Amy Thielen brings rustic fare to Food Network

The Minnesota-based chef puts simple, Midwestern cuisine in the spotlight

On the show, which will air six new episodes starting this month, Thielen's style is more educational than instructive. She advocates for cooking by sense, listening to the hiss of the cast iron skillet to know when a piece of meat has properly seared off or waiting until the pan is quiet to ensure that butter has been thoroughly clarified. Through her stories and easy workshopping style, her viewers and readers are given the confidence to experiment with food, but also to trust in their ingredients.

Despite all her tips, training, and technique, Thielen says she is not necessarily out to break down stereotypes of the Midwest as a hot dish wasteland, at least not on purpose. But something about her work does so anyway. "My interest was in getting down to the real recipes and the real history. I wanted for the book especially to be a reflection of the way we eat with lots of sides and salads and stuff from the garden. I put in a lot of desserts because that is what you always find in traditional Midwestern cookbooks. I think once you really dig into all of that, you naturally break down those stereotypes."

Cast iron glazed carrots
Courtesy of Food Network
Cast iron glazed carrots
Stovetop mac and cheese
Courtesy of Food Network
Stovetop mac and cheese

That said, her book has a killer recipe for chicken wild rice casserole topped with crushed Ritz crackers.

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1 comments
galamaria
galamaria

I'm a huge fan of Ms. Thielen!  Her book is anything but simple; extremely well-written, and definitely layered in terms of the recipes (her formal training shows through, but she filters that through a Midwestern lens of practicality).  SO excited about this second season! (And don't forget she's a Macalester grad!)

 
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