Recipes from National Museum of African American History and Culture

Thomas Downing-Inspired

NYC Oyster Pan Roast

6 servings

Adapted from a recipe developed by Albert Lukas, supervising chef at the Sweet Home Cafe in the National Museum of African American History and Culture.


12 baguette slices, for serving

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 of them melted

1 medium shallot, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 dozen freshly shucked oysters, preferably from the Chesapeake Bay, plus 1 cup oyster liquor

3 tablespoons Heinz chili sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup heavy cream

Generous 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Arrange the baguette slices flat on a baking sheet and brush the tops of each one using the tablespoon of melted butter. Bake (middle rack) for 12 to 16 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the shallot; cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender, then add the wine; increase the heat to medium and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until that liquid has reduced by half. Stir in the oyster liquor and cook just long enough for the mixture to begin bubbling at the edges.

Add the chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce and cream, stirring to blend well. Cook for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-low; add the oysters and stir to coat. Cook for 2 minutes, being careful not to overcook them.

Gently stir the Tabasco sauce and the remaining tablespoon of butter into the saucepan until thoroughly incorporated. Remove from the heat.

To serve, place 6 oysters into each wide, shallow bowl, then ladle the chili cream sauce over each portion. Garnish each with 2 baguette slices.

Nutrition | Per serving (not including baguette slices): 260 calories, 8 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 21 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 115 mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar



Son of a Gun Stew

6 to 8 servings

This is an updated version of the chuck wagon stew made by many freed black slaves who worked as ranch hands in the West after the Civil War. It contains ingredients they stocked, including barley, root vegetables and dried tomatoes. It is served at the Sweet Home Cafe in the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

MAKE AHEAD: The stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Adapted from a recipe developed by Albert Lukas.


4 pounds boneless beef short ribs

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup flour, or more as needed, plus 2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 large carrot, scrubbed well, then diced

2 large ribs celery, diced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup dry red wine

6 cups veal stock

1 bay leaf

2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks

2 Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed well and cut into bite-size chunks

1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 1 to 2 ears)

2 tablespoons cooked pearled barley

1/2 cup vacuum-packed sun-dried tomatoes, each cut lengthwise in half

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves


Season the short ribs generously with salt and pepper all over, then dust them with the 1/4 cup of flour (or more as needed).

Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof braising pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, work in batches as needed, adding the meat, browning it until crusty on all sides and transferring it to a plate as you go. (It will not be cooked through.)

Once the pan is empty, reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, carrot and celery, stirring to coat and dislodging any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then stir in the tomato paste; cook for 3 minutes or until a rich color and aroma have developed.

Add the butter; once it has melted, dust the contents of the pan with the 2 tablespoons of flour, stirring to incorporate. Cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the wine. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the liquid in the pan has reduced by half.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Return all the meat to the pan; once the mixture begins to bubble at the edges, cook for 2 minutes, then add the veal stock and bay leaf. Once the mixture has begun bubbling again, cover the pan tightly and transfer to the oven; cook for about 2 hours or until the short ribs are tender. Leave the oven on.

Use tongs to transfer the short ribs to a separate, ovenproof casserole that's large enough to hold them and the vegetables. Strain the pan liquids through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding the solids, then return the liquid to the pan. Cook over medium heat until it has thickened a bit; strain and discard any fat as needed. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the turnips and potatoes; once the water returns to a boil, cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are about three-quarters cooked. Drain and transfer to the casserole, placing them and the corn, sun-dried tomatoes and barley around the meat. Pour the thickened sauce over the meat and vegetables, then sprinkle the thyme on top.

Bake (middle rack, uncovered) for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Discard the bay leaf.

Serve hot.

Nutrition | Per serving (based on 8): 600 calories, 50 g protein, 29 g carbohydrates, 31 g fat, 13 g saturated fat, 175 mg cholesterol, 640 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 7 g sugar



Joe Frogger Cookies

24 to 30 large cookies

You'll need a 3-inch-round cookie cutter.

MAKE AHEAD: The dough is quite soft and needs to be refrigerated at least overnight and up to 1 day. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 day.

Adapted from a recipe developed by Albert Lukas.


1/3 cup water

1 cup unsulfured molasses

2 1/2 tablespoons dark rum

3 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

Generous 11/4 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Generous 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar, plus more for rolling


Combine the water, molasses and rum in a saucepan over medium heat; once the mixture starts to bubble, cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat to cool to room temperature.

Sift together the flour, sea salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves, allspice and nutmeg on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.

Combine the butter and cup of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer; beat on medium speed for a few minutes, until light and fluffy. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Add the cooled molasses mixture; beat on low speed until well incorporated. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, beating just long enough to form a homogeneous dough. Cover and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours) and up to 1 day.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper, and line your work surface with more paper. Sprinkle a generous amount of sugar over it.

Working with half the dough at a time (leaving the rest in the refrigerator), roll it out on the sugared surface to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut out about 12 cookies, re-rolling the scraps as needed. Use a wide, thin spatula to transfer the cookies to the baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 1 inch apart. Sprinkle the tops with more sugar. Repeat to use all the dough.

Bake (middle rack) one sheet at time for 10 minutes, or just until the cookies are set yet still seem soft at the center, rotating the baking sheet from front to back halfway through. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving or storing.

Nutrition | Per cookie (based on 30): 140 calories, 2 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 380 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 15 g sugar

Reader Comments

Next Up in Lifestyles

Mall of America says it's closed this Thanksgiving
Mall of America says it's closed this Thanksgiving
If you want to get some shopping done at the Mall of America this Thanksgiving, you may be out of luck The largest shopping center in the country...
Grown-up 'Middle School' stars reflect on their 'Worst Years'
        Pesky pimples. Sneering bullies. Awkward dances your dad just had to chaperone.
Review: Emily Blunt is excellent, but this 'Girl' is a trainwreck
The Girl on the Train is more successful as a public service announcement about the dangers of binge drinking than as a gripping, twisty mystery.
'Birth' of a controversy: Is Nate Parker's 'Nation' forever tainted?
 The timing couldn't have been better.Amid the #OscarsSoWhite uproar, The Birth of a Nation premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January and...
Spooked! Readers share ghost stories for new AJC podcast
Spooked! Readers share ghost stories for new AJC podcast
Gary Cox, who lives with his dog, Honey, in Benteen Park in southeast Atlanta, first encountered the ghost who lives in his house while taking a...
More Stories

You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99짖 for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of free premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99짖 for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on