Stories from the Smokies

The one thing that sets bed & breakfasts and country inns apart from other lodging is the food. More than a mere amenity, inn dining can be the most memorable part of the lodging experience. So it’s no surprise that innkeepers are often asked to share their secret recipes — like Chef Scott Rowe of the Folkestone Inn‘s Huevos Rancheros (above). Or the Hemlock Inn‘s Vidalia Onion Pie. Or the Fryemont Inn‘s Lemon Chess Pie.

Onion pie casseroleThe Hemlock Inn’s Vidalia Onion Pie

10-12 soda crackers
1 pound Vidalia onions
1/3 stick margarine
1 cup white sauce
1/4 pound sharp cheese

Melt margarine and pour half into the crushed crackers. Blend well. Save enough cracker crumbs to sprinkle over top. Press cracker crumbs into pie pan.

Slice the onions thin and saute in remaining margarine until tender but not brown. Put onions on the pie crust and pour over white sauce to which the sharp cheese has been added and melted. Sprinkle a few cracker crumbs over top and bake in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Serves 8.

Favorite White Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
pinch of salt
1 cup milk

In heavy saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour, and slowly add milk. Stir constantly with whisk until thick. Yield: 1 cup.

Slice of pieThe Fryemont Inn’s Lemon Chess Pie

2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tbsp. each, flour and corn meal
1/4 cups milk
1/4 cups butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. grated lemon rind
1 unbaked pastry pie crust

Combine the sugar and eggs and beat well. Toss together the flour and corn meal and add to the egg mixture. Gradually add the milk, butter, lemon juice and rind. Pour into the crust. Bake in the center of a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or until the filling is set and the top is lightly browned. Photo provided by the Fryemont Inn.

Huevos RancherosThe Folkestone Inn’s Huevos Rancheros

Serves 6

Black Bean Pico De Gallo
8 ripe roma tomatoes
1 small can black beans
1/2 large diced red onion
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
1/2 chopped red pepper
1/2 chopped yellow pepper
1 chopped serrano repper
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper

Pinto Beans
3 cups – dried pinto beans
7 cups water
2 smoked ham hocks
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 chopped yellow onion
salt and pepper

Garnishes
6 oz chorizo, casings removed, crumbled or chopped and browned in a skillet
8, 6-inch corn tortillas which have been fried to crispy
1 avocado
3/4 cup grated monterey jack cheese
3/4 cup crumbled queso fresco
1-2 eggs per person
Garnish: Cilantro leaves, sliced scallions

Place all ingredients for pinto beans into a large pot and simmer on medium heat until beans are completely tender. Add more water as needed while beans cook. Remove ham hocks and pull meat from them, Discard fat and bones. Smash beans with a potato masher or using the back of a large spoon. If there is still some excess water in before mashing, that’s fine, don’t drain (flavor).  Fry smashed beans in a heavy skillet with vegetable oil stirring occasionally 4-5 mins.

Prepare Pico de Gallo by adding all ingredients into a bowl. Season with salt, pepper and cumin.  Once made, place the pico in a saucepan and heat over a low to medium burner.

To assemble, spread the refried beans onto the fried tortillas, top with crumbled chorizo and monterey jack cheese. Place in a 350-degree oven until cheese is melted.  Stack 2 tortillas together onto serving plate. Top with sunny side egg. Spoon the pico/black bean sauce over top. Garnish with chopped avocado, queso fresco, cilantro leaves and scallions.