Crispy Chicken Thigh, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sea Island Red Peas, Cheese Grits and Red-Eye Gravy

This is another copycat recipe from Husk Greenville, which is now becoming Husk BBQ. Below are two photos I took on back to back trips. Yes, I got the same thing because it was SOOOO good. As you can see, it was “VA Duck Leg, Grilled Sweet Potato, Sea Island Red Peas, Hurricane Creek Grits, Red-Eye Gravy”.

My wife won’t do duck, so I replace it with crispy chicken thighs. Not the same but as close as I could get and have her still eat it. I used mostly all local ingredients, many of which came from our favorite Swamp Rabbit Grocery. I also LOVE Anson Mills and everything they are doing. Not only are their ingredients the best, they have led a revival of ancient and heritage ingredients. Without the stewardship of folks like these we might have lost a lot of history and a lot of great food. Please follow the link (not an affiliate link) and buy one of everything. I promise, you will not be disappointed.


Ingredients Crispy Chicken and Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 4-6 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
  • 1-2 tbsp AP flour
  • Green onion to garnish, chopped
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes cut in 1/2 inch cubes
  • Olive and canola oil
  • Salt and pepper

Ingredients for Sea Island Red Peas

  • 2 cups Anson Mills Sea Island Red Peas (soak in water overnight)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1-2 shallot, cut in quarters
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Ingredients for Cheese Grits

  • 1 cup Anson Mills Quick Grits (soak overnight in 3 cups water at room temperature in a medium sauce pan)
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1-2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Ashe County Habanero Cheddar, shredded
  • Salt to taste.

Ingredients for Red Eye-Gravy

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp AP flour
  • 1 cup low sodium beef stock
  • 1/2 cup coffee (I wouldn’t use flavored coffee, dark roast is ideal to me)
  • 1-2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp beef – Better Than Bouillon
  • 2 tbsp lactose free half and half
  • Salt and pepper to taste


How to make Sea Island Red Peas

  1. Anson Mills Sea Island Red Peas should be soaked in water overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Coat a large sauce pan with olive oil over medium high heat. Add shallot and garlic toss until shallot is translucent.
  3. Add Sea Island peas and toss to combine. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
  4. Add two cups stock to cover, increase to boil then cover and reduce to simmer 15-20 minutes. Cooking until peas are just tender. Don’t over cook them. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Before serving drain the stock. You can reuse the stock (potlikker) for soups.

How to make Cheese Grits

  • The grits, as stated in the ingredients, should be soaked overnight. If you don’t use Anson Mills, you could replace with any store bough grits. Just follow the directions on the label.
  • Prior to cooking skim off and discard any chaff or hulls from the top of the soaking water.
  • Heat the sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring often until grits are creamy and tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  • Add butter and olive oil and stir to combine. Add the Habanero cheddar cheese and season with salt to taste. Cover and keep warm.

How to make Red Eye Gravy

  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  2. Whisk in the flour and cook until blonde.
  3. Slowly whisk in the coffee and beef stock until combined. Increase heat and bring to a boil the reduce to a slow simmer.
  4. Whisk in Worcestershire sauce, half and half and Better Than Bouillon.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.

How to make Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  1. Heat oven to 425F. Place the cubed sweet potatoes on a lined sheet pan. Coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
  2. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. Continue cooking until desired doneness, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Once cooked through I finished them with a few minutes under the broiler for extra color. Serve immediately or keep warm.

How to make Crispy Chicken Thighs

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet or stainless steel pan to medium high heat. Coat the pan with 50/50 olive and canola oil.
  2. Add flour, salt and pepper to a mixing bowl. Add the chicken thighs and toss to coat. We’re just looking for a light coating of flour.
  3. Add to the hot pan skin side down and cook until crispy, approximately 6-8 minutes. Turn and cook through until desire temperature (165° at the thick part). This can be finished in the oven as the potatoes are finishing if need be.
  4. Remove from the pan and allow to cool slightly.

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