Harlem’s Resident Swede Marcus Samuelsson Dishes Up Sweet Potato and Lamb Hash
The final installment in our Chefs on Sundays series presents Red Rooster Harlem owner Marcus Samuelsson and his celebrated Sunday Gospel Brunch, served up by I Love You magazine founder Marcus Gaab and styled by Victoria Granof. The Ethiopian-born, Sweden-raised Samuelsson made a name for himself as head chef at New York’s lauded Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit, before going on to write award-winning cookbooks, appear on Top Chef Masters and Iron Chef America, and preside over the menu at President Obama’s first state dinner in 2009. Samuelsson’s latest endeavor is the ultimate representation of his diverse heritage and distinctive approach to cuisine. At Red Rooster Harlem, the menu features everything from Swedish meatballs to “Fried Yard Bird” (chicken, in old Harlem vernacular). After spending Sunday mornings devouring croissants and the newspapers with his wife, Samuelsson plays soccer with fellow ex-pat Swedes in Chinatown before hosting Red Rooster’s crowd-pleasing weekly Gospel Brunch. His current menu highlight—sweet potato and lamb hash––melds the American Old South (sweet potatoes), North Africa (lamb), and France (Béarnaise sauce).
Where's your favorite place to shop for food in Harlem?
I love the Harlem Harvest Farmers' Market. Living in Harlem and owning a business here, it's important to support the market.
Kitchen appliance you can’t live without?
My “Inspired By Marcus” BlueStar outdoor range oven. I can use it to cook for elaborate dinner parties, or to grill on simple and casual summer evenings.
What’s your poison?
One of my favorite drinks is The Brownstoner, a cocktail we created for Red Rooster Harlem. It has nutmeg-infused bourbon, St. Germain and Cherry Heering, served in a Martini glass and garnished with an orange peel.
Essential ingredients in your pantry?
My pantry is crammed with all sorts of ingredients, but one of my favorites is berbere, an Ethiopian spice blend. It's flavorful and versatile: you can rub it on meat or even mix it with oil for a vinaigrette.