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A Fourth of July feast by L.A. chef Martin Draluck

An overhead view of bowls and plates holding dishes including braised rabbit and macaroni and cheese.
Chef Martin Draluck’s Fourth of July spread.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times; prop styling by Jennifer Sacks)
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This week, we posted four of chef Martin Draluck’s recipes based on the food he cooks at his Hemings & Hercules dinner series, inspired by the work of James Hemings and Hercules Posey, chefs and enslaved property of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. As Draluck writes in an accompanying essay, “They’re also the men responsible for us eating things like French fries, ice cream and macaroni and cheese.”

Draluck has the distinction of being the first guest chef invited to develop a menu in the new L.A. Times test kitchen in El Segundo. For our Fourth of July-themed story, his dishes reflect the Hemings & Hercules dinners and the legacy of two of our nation’s great chefs. He brines and marinates lean rabbit legs so they are juicy and packed with flavor before grilling them until lightly charred and tender, perfumed by the thyme and rosemary in their marinade.

To go with the rabbit legs — which, if you can’t find, you can certainly substitute with chicken legs — Draluck serves his simmered take on baked beans, imbued with sweet spiciness from brown sugar, Worcestershire and plenty of chile flakes and hot sauce for heat. His macaroni and cheese recipe is a refined take on the typical recipe, utilizing cream, Parmesan, sweet sherry and plenty of freshly ground black pepper to form a complex, rich sauce for whatever pasta you like.

And for dessert, Draluck’s peach crisp, teeming with fresh thyme leaves, is warming, floral and dreamy topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s a dessert you want to make all summer long while peaches proliferate in the markets.

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Though the holiday is over a week away, now is a perfect time to start planning your holiday menu, and Draluck’s is a fine way to reflect on what the holiday actually means while enjoying his fantastic food.

Grilled Rabbit Legs

Coriander, fennel seeds and thyme add flavor to the brine in these rabbit legs, while maple syrup and rosemary add an earthy sweetness to the marinade.
Get the recipe.

A white plate on a white tablecloth holds lightly charred pieces of rabbit.
Chef Martin Draluck’s grilled rabbit with sweet onion and rosemary.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

Parmesan Mac N Cheese

Garlic, herbs, shallots and sweet sherry add dimension to a simmered cream sauce mixed with grated Parmesan for this take on macaroni and cheese. You can make the sauce ahead of time, then rewarm it before mixing with freshly cooked pasta.
Get the recipe.

Rigatoni noodles with sprinkled Parmesan in a white bowl with a wooden spoon.
Chef Martin Draluck’s rigatoni with cream, Parmesan, black pepper and sherry.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

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Baked Beans

A trio of celery, onions and bell peppers — which Draluck calls the “holy trinity” — grounds these slow-simmered beans, while ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire and lots of spices add that characteristic flavor of the classic baked dish. Use pinto beans, black-eyed peas or any small bean you prefer.
Get the recipe.

A pot with yellow handles, filled with baked beans, seen from above.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

Peach Crisp With Thyme

Fresh thyme leaves add floral freshness to this brown-sugar and graham-cracker-based peach crisp. Use fresh or frozen peaches or your favorite stone fruit in this warming summer dessert.
Get the recipe.

Peaches and ice cream in a bowl with a spoon.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

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