Chefs’ Holiday Favorites

Chef's Holiday Favorites

Photography by Mark O. Ramirez

Favorite dishes are an important part of holiday celebrations. The 4Memphis culinary partners share their choice picks for serving a delicious dinner this season. Add these ingredients to your shopping list and enjoy the chef's favorites! Bon appetit!

Erling Jensen

Lamb Sausage and Gnocchi with Blackberry Tamarind Sauce

Chef Meredith Gardner

Chef Meredith Gardner

Potato Gnocchi:
3 large baking (Idaho) potatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds), scrubbed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, or as needed
Boil potatoes until soft and tender. Place boiled potatoes into food mill and process them through. Mix in egg, salt, white pepper, nutmeg, and parmesan. Fold in flour gently. Roll mixture in long skinny tubes. Cut 1 inch dumplings and roll gently off the back of a fork. Place on a baking tray and freeze. Once frozen, blanch gnocchi in salted boiling water. Remove once tender all the way through. Serve with lamb sausage topped with a blackberry tamarind sauce.

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Itta Bena

Black Eyed Pea Succotash

1 cup black eyed peas, cooked
1 cup edamame, blanched
½ cup sweet corn
1/8 cup shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup white wine
2 tablespoons cream
2 Mahi fillets
On medium-low heat, sweat shallots and garlic until soft. Turn heat up and add corn - cook for 2 minutes. Add edamame and black eyed peas. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Deglaze with wine and reduce by half. Add cream, stir to incorporate.Remove from heat and serve with grilled Mahi fillets.

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Chef Justin Kruckman

Thistle & Bee

Culinary for a Cause

Thistle & Bee's mission is to help women who have survived prostitution and trafficking thrive through a holistic approach addressing physical, spiritual, emotional, and financial health.

They empower women who have survived sex trafficking and prostitution to rebuild their lives in community with one another, and with the support of the Thistle & Bee staff and volunteers through a social enterprise model.

The organization’s social enterprise generates revenue to support programs designed to help women on a journey of healing and hope. The women served by Thistle & Bee are helping care for 80 bee hives. They are baking granola, harvesting and bottling honey, making soap, tea, and other products to supply over a dozen retail outlets, pop up and farmers markets, and online sales. They are earning an income as they acquire a host of skills—from process mapping and inventory control to stress management and customer service.

When you sprinkle Thistle & Bee granola over a bowl of yogurt or stir a spoonful of Memphis Honey into a mug of steaming tea, you are joining a movement to make the world a more just place for women everywhere.

Thistle & Bee products are available at numerous Memphis-area locations including Babcock Gifts, Curb Market in Crosstown Concourse, Dixon Gallery and Gardens Gift Shop, High Point Grocery, novel, as well as online at “Bee” sure to look for them at the Memphis Maker's Market at Muddy's in midtown on December 7, and at the Downtown Holiday Market on December 14.

Bleu Restaurant & Lounge

Berkshire Pork Chop

10 ounce pork chop
3 ounces candied bacon brussels sprouts
2 baby carrots halved
3 ounces apple maple-bacon sauce
Season the pork chop with salt,
pepper, and Cajun seasoning;
grill to desired doneness.
Top with apple maple-bacon
sauce, and serve with brussels
sprouts and baby carrots.

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Kooky Canuck

Fried Tourtiere,
French-Canadian Meat Pie

Fried Pie Dough:
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon shortening
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 egg, beaten
Combine milk and egg and set aside.
Whisk together flour, salt, and sugar then cut in shortening. Toss lightly with egg and milk mixture just until dry ingredients are moistened. Roll into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Roll pastry on a lightly floured board into 4 inch circles, 1/8 inch thick.

Tourtière Filling:
3 pounds ground pork
2 potatoes, diced
2 white onions, diced
3 tablespoons pepper
4 tablespoons salt
2 cups water
Combine pork, potatoes, onions, salt, pepper, and water in a pot. On medium high heat, bring all ingredients to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Once the meat is cooked thoroughly and potatoes are soft, remove from heat. With a wire whisk, stir mixture until some of the potatoes are broken down.
Fill half of the circle of dough with filling. Fold half of circle over filling to make half-circles, making sure to crimp the edges well. Deep fry in hot oil at 350°F until golden brown. Serve with your choice of spicy ketchup or mustard.

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Chef Shawn Danko

Salud! at Whole Foods, Poplar Avenue

Leafy Green and Sweet Onion Gratin

2 medium onions, cored and quartered lengthwise
¼ cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 bunch greens (turnip, kale, mustard, collard – your choice!), stems removed and chiffonade
3 cloves, sliced garlic
2-3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup dry white wine
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 ounces fontina cheese, shredded
¼ teaspoon paprika
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the onions in a large casserole dish and toss with ¼ cup of olive oil; season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake until soft and lightly browned, stirring occasionally for about an hour. Set aside.
Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and saute the greens until tender. Once the greens are halfway cooked through, add in the sliced garlic and continue to cook, reducing the heat if necessary, to keep the garlic from burning. Once tender, stir in the apple cider vinegar to taste.
In a 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring well to incorporate. Cook for 1 minute to cook out the raw flour taste. Whisk in the cream and wine, stirring until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and fresh nutmeg.
Preheat the broiler.
Stir the cooked greens with the cooked onions and pour the sauce evenly over the vegetables. Cover the top with the parmesan and fontina and sprinkle with paprika. Broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown on top, about 2 minutes. Serve hot.

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Chef Bri Rogers

Owen Brennan’s

Regal Salmon

Salmon Fillet & Shrimp
4 40/50 shrimp
1 julienned poblano pepper
1 7 ounce salmon fillet
4 button mushrooms, sliced
¼ julienned red onion
Season salmon with salt and pepper and grill for 7 minutes. In a skillet, sauté shrimp. Once shrimp are cooked, add in peppers, mushrooms and onions and sauté until tender.
Garden Risotto
¼ cup diced onions
1 cup white wine
2 cups arborio rice
6 cups chicken stock
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup parmesan cheese
¼ cup garlic roasted tomatoes
¼ cup spinach
¼ cup button mushrooms
First, sauté onions until transparent. Next add white wine and reduce until gone. Add arborio rice and 2 cups of chicken stock, constantly stirring. Reduce until it is gone, then add 2 more cups chicken stock; repeat once more. Stir in parmesan cheese and heavy cream. In a separate skillet, sauté garlic roasted tomatoes, spinach and button mushrooms, then mix into risotto.
Serve Regal Salmon on Garden Risotto and top with a white wine cream sauce.

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Chef Harrison Estes

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