John Schaefer
chef John Schaefer of Grammercy Tavern

John Schaefer

by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
November 1, 2005

After a beautiful summer I will be craving one final meal off the grill in my backyard before it’s put away for the fall and winter months.

Pepper chutney — the last crop from the summer — and a potato gratin will be some of the sides I serve with grilled steak or loin of pork for an early autumn dinner.


Makes about 4 cups


½ cup golden raisins
12 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
2 yellow bell peppers, cored and seeded
1 sweet long green Italian pepper, cored and seeded
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
Kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground mace
½ teaspoon dried mustard
1 teaspoon mustard seed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup white wine vinegar


Place the raisins in a small bowl, cover with very hot water, and set aside for at least 30 minutes to plump, replacing the hot water once or twice.

Remove the soft white ribs from the red, yellow, and green peppers, then cut them all into a small dice.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low until it thins slightly. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 15 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until the mixture is fragrant, about 3 minutes, then add the diced peppers, jalapenos, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers soften and release their juices, about 15 minutes, then stir in the mace, dried mustard, and mustard seed. Cook for about a minute. Then add the sugar, tomato paste and vinegar. Continue cooking until the peppers are very tender and the chutney is thick, about 15 minutes. Drain the raisins and add them to the chutney and gently simmer for about 10 minutes more. Allow the chutney to cool, then refrigerate until ready to use. This chutney should be stored in the refrigerator, where it will last several weeks.


Serves 6

8 medium russet potatoes (about 6 lbs.)
1 ½ quarts heavy cream
6 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic confit, chopped (see recipe below)
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper


Peel the potatoes. Slice them about 1/8 inch thick (this is most easily done with a mandoline). Put the potatoes into a large pot and add the cream, thyme, garlic confit, salt, and pepper. Slowly bring the potatoes to a simmer over medium-low heat (this will take 1 to 1 ½ hours). Remove the pot from the heat. Heat the oven to 350°F. Pour a thin layer of the cream used to cook the potatoes into the bottom of a medium baking or gratin dish (an 8-inch round will work). Using a slotted spoon, gently lift the potatoes into the baking dish, breaking as few potatoes as possible. Snuggly fit the potatoes into the dish in layers and press them down with the back of a spoon. Pour in only enough cream so that when you press down on the potatoes cream coats the exposed top layer (about 2 cups). Bake the gratin until the top is browned and bubbly, about 40 minutes, then serve.


Makes about 12


12 garlic cloves, peeled
About 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil


Place the garlic in the smallest saucepan available. Add enough oil to cover. Then heat over medium heat until the first bubbles appear. Reduce the heat to low (it should no longer bubble; if it does, put a skillet under the saucepan to diffuse the heat). Cook until the garlic is very soft, about 40 minutes. Cool the confit to room temperature. Then store the garlic in the oil in the refrigerator.

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