In our second session of our Meet Your Local series, we’re making Chef Greg Collier’s family recipe for Hobo Stew. Incredibly flavorful and fulfilling, this bowl of warmth is the ultimate comfort food staple.
I first had the pleasure of meeting Greg during my tour of the Olde English District of South Carolina.
Our group dined at his restaurant, The Yolk, while we got to know each other a little better over a bountiful, bad-ass breakfast. I immediately admired his dedication and creativity in the kitchen. He’s extremely talented and comes up with the craziest, tastiest concoctions. He’s also so humble… his outlook on cooking (and life in general) is really inspiring. So, naturally I was tickled pink when he agreed to come cook with me in MY kitchen! We’re both Leos, a little bit goofy, and had an absolute blast.
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I am incredibly honored that Greg decided to share his family’s Hobo Stew on my blog. It’s the last dish he made with his sister, Leah, before she passed away and our cooking session was the first time he had made it since. His dad would make this recipe often, so it’s literally been passed down from generation to generation.
First things first, you’ll start with the tomato juice.
You can make your own or use store-bought, it’s really up to you. Go ahead and start to simmer the juice over medium heat. Next you’ll chop up the potatoes into bite sized pieces. The beauty of this Hobo Stew is how customizable it is. We used Yukon golds in today’s post, but you can really use whatever potatoes you have on hand. Once they’re chopped, toss those bad boys into the juice to start cookin’. If you prefer a bit of a kick with your stew (totally recommended), add a few dashes of Tabasco.
Greg’s meatball recipe is simple and to the point.
It’s just the fundamentals: Ground beef, herbs, eggs, salt + pepper, spices, and a little Worcestershire sauce. That’s it, no fancy frills. When mixing the meatballs together, you’ll want to form a ball about the size of your palm. PRO TIP: Make sure to taste your meatball mixture BEFORE forming all the meatballs (I learned this the hard way) and adjust seasonings where necessary. The best way to do this is to pan-fry a tiny piece of spiced meatball mixture and then eat it. Add more seasonings, if necessary, and test the mix again. Once perfected, drop the meatballs into the simmering tomato juice and potatoes. Don’t worry about overcrowding the pot, if you need to add additional tomato juice or water… that’s ok! That’s the beauty of home cooking.
Allow meat and potatoes to simmer for at least 15 minutes, or until the meat has cooked through and the potatoes have softened.
Add additional Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce until you’ve reached your preferred flavor preference. We added about 1 tbsp. Tabasco and a little over 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce when simmering our stew. To finish, we sprinkled the entire dish with fresh parsley and served it alongside cheesy toast for dippin’.
Now THIS is a meat and potatoes masterpiece… don’t ya’ll agree?
- 64 ounces of Tomato Juice
- 1.5 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes
- Tabasco sauce, as needed
- 1.5 pounds Ground Beef
- 2 Eggs
- Worcestershire sauce, as needed
- 2 - 3 tbsp. of your favorite spice blend for Meatballs
- Salt + Pepper
- Fresh Parsley, chopped
- 1 medium size Baguette, sliced
- 4 - 6 ounces Mahón Cheese (or another salty variety), shredded
- Fresh Parsley, chopped
- Slowly bring tomato juice to a slow simmer in a large stock pot over medium heat. If preferred, add a few dashes of tabasco.
- While you are waiting for the tomato juice to simmer, cut potatoes into small bite-sized pieces. Add them to the pot and continue to simmer while you make the meatballs.
- To make the meatballs, mix together the ground beef, 3 – 4 tbsp. chopped Parsley, eggs, preferred seasonings, salt + pepper, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Test your meat seasoning by pan frying a tiny dab of the spiced meatball mixture before forming the meatballs. Once cooked, eat it and adjust the seasonings as you feel necessary.
- Once the meatballs have been formed, add them to the simmering tomato juice and potato mixture. Add about 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce and an optional 1 tbsp. of Tabasco to the pot as well. Allow all ingredients to simmer for at least 15 minutes, or until the meat is cooked all the way through and the potatoes are tender.
- While you are waiting for the Hobo Stew to cook, make the cheesy toast. Simply cut a baguette into smaller rounds and place them flat on a non-stick cookie sheet. Sprinkle with desired amount of cheese and pop them under the broiler for 3 – 4 minutes, or until melted and slightly browned around the edges. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with Hobo Stew.
Let’s get to know one of Charlotte’s most creative kitchen connoisseurs a little better…
Chef Gregory Collier was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. He moved to the Charlotte region with his wife, Subrina, in 2012 and started their “love affair with breakfast” by opening The Yolk in Rock Hill. After six years of operating in South Carolina, they moved their bustling cafe to Uptown Charlotte’s 7th Street Market in January 2019. Here, The Yolk serves lunch in addition to their gastronomical AM options and then the space transforms into a chef-driven concept at night (which will rotate every few months). The idea here is to allow newer chefs the opportunity to operate a brick-and-mortar and get their name out there. Currently, 225 Street Food is using the space in the evenings.
Greg is also the Executive Chef and mastermind behind the menu at Loft & Cellar and co-founder of the collaborative dinner series, Soul Food Sessions (which I’ve previously written about… read that post by clicking here). And if all of these amazing ventures aren’t enough…
Greg was just listed as a semifinalist for Best Chef in the Southeast by The James Beard Foundation! Way to go, Chef!
MEET YOUR LOCAL: CHARLOTTE CHEFS
This season of Meet Your Local is highlighting simple, scratch-made meals created by some of my favorite culinary professionals in Charlotte. Here you’ll find a behind-the-scenes spotlight of their favorite recipes to cook at home.
Cooking is a part of everyone’s life, including trained chefs! We hope that these recipes encourage you to get in your kitchen and whip up a little somethin’ special from scratch. After all, cooking shouldn’t be complicated (it should be fun)!
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