Buttermilk Hill chef shares recipes for Christmas

Take a detour from the traditional route to the Christmas dinner table this year and serve rack of lamb with caper cream sauce from Buttermilk Hill Restaurant Chef Kara McClendon Bacchi. Blending old Southern charm with new Southern cuisine at this landmark Sylacauga restaurant and bar since 2006, Bacchi encourages holiday cooks to be inventive this season with a menu that features lots of butter and heavy cream and showcases the natural flavors of the entrée and sides.

The Buttermilk Hill chef bases her dishes on basic, traditional knowledge but develops her menu on a philosophy of taste, not measurement, she said.

“Don’t over season,” Bacchi advised. “Taste; and then, add. Don’t just add. I don’t use measuring spoons – just a pinch of this and a pinch of that.”

The pinches of ingredients help to prevent overpowering the light, natural flavors. Bacchi exercises caution in her methods, as she adds ingredients a little at a time, which helps her more closely control the plate. Cooking to the underside of recommended temperatures on steaks, for example, allows her to put the meat on a little longer to bring it up to order more precisely, she said.

She serves the lamb on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes with a side of tender-crisp asparagus seasoned with salt and pepper – a perfect complement to the delicate, tender lamb.

Buttermilk Hill Restaurant and Bar, located at 300 E. Third St. in Sylacauga, is a historic Victorian home that features the heavy plaster crown molds and embellished trims of a bygone era. The house offers private dining rooms, full bar service and an outdoor marble patio.

Visit the website at www.buttermilkhillrestaurant.com or call 256-207-1001 for reservations. But the restaurant is closed on Christmas Day, so be a little inventive and prepare this tempting platter for the holiday table this year.

Rack of Lamb

Cut four bones from rack. Season with dry rub, salt and pepper. Add olive oil in an oven-safe sauté pan. Heat to smoking point. Sear lamb on both sides. Put in 450-degree oven for 15 minutes (cooked medium). Let rest. Cut into four pieces between bones.

Plate over mashed potatoes and asparagus and drizzle with caper cream sauce.

Mashed Potatoes

Cut Yukon gold potatoes into quarters and boil until softened (about 20 minutes). Strain. Add unsalted butter, heavy cream and salt and pepper to taste. Using a whisk, mash the potatoes and stir until mixed well.

Caper Cream Sauce

Stir together heavy cream, a sip of white wine, salt and pepper in a small sauté pan. Heat on medium and stir as the sauce reduces. Add a small spoonful of capers and further reduce until thickening starts to occur. Turn heat to low. Add more cream if it’s ready too soon.


Steam asparagus in chicken stock until tender. Toss

with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Peach Bread Pudding


One long loaf of sandwich bread

3 eggs

Small can of peaches

1 cup sugar

Quarter gallon milk

Vanilla bean ice cream

Sorghum syrup


Mix all ingredients together. Spray crock with cooking spray. Fill with mixture. Cook at 450 degrees for one hour. Top with vanilla bean ice cream. Drizzle with sorghum syrup.