leah chase

Leah Chase

Leah Chase

Leah Chase

This month’s Family Meal is based on recipes by Leah Chase, the Queen of Creole cuisine. She and her family turned a neighborhood sandwich shop into one of the most important restaurants in the country. … In the country! You may have heard her of her. Maybe you even know her restaurant, Dooky Chase. But, this episode will be a deep dive into the woman and her food. Let’s get into it. 

Welcome to Family Meal on the wine party channel, where we’re all about memory making meals with a splash of wine. These recipes are from Leah Chase’s 2011 cookbook, And Still I Cook. She wrote this book over 50 years after she became executive chef at Dooky Chase. 

But, this is just her second cookbook in all those years. Her first, the Dooky Chase cookbook was released in 1990. So, there’s 30 years worth of additional knowledge in this book. And, the recipes cover most any occasion you’d encounter, from sandwiches and breakfast to dessert. 

Chase is synonymous with New Orleans. She grew up just outside of NOLA, in Madisonville. Madisonville is a small town in St. Tammany Parish. The town was segregated when Chase was a child. And this parish still struggles with racism today.

Family Meal menus 2 2
Family Meal Menu – February 2021

Leah Chase was six when the great depression started. To survive, the family grew their own vegetables and made their own clothes. This connection to the land and to making your own stayed with her and is part of what drew her to food. 

She moved to New Orleans for high school. Chase’s family was Catholic. But, there wasn’t a Catholic high school for Black children in her area. So, she went to high school at St. Mary’s Academy, one of the oldest Black Catholic High Schools in the country. 

After high school, she worked as a racehorse bookie and as a boxer’s manager. But, her favorite job was working at the restaurants. She worked at two in town: The Colonial and The Coffee Pot. 

After she married her husband, Edgar “Dooky” Chase II, they took over the Chase family sandwich stand. This is the business that would become the Dooky Chase we know today. Over time, they added other Creole dishes and fancier dishes you would only find at white-run restaurants. 

Dooky Chase became the place where black entertainers, activists, artists, and politicians could meet and eat. The restaurant wasn’t just an eatery. It was a meeting hall, an art gallery, and a  community center. 

For over 60 years, Leah Chase supported the community with world-class food and space where folks could gather. She is one of the most celebrated chefs in America. So, her food is definitely worth trying out. Add these wine pairings amps the meal up another notch.

The Wines

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Babich Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 17
Aromas of apple and melon with stone fruit a little lime blossom. Soft and silken texture on the palate with apples again and a building peachy weight. A hint of nectarine/apricot lingers pleasingly. Fresh and well bodied.
castillo manjardin chardonnay
Castillo de Monjardin Chardonnay 18 
Youthful lemon-green in color, this wine shows fresh aromas of green apples, tropical fruit, white flowers, and a hint of almonds. The ripe flavors continue to unfold on the palate, with concentration, depth, and creamy minerality.

This wine is a perfect accompaniment for roast pork tenderloin, chicken saltimbocca, or crab-stuffed flounder.

tenuta di arceno chianti
Tenuta di Arceno Chianti Classico 17
This wine is a perfect accompaniment for roast pork tenderloin, chicken saltimbocca, or crab-stuffed flounder.
vitticio chianti
Viticcio Chianti Classico 17
Brilliant ruby red in color, on the nose this wine offers scents of red fruits, plums, and violets. Also evident are notes of blond tobacco, graphite, damp underbrush, and toasty notes. On the palate, it is pleasantly refreshing, with elegant and balanced tannins that leave a long finish of toasted and bitter cacao notes, which come from aging in wood.
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Bernard Baudry Chinon 18
This cuvée comes from their highest vineyard, which rests on a plateau of gravel, sand, and limestone, and it is arguably their best entry point into the charm of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, lithe and less dense than the bottlings from their clay-and-limestone terroirs. Spontaneous fermentation and unfiltered bottling lead to a delicate, peppery wine with notes of blackberries, currants, and leather. Matthieu Baudry says the reds of Chinon are best enjoyed with food, and this particular bottling is versatile enough to accompany a wide range of plats, from lentil soup to charcuterie to roast chicken
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Domaine de Pallus Messanges Chinon 18
With this new vintage, the Domaine de Pallus reveals the charm and seductive character of Cabernet Franc.
It has a floral and spicy character that pairs well with sausages and goat cheeses.
bodkin crown jewels
Bodkin Crown Jewels 14 
A most unique co-fermentation of Zinfandel and mixed black grape varieties. This natural, no-sulfate added dessert wine is refreshing and bright with flavors and aromas of berry cobbler, accented with a light zest of citrus. The mouth feel is dense, yet lithe as the wine concisely finishes in a flourish of summertime, berry goodness.

The Recipes

wine pairings for a garden fresh meal 49
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