In May 2005, Chef Jamie Leeds debuted Hank’s Oyster Bar in the Dupont area of Washington, D.C. Since then, she has opened two more locations: one in D.C.’s Eastern Market area and another in Old Town Alexandria, VA. Between brunches, oysterfests, and happy hours, these restaurants have become “go-to” destinations.
Leeds’ staff comprises a community of like-minded people. When it comes to running Hank’s, seeing the business grow through their efforts has given her the most satisfaction. And, she continues to accumulate awards, as well as loyal patrons.
This year, The Washington Post’s Express honored Hank’s as the Best Seafood Restaurant, and Leeds herself garnered Best Chef in The Washington Blade’s Best of Gay DC. Her expertise is also in demand beyond our own country’s borders. Leeds accepted an invitation to cook in the Women’s Power Culinary Conference in Beijing, where she was among 10 other chefs from around the world.
Despite these accolades, Leeds continues to stay humble. However, when asked about her greatest accomplishment, she replied, without any hesitation: “Helping to raise my beautiful son.”
In the spirit of love, family, and food, Leeds shares some of her favorite recipes for this holiday season: her mom’s stuffing, beer-braised lamb brisket, and chicken soup. “I definitely wanted to include Mitzi’s stuffing,” Leeds explains, “because she and I used to wake up very early in the morning and make this dish together.” And, she loves the lamb recipe because it’s a delicious, hearty dish, “a twist on a classic.” Enjoy!
1 whole 3-4 lb. chicken, with feet
3 carrots, large dice with tops
3 onions, lg dice
1/4 bu. Celery, lg dice
3 white turnips, lg dice
3 parsnips, lg dice
1 celery root, lg dice
3 bay leaves
1 tbs black peppercorn
10 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bu fresh thyme
3 tbs kosher salt
Place all ingredients in pot and cover with water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer until chicken is falling off bone. Remove bones from soup and serve with your favorite bread and butter.
Serves 6-8 people
1 brisket, about 6 pounds, cleaned and trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 Spanish onions, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of black peppercorn
6 garlic cloves
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
3 small anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups dark ale, like Brooklyn Brown
8 cups Lamb stock
Season the brisket liberally with salt and pepper.
In a small roasting pan, sauté the vegetables in olive oil until golden brown. Add the herbs and anchovies and mix in the tomato paste. Place the seasoned brisket in the roasting pan with the vegetables and cover with beer and stock. The brisket should be covered by 1⁄2-inch of liquid. If needed, add water. Cover the roasting pan with foil and place in a 350 degree oven for 6 hours or until fork tender.
Take the brisket out of the roasting pan and strain the braising liquid. To make a sauce, reduce the braising liquid by half. To serve, thinly slice the brisket and spoon the sauce over it.
1 lb. unsalted butter
2 med. Spanish onions, small dice
1/2 tbsp. chopped garlic
1 c. each of portobello, shiitake, cremini, and button mushrooms, quartered to the same size
1-2 bags Stouffer’s breadcrumbs
Salt and black pepper
½ c. pickled red peppers, diced
½ c. Italian parsley, chopped
¼ c. thyme, chopped
1-2 c. boiling water
Melt butter and sauté garlic and vegetables until tender. Add breadcrumbs and season with salt and black pepper. Add peppers, parsley, and thyme. Add boiling water until moist. Rinse turkey cavity, wipe dry, and stuff.