Perhaps you’re wondering, who is Chef Julius Russell and why does Afrobella feature his recipes from time to time? I’ll tell you. Chef Julius is an incredibly talented chef who I’ve come to know through living here in Chicago. He’s a private chef who has cooked for a dazzling array of celebrities. He gives cooking demonstrations at major events all over the city. His food is absolutely phenomenal. Delicious, succulent, spicy, gourmet, YUMMY. All of the above. And besides all of that he’s a phenomenal guy who is generous to a fault.
While my parents were visiting Chicago, I got Chef Julius to come to my home and cook for us and for my parents it was one of the absolute highlights of the trip. While he cooked for us I truly got to see what makes him the man who’s invited into the homes of celebrities to prepare their meals. Besides being an incredible chef, he’s great company – funny, engaged, interesting and interested. It was a culinary experience we will always cherish.
Chef Julius, doing his thing in my kitchen!
Needless to say, when it came time for holiday recipes I knew exactly who to call.
While the good chef is offering a complete holiday menu with all the traditional fixins, I reached out to him for something a bit healthier and somewhat nontraditional. Seafood.
On Thursday, you’ll probably be getting into your turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing. On Friday morning, Chef Julius will be appearing on the WGN morning show to offer recipes for those Thanksgiving leftovers. And on Saturday when you’re all turkeyed out – give one of these delicious seafood recipes a try! And PS: all of the unique Chef Julius spices he mentions in these recipes are available in his online store.
Shrimp photo via Shutterstock
Chef Julius’ Pecan Crusted Shrimp
1lb shrimp (U25/30) – Peeld and deveined
2TB garlic oil (Ledeya +garlic cloves, simmer 30min)
6 oz pecans (crushed)
3TB Chef Julius’ Simple Creole Dust
4TB unsalted butter
2oz fresh tarragon (chopped)
1 medium lemon (zest removed and then cut into 8 pieces)
In a mixing bowl add the shrimp and garlic oil. Mix by hand
Add the Creole Dust and 1oz lemon zest. Mix and set aside
Place a sauté pan on medium heat for 1min. Add 2TB unsalted butter and heat until butter is melted
While the butter is melting add half the pecans to the shrimp and mix together. Be sure all the shrimp are evenly coated. If they aren’t add more pecans
In small batches, one by one, add shrimp to the pan and cook for 2min. Be sure not overcrowd the pan
After 2min, using tongs, turn the shrimp and cook for 1-2min more. Remove and place on paper towel lined dish. Cook the remaining shrimp in the same manner
While hot shrimp is on the plate, sprinkle with additional lemon zest, tarragon and Creole Dust (optional)
Serve warm with Chef Julius’ Red Beans and Rice or Cheese Grits.
Scallops photo via Shutterstock
Pan Seared Scallops w/ Mango Ginger Habanera Sauce
6-8 dry (U/10) scallops
4-5 mangoes (diced)
2 shallots (diced)
2Tb Chilean Olive Oil (Deleyda)
2 cups chicken stock
¼ cup fresh ginger (grated)
1-2 habanera peppers (seeds removed and cut in half)
½ cup white wine (Chilean Sauvignon Blanc…Concha Y Toro)
2 Tb unsalted butter (chilled and cut into cubes)
Chef Julius’ Salt & Chef Julius’ Pepper
Place a 2qt – 3qt saucepan on medium heat for 2min. Add the olive oil.
Next add the shallots and sauté 3-4minutes.
Next add the mangoes and sauté for 5min and then add the peppers.
Sauté this mixture for at least 5min. Lower the heat if you have to, bits of mango will very likely stick to the pan.
Add the ginger and sauté for 1min and then add the wine to deglaze the pan.
Stir regularly with the wooden spoon. Next add the chicken stock.
Allow this mixture to reduce by 1/3.
Use an immersion blender or transfer hot liquid to a standard blender. Puree until the mix is liquefied.
Return the liquefied mix to the saucepan and place on low heat.
Add the honey and cook for 2min and then the unsalted butter.
Taste and then add salt, pepper or more honey to your liking.
Place medium sauté pan on high heat for 1-2 minutes.
Add 1Tb of Deleyda Olive oil and heat for 1 min more
Place dry scallops, seasoned with salt and pepper, in the pan at least 1 inch apart and let cook for 2 min
Using a fish spatula, turn scallops and cook for 2 minutes more
Remove from pan and set on serving plate. Spoon with Mango Sauce and serve with Domo Vegetarian Quinoa.
Thank you Chef Julius, for being a great friend and for these incredible recipes!