Hoecake with Brisket and Sweet Potato Ancho-Chile Sauce

May 5th, 2017 | By | Category: blog
Hoecake with Central Texas Brisket and Sweet Potato Ancho-Chile Sauce

Hoecake with Central Texas Brisket and Sweet Potato Ancho-Chile Sauce

Joi Chevalier puts her culinary degree to work in her business, The Cook’s Nook culinary incubator, and when called upon for a good cause.

Hoecake with Central Texas Brisket and Sweet Potato Ancho-Chile Sauce

This was the concluding main dish at the 2017 Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of Black Austin, a culinary exploration of the history of African-American entrepreneurship in Central Texas through food. The core sweet potato ancho-chile sauce and hoecake recipes were in African-American historical cookbooks from the Austin History Center, but a new dish was created to serve as hors d’oeuvres during the event. This represents the best of everything about the foodways of Central Texas: the corn-based hoecake and sweet potatoes from African-American farms, combined with the use of ancho chiles common in our Mexican-American food journey, joined with our well-loved Central Texas smoked brisket, made this bite one of the most compelling and popular of the event.

Archivist: LaToya Devezin, Austin History Center; Adrian Lipscombe, Knotty Nice Bakery & Uptowne Café
Concept and dish from: Joi Chevalier, The Cook’s Nook
Prepared by: Joi Chevalier, Ilbersalle Fallon, Jen Rodriguez, and Hoover Alexander


• 1 cup white cornmeal
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¾ cup boiling water
• 2 tsp bacon fat, butter or vegetable oil

Mix meal and salt. Add boiling water. Stir and mix well. Spread to form flat circles. Drop hoecakes into hot oil and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Place on paper towel to drain and sprinkle with kosher salt. Set aside.

Sweet Potato Ancho-Chile Sauce

• 4 large firm light colored sweet potatoes
• 3-4 ancho chiles, roasted
• ½ cup ancho water
• 3 tablespoon of butter or margarine
• 6 tablespoons dark brown sugar, or to taste
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
• ½ large onion, peeled and minced
• salt to taste
• ½ c fresh green onions, cut on the bais for garnish

Roast ancho chiles over an open gas burner until lightly roasted. Cut the cooled chile open and remove and discard the seeds, the veins, or light colored stems. Tear the chiles into pieces, place in a glass or ceramic container and cover with boiling water. Soak 45 minutes to 1 hour and preserve the water. Grind the soaked ancho chiles with the chopped onions, garlic and ½ cup of chile soaking water in a blender or food processor to create a chile paste.

Select firm, light colored sweet potatoes. Wash, clean, and place unpeeled in a saucepan or pot cover with cold salted water and place over a burner. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover with a lid and cook over a medium fire until tender, from about 30 to 35 minutes. Drain and allow the sweet potatoes to cool. When cool, peel and chop across the natural bands.

Once both are prepared, place the chopped sweet potatoes into a blender and add the chile paste to loosen potatoes and create sauce to desired consistency. Occasionally pulse the blender to combine, until mostly smooth but a few small pieces of sweet potato may be visible. Add the butter to finish and silken the sauce.

With hoecakes, sauce, and brisket in hand, assemble as individual bites, topping each hoecake with 1 oz of brisket, and a tablespoon of sauce. Garnish with green onions.

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