Knott grills for Marine general


By Sandy Bond

Erik Knott

Erik Knott

Erik Knott of rural Mound City, advertising sales representative for The Mobridge Tribune and Bridge City Publishing, said that his passion for cooking led him to an incredible job while serving his country: “cooking and bartending for Lt. General Jack Burgman in New Orleans my last two years in the Marines,” he said.
He threw about 20 parties a year, Erik said, and he got to work with his enlisted aide, who was his chef. One of the chefs in New Orleans that would show up from time to time had been a chef for President Reagan and then at the FBI Academy.
“Mardi Gras was the best party,” he continued. “We would have around 400 guests at the General’s house.  Some were senators, members of Congress, other generals in the Marine Corps, admirals in the Navy, and even movie stars.”
He was able to meet movie and television actress Patricia Clarkson (“Pieces of April,” etc.) at one of the Mardi Gras parties and even took a picture with her, he said. “She truly is a genuinely amazing person,” he said.
While in New Orleans, he learned to cook many of the Cajun cuisines while doing all the prep work cooking for wedding receptions at the Magnolia Plantation House, a wedding reception hall that can hold up to 700 guests
“I would have about 15 girls, who were the servers, running back and forth for the trays of food that I would arrange,” he said. “I thought it was pretty cool that they always would answer me with ‘yes, chef’ or ‘no, chef’ even though I wasn’t a true chef.”
The son of the late Jerry Knott and Tomi Kae Travis and stepdad John, Erik and his sisters Jacque (Olson), and Jennifer (Travis), and brothers Todd and Ryan Knott grew up in Mobridge. Erik graduated from Selby High School in 1986. Son Zachary Aaron Knott, 21, lives in Sioux Falls.
“My wife Shelly (Lewellen) is the true chef in the family and we enjoy cooking together,” he said. “She is also amazing at baking. Her breads are incredible!”
Shelly is currently at Northern State University studying for a career as a certified public accountant. Although he admits his forte is grilling, his mother was his inspiration in the kitchen, he said.
“My mom gardens and supplies us with all kinds of good stuff,” he said. “When I get items from mom, I will use them in some recipes.”
Because of time constraints and pure convenience, he admits to resorting to either Pampered Chefs’ quick meals or Rachael Ray’s 15-minute meals cookbook.
He admitted to at least one cooking fiasco: forgetting that he had a pizza in the oven and leaving the house for about four hours.
“The house smelled like burnt pizza for a while,” he said.
His hobbies include fishing and hunting and he is a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“I adopted a nine-year old yellow Labrador last October,” he said. “He is an amazing hunting dog and traveling companion. His owner passed away and one of my customers knew I loved dogs, so he called me and I told him that I would take him.”
Erik’s favorite author is anything by Louis L’Amour and he enjoys listening to Enya (for sleeping) and Neil Diamond, because his dad really liked him, he said.

1 1/2 pounds sausage or cubed beef
3 tablespoons bacon drippings, if beef is used
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons flour
2 medium onions, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups rice
2 1/2 cups water
3/4 teaspoon red pepper
2 teaspoons salt
Brown meat in bacon drippings; remove, and add flour. Use a heavy black pot and brown flour to a dark roux. Add onions, parsley, and garlic. Cook until soft, then add water and rice, salt and pepper, and browned meat. When it comes to a boil, lower heat to lowest point and cook for about 1 hour, covered tightly. When rice is done, remove lid and let cook for a few minutes until rice dries a little. Serves 6 to 8.

Turkey jambalaya
2 tablespoons salad oil
1 cup green pepper, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
Pepper to taste
2 teaspoons (or more) Worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon thyme or marjoram, or both
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
1 to 2 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
1 to 2 cups cubed cooked ham
1 small can mushrooms
Heat oil and cook green pepper, onion, and garlic until lender. Stir in seasonings and water and simmer for 10 minutes. Mix in rice, turkey, and ham. Cook covered over low heat for 25 minutes or until rice is done. Add mushrooms with a little of their liquid. Cook about 5 minutes longer. Serves 6.

Barbecued shrimp
3 sticks butter or oleo, melted
2 cloves garlic, minced
Hot sauce, to taste
Salt and pepper
1 lime or lemon, sliced
Dash of oregano
1 tablespoon chill sauce
1 cup white wine
1 pound shrimp
To prepare shrimp: Take heads off and with a very sharp knife, slice them down the back and remove black line. Leave shell and tail on. Marinate shrimp for 1 hour or more in the sauce made from the above ingredients. Broil shrimp over charcoal fire turning and basting often. If preferred, bake in a 300-degree oven, basting shrimp often with sauce. Baking time about 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

Shrimp gumbo
2 pounds shrimp
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups okra, chopped or 1 tablespoon filé
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 can tomatoes
2 quarts water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
3 pods garlic (optional)
Red pepper (optional)
Peel shrimp uncooked and devein. Make roux (dark) of flour and oil. Add shrimp to this for a few minutes stirring constantly. Set aside. Smother okra and onions in oil. Add tomatoes when okra is nearly cooked. Then add water, bay leaf, garlic, salt. and pepper. Add shrimp and roux to this. Cover and cook slowly for 30 minutes.
If okra is not used, add gumbo filé after turning off heat. Serve with rice. Serves 6 to 8.


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