietor Dennis Quaintance says, “current and traditional versions of classic recipes.”
Longtime Favorite #1: Weaver Tuna Salad
Let us tell you about the Weaver Tuna Salad first. As Dennis tells the story, the restaurant had been open for dinner for just a couple of months when we decided to start working on a lunch menu. We invited one of our dearest friends and partners, Mike Weaver, for lunch; while he was at Lucky’s, he mentioned in passing that one of his favorite lunches was a homemade tuna salad that used Italian dressing instead of mayonnaise to bind everything together, served up on a bed of greens with toast points. Right away, Chef John Jones was charged with creating a version using a mustard vinaigrette. That recipe, which he whipped up in no time at all, has been a hit from day one, and it has never been modified in our 27 years. Talk about a longtime favorite!
- 24 oz. canned white chunk tuna, packed in water
- 5/8 cup diced cucumber
- 1 cup Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe below)
- salt to taste
Place tuna in a colander and allow to drain well, pressing on tuna to remove all water. Peel cucumber, remove seeds and dice to ¼ inch. Toss cucumber with a little salt, let sit for 10 minutes, and then rinse with water. In a mixing bowl, toss tuna and cucumber with vinaigrette. Season to taste.
Makes 1 quart
Recipe: Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette
- 1 tbsp. water
- 2 fl. oz. Boetje Gourmet mustard
- 2 fl. oz. Gulden’s mustard
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 7/8 cup canola oil
Using electric mixer, combine water, both mustards, red wine vinegar and lemon juice. When well blended, very slowly add oil.
Makes 1½ cups
Longtime Favorite #2: Chicken Tomato Basil Soup
Our Chicken Tomato Basil Soup has been with us since 1989, too, and it has been a guest favorite for many years. When asked about the reason behind its staying power, Dennis Quaintance remarked, “I don’t think there’s a person in North America who doesn’t have a childhood experience of wonderful — even canned — tomato soup … [it] is a legitimate comfort food.” He couldn’t be more right, and while ours is a far cry from the red can we all know, it’ll warm you from the inside out. It’s on its way to becoming a new classic! Garnish this delicious soup with a fresh basil leaf and enjoy it with a hunk of warm bread, (or a grilled cheese sandwich if you’re feeling indulgent!).
Recipe: Chicken Tomato Basil Soup
- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 3 tbsp. chopped red onion
- 2 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1¾ pounds chicken breast cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 46 oz. canned tomatoes “chopped in puree”
- 1/3 cup roasted Roma tomatoes, chopped in food processor
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add onions and garlic, and sauté until slightly tender and lightly golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Add cut-up chicken and sear for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Add stock and basil and then bring to a simmer for 20 minutes. Combine cornstarch, water and salt. Add canned tomatoes, roasted Roma tomatoes and tomato paste; bring to a boil. Gradually stir in prepared cornstarch in a thin stream (no larger than a pencil). Turn off heat and stir in cream.
Makes 1 gallon
Indulge in these favorites any time of the year at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Greensboro or Cary! For more about our seasonal recipes, see our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index: https://lucky32southernkitchen.com/recipes/
Posted January 2016