HeartlandFarm-Forward Dishes from the Great Midwest

Years before field-to-fork became a buzzword, five-time James Beard Award nominee Lenny Russo was visiting pig farmers, organic greenhouses and wild rice producers, traversing the regional Midwest foodshed to source the most authentic local ingredients for his Heartland restaurant in St. Paul, Minnesota. The result is a peerless collection of 120 recipes by turns elegant and down to earth.

Russo, a Hoboken, New Jersey native, is endlessly inspired by the bounty of his adopted home. Having established an extensive network of partnerships with foragers, growers and producers in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and southern Canada, he relies on farm-direct ingredients to create a variety of savory dishes. Midwestern Cassoulet, Wild Rice Salad with Pumpkinseed-Basil Pistou, Smoked Cheese and Eggplant Polpette with Tomatillo Jam, Turkey Rillettes with Bourbon Apple Mustard and Chocolate Sorghum Tart are among the recipes in Heartland: Farm-Forward Dishes from the Great Midwest.

Occupying a vast, soaring space within a 1902 converted brick warehouse in St. Paul, the restaurant Heartland showcases an open kitchen, bar and chefs’ tables, plus a market purveying house-cured meats, fish, baked goods, preserved fruit, vegetables and wild mushrooms. Capturing the season’s bounty for Minnesota’s lean winter months is an integral part of Russo’s farm-direct ethos, and his staff puts up all manner of pickles and jams. Home cooks can capture seasonal flavors with recipes like Plum Catsup, Pickled Chanterelles, Apricot Mustard and Dark Cherry Chutney, while Sweet Corn Pots de Crème, Whiskey Cake with Bacon Crème Anglaise and Blueberry-Tarragon Cornmeal Cakes provide delicious endings to any meal.

Featuring profiles of the many producers who stock his restaurant’s larder, Heartland captures Lenny Russo’s infectious farmer spirit as a pioneer in the farm to table movement. It’s the story of how he created a regional dining legacy, told through page after page of delicious recipes.

All publisher’s profits  benefit Urban Roots Minnesota, a St. Paul-based organization that operates gardening, cooking, conservation and entrepreneurship projects for young people.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *