From his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, chef Nick Wallace has redefined modern, Mississippi-influenced cuisine by combining his upbringing on a family farm with his culinary innovation. He has earned his way to on the title lists of “Best Chef of Mississippi” and “Best Chefs America” by leveraging his innate talents to highlight Southern food, understanding flavor profiles, and touching lives in his community.
Wallace is the owner of CHURN Creameries 2022, Nick Wallace Culinary, Nick Wallace Catering, and Nissan Café by Nick Wallace. Additionally, Wallace is the founder of Creativity Kitchen, a nonprofit aimed at providing nutrition education, exposure to farm-to-table practices, and access to flavorful, healthy meals and culinary experiences for young, public school students and their families.
In addition to flexing his leadership skills as an executive chef at some of America’s prominent museums and hotels, Wallace has appeared in various network programs such as Bravo’s Top Chef and Chopped.
At Mississippi Chef Jam during 2022’s Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, Wallace showed off his palate-pleasing skills by preparing a smoked braised lamb with roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, soy harissa, curried cauliflower, and a goat’s milk brie.
Nick Wallace’s Smoke-Braised Lamb with Roasted Vegetables
serves 4 to 6
1 pound lamb shoulder or leg
8 ounces Nick’s 26 Seasoning
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon coarse-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon curry
1 quart water
1 bottle red wine
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 bunch fresh thyme
*Fresh herbs for garnish
3 ounces heavy cream
6 ounces goat’s milk
1 wheel Brie, broken into pieces
Juice of 2 lemons
Salt to taste
1 head cauliflower
Salt and pepper
¼ curry powder
Juice of 2 lemons
1 large sweet potato, peeled and quartered
½ stick butter
1 tablespoon Nick’s 26 Seasoning
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Juice of 1 lemon, divided
½ cup fermented red soybean paste
4 ounces soy sauce
2 ounces apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon creole mustard
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon black pepper
For the smoked-braised lamb shoulder:
For the goat’s milk Brie:
For the curried cauliflower
For the sweet potato purée:
For the lemon carrots:
For the soy harissa:
- Make the smoked-braised lamb shoulder: Heat hickory wood smoker to 280 degrees. Trim lamb shoulder and rub it with olive oil and seasonings. Place lamb inside smoker for about 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a roasting pan with lid, mix water, red wine, onion, celery, carrot, and thyme. Place smoked lamb inside pan and cover. Braise in oven for 2 hours. Rest lamb for 10 minutes before assembly.
- Make the goat’s milk Brie: Meanwhile, in a medium pot, bring cream and goat’s milk to a boil. Turn off heat, add Brie and lemon juice and set aside for at least 30 minutes. In a stand mixer, whip mixture until very smooth and season with salt. Keep warm for plating.
- Make the curried cauliflower: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a knife, score the cauliflower. Combine olive oil and seasoning and rub cauliflower down, then cover in lemon juice. In a roasting pan, roast in the oven for 22 minutes. Rest cauliflower and when cool enough to handle, use a fork to remove florets for assembly. Set aside and keep warm.
- Make the sweet potato purée: Bring 1 quart water to a boil in a small pot; add sweet potatoes, cover, and boil over medium-high heat until fork tender, about 15 to 16 minutes. Drain the potatoes. In a medium bowl, add drained potato, butter, seasoning, cream, and lemon juice. Using a hand mixer, whip until smooth. Set aside and keep warm.
- Make the lemon carrots: Peel carrots and cut on a bias. In a bowl, toss carrots with olive oil, salt, and half the lemon juice. In a skillet, sauté carrots until slightly tender, about 6 to 7 minutes. Deglaze skillet with remaining lemon juice and cook for an additional 6 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
- Make the soy harissa: In a bowl, use a hand mixer to whip first five ingredients together until smooth. Mix pepper into the sauce.
- Assemble: Place a tablespoon of goat’s milk Brie in the center of a plate and add 4 ounces of lamb on top. Spoon 2 tablespoons of sweet potato purée next to lamb. Add 2 florets of curried cauliflower and 3 pieces of roasted carrot to the other end of the plate. Use a teaspoon to place 3 dollops of soy harissa over everything. Garnish and serve.
Video by Damien Blaylock and Josh Clegg
Edits by Ed Foose
Sound design by Cole Furlow
Production by: Maggie Ward and Tim Mask
Location: Epicurean Hotel Atlanta
- by Erin Byers Murray