Neighborhood Eats: 'Comfort conscious' at Smitty and Mo's

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- People who work at the Gateway Center in Downtown Newark know about Smitty and Mo's. A year and a half in - and the lunch lines remain long.

Michael Vann had a successful restaurant career in Manhattan, but launched Smitty and Mo's in Newark, where he sees real potential.

The restaurant is named for Vann's father, Mo, and his father's best friend, Smitty. The food is reminiscent of what Vann ate growing up - he calls it 'comfort conscious.' The menu features mac and cheese, chicken and waffles and healthier fare like rotisserie chicken and quinoa salad.

Vann plans to open up more Smitty and Mo's - a restaurant that is an homage to close family and friends.


Chicken Stock
2 whole Chicken carcasses
6 shallots split in half
4 carrots chopped
3 Celery Stalks chopped
Fresh sprigs of thyme
Dash of Sage
2 Bay leaves
1 Tablespoon of fine black pepper
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 whole clove
12 cups of water
(*feel free to add other vegetables too for the stock. The restaurant uses the ends and skins of squash and zucchini as well)

Method of Preparation
-Place chicken carcasses, shallots, carrots and celery on sheet pan; roast until golden, about 20 minutes @ 350 degrees.

-Place roasted chickens and vegetables in a large stock pot along with the remaining ingredients. Cover with 12 cups of cold water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium flame, simmer 1 -2 hours until the liquid is reduced by half.

-Strain, discard bones and vegetables.

Dumpling Recipe
1 All Purpose Flour
cup of corn starch
1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
cup unsalted butter (chilled) & grated
2/3 cup of Half & Half

Method of Preparation
-In a medium size bowl whisk all dry ingredients together until all are combined and there are no lumps.

-Toss in salted butter making sure the butter is completely coated with dry mixture.
-Pour in the Half & Half; mix just until blended. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface
-Make a 3 fold with the dough to incorporate dusting flour and produce layers; repeat twice.
-Roll dough out to about inch thick rectangle; with a plastic scraper or knife cut dough into strips and then cut into desired dumpling size.
Place on tray and refrigerate.

Chicken Soup (Yield 8 cups/ 4 servings)

1 onions chopped
2 carrots cut into rounds
3 stalks of celery cut on the bias
2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
1 tablespoon of salt
2 teaspoons of fine ground pepper
1 teaspoons of thyme
2 bay leaves
4 cups of stock
3-4lbs of baked chicken (no skin)
2 -3 cups of dumplings

Methods of Preparation
-Place 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil into soup pot, add onions and saute until translucent.
-Add carrots, potatoes, herbs & spices; stir just until blended. Add stock and turn to medium heat; bring to a simmer.

-Cut chicken into inch pieces and let simmer 10 minutes; then add celery.
-Add dumplings last. Allow dumplings 8-10 minutes to boil in broth.

*Stock can stay in the fridge 5-7 days; and in the freezer up to 6 months.

**Dumplings can be cut and frozen in a Ziploc up to 6 months.

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