The celebrity chef's virtual cooking demo was part of the Climate Underground conference at Al Gore’s Caney Fork Farms in Tennessee

By Benjamin VanHoose
October 26, 2020 12:45 PM
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Carla Hall is chatting important issues and important dishes.

During the second annual (and virtual) Climate Underground conference at Al Gore’s Caney Fork Farms in Tennessee, industry leaders, including Hall, focused on the link between the food system and the climate crisis, as well as how regenerative agriculture and soil health can fight climate change.

"Chef Carla thinks and talks about food as a way of connecting people, and she has spread that passion in so many ways," Gore, 72, says to introduce the celebrity chef.

While preparing a Cornmeal Biscuit with Chicken Pot Pie Filling recipe, Hall, 56, outlined how hunger and food insecurity can disproportionately affect Black Americans.

"When you think about food equity, but also the health of people in every community, because food is medicine, often we separate the two," Hall says during her Share a Meal segment in the conference, which was live-streamed on Thursday. "When you talk about the inequities of food, you're also talking about the inequities of medicine and health and how it makes a huge difference."

She was joined by Janya Green, the winner of the 2020 4-H Youth in Action Pillar Award for Agriculture. The two discussed how knowing where your food comes from can lead to making healthier choices.

Green, who launched a community garden in Sylvester, Georgia, recalled a time when she was giving a tour of the garden and a student thought their vegetables originated from a grocery store.

"In that moment, I was like, 'Wow, some people just don't know.' That makes it even more important, especially for the younger generation, to understand how important it is to know where their food comes from," she says. "That's why I love to push being self-sustainable because you growing your own food, you know exactly where it comes from, you know there's no chemicals, nothing being processed, you know what you're putting into your body.  That connection to the agriculture, you get an appreciation for not only the food, but the land, the nature and the environment around you that you didn't even know about."

"We need the young generation, especially now, to understand and to come to the realization of saying, 'Hey, I grew this, I know what it takes to grow this and I know how important it is to know where my food comes from,' " she continues.

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Al Gore at Caney Fork Farms
| Credit: Hartmann Studios

Throughout the discussion, Hall demonstrates her "world-famous" biscuits recipe, which utilizes fresh ingredients. To make them at home yourself, watch the video above and follow the recipe below:

Cornmeal Biscuits

1 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 Tbsp. vegetable shortening

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 cup canned whole corn kernels, drained and dried

3/4 cup cold full-fat, cultured buttermilk

Non-stick cooking spray

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add the vegetable shortening and press it down into the flour mixture until completely coated, then rub it through your fingers until completely mixed into the flour. Grate the butter into flour mixture. Toss the corn into the mixture.

2. Add the buttermilk into the flour mixture until there are no bits of dry flour left — you may not need to use it all. The dough should be slightly sticky, but not wet.

3. Drop by large spoonful onto a buttered cookie sheet.

4. Chill dough unless baking immediately.

5. Preheat oven to 450°. Bake until the tops are golden brown and crisp, about 16 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving hot.

Chicken Pot Pie Filling

3 Tbsp. canola or other neutral oil

4 medium yellow onions, diced

1 lb. carrots, cut in half lengthwise then into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons

6 celery ribs, cut in half lengthwise then into 1/2-inch-thick slices at an angle

6 fresh sage leaves

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 fresh or dried bay leaves

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 qts. store-bought unsalted chicken broth

4 bone-in chicken thighs (mix chicken parts, if desired)

4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup frozen peas (optional)

1. In an extra-large Dutch oven or a stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, sage, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, then cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

2. Add all the chicken pieces, return to a boil, then lower to heat to maintain a bare simmer. Cover and cook until the chicken is just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Pull pieces out and transfer to a large platter as they’re finished.

3. Strain the stock through a sieve, reserving the vegetables and stock separately, but removing and discarding the herbs. Keep the broth hot.

4. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and bones and pull the meat into bite-size pieces.

5. In a very large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Whisk in the hot stock and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Continue cooking until the sauce has the consistency of heavy cream, then stir in the heavy cream. Bring to a boil again, then stir in the chicken pieces and vegetables until well coated. When the filling is hot, stir in the peas. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve filling over buttermilk biscuits.

**This recipe was provided to PEOPLE by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.**