Fill Up on Fall Flavors
Gay Atlanta Chef Alexis Hernandez seduces us into autumn with warm, hearty recipes and homegrown flavors
By Mike Fleming
Don’t tell the in–town-only
Far from repentant, we’re not sorry one bit. Taste the stick-to-your-ribs meals that Hernandez serves, and you’ll make the short trek to Chamblee a regular habit yourself.
Known for stints on The Next Food Network Star and Café CNN, Hernandez brings his Cuban-American heritage, culinary cred, and organic farming experience to the table at Union Hill.
“I feel passionate about understanding the compositional characteristics of ingredients and how they interact with each other when heat is applied to them in the kitchen,” Hernandez says.
His distinct combination of experiences and flavors creates fresh, hearty results that are home-cooking approachable.
“My goal is to educate and help people experience more confidence in the kitchen by making my cooking knowledge accessible to others,” he says.
With a few of Hernandez’s best recipes, here’s how you can make a warm, gratifying dinner to wrap up a crisp fall day.
Pork Loin with Thyme & Onions
“If you don’t have anything to flavor your meat in your kitchen that you normally use, I invite you to try olive oil, salt and any herb you have in your kitchen. … This dish is very elegant if you cut it on a cutting board and set it on the table for people to enjoy family style.”
1 ½ lb of pork tenderloin
½ tsp of kosher salt
½ tsp of freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp of dried thyme
1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
2 Granny Smith apples, chopped
3 cups red onions, chopped
1 Tbsp sugar
Preheat oven to 425 F. Mix salt, pepper and thyme in a bowl. Rub oil mixture over entire pork tenderloin. In a bowl, toss sugar, thyme and onions. In a casserole dish, layer apples then onion and place tenderloin on top. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt/thyme/sugar mixture over pork. Bake 15 minutes, then lower heat to 325 F. Cook for 35-45 minutes to internal temp of 150 F. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and allow to rest before slicing.
Braised Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
1/2 lb of brussels sprouts
6 strips of bacon
1 medium red onions chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1 8oz can of chicken stock
Chop bacon into cubes and saute over medium heat until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Leave 2 tablespoons bacon fat in pan, add olive oil and over medium high heat saute sprouts for 8-10 minutes allowing them to get crispy brown. Add stock, bring to boil, then simmer covered for 5-8 minutes until tender. Plate sprouts and sprinkle bacon bits. Serve immediately.
Cumin Scented Black Beans
“Spice up your own from-dried black beans, or don’t be ashamed of the unseasoned canned variety.”
1 pound cooked or 2 cans unseasoned black beans
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp dried oregano
3 chopped garlic cloves
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
2 Tbsp soy sauce
Over medium-low heat, saute cumin seeds and olive oil for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Reduce heat, add oregano and garlic, cook 4 minutes. Add soy sauce and canned or cooked beans, bring to boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
Want to go?
What: Union Hill Kitchen
Where: 5336 Peachtree Road, Chamblee
When: Tuesdays through Saturdays, lunch and dinner