Chef Jay Pierce: Executive Chef, Lucky 32, Cary and Greensboro

 Favorite holiday tradition: Thanksgiving is really all about side dishes. We don’t even eat that much turkey. Nobody in my family likes dark meat, so that goes in the freezer, and for Christmas I’ll make a turkey gumbo that we can eat as a late breakfast.

Essential kitchen tool: A wooden spoon. And the little gadget that I love is a vegetable peeler.

Typical holiday spread: I always cook a turkey; every year is different and I’ll try different flavors. Stuffing made with cornbread. Oyster dressing. Collard greens. Sometimes I’ll make roasted and whipped sweet potatoes. Brussels sprouts with bacon.

Dish: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Caramel Butter Sauce

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Peel potatoes and cut each potato in half lengthwise; slice into half moons.

In a mixing bowl, combine oil and seasonings; mix well. Add potatoes and toss well.
Spread potatoes evenly on sheet trays. Roast in oven at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, rotate trays and roast 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Serve with Caramel Butter Sauce.

Caramel Butter Sauce

1 cup heavy cream
1 pound light brown sugar
1/2 pound unsalted butter, cut into chunks

Heat cream in saucepot. Add sugar and stir continuously till melted.
When completely melted, remove pot from heat and stir in butter one piece at a time until all butter is incorporated.

“Butter sauce is really good on a table. In a restaurant where the plates are hot, it breaks your butter sauce. It’s hard to have something that’s delicate like that in a restaurant.”
– Chef Pierce

Bonus Recipes: Creamed Spinach

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound spinach, frozen leaf, thawed and drained
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons Anisette
1/2 pound cream cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Texas Pete Hot Sauce
salt to taste

Heat oil in skillet to medium heat. Sauté spinach until wilted.  Add onions, garlic and nutmeg. Cook until fragrant. Add cream and cook for about 2 minutes. Turn heat off and remove the spinach from the skillet with tongs, pressing lightly to extract the cream. Make corn starch slurry by dissolving corn starch in Anisette. Turn heat under cream down to low and stir in corn starch slurry. Simmer until the taste of cornstarch is gone, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in cheeses and Texas Pete with spatula, stirring until incorporated. Fold spinach back into cream mixture. Salt to taste.


Cranberry-Orange Chutney

1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup leeks, green part only, sliced to 1/4 inch
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 cup orange juice
3 cups dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground mustard\
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 cup dark brown sugar

Heat oil in a sauce pot over medium heat. Add sliced leeks; sauté until soft. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add orange juice and dried cranberries.

Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to blend. Continue simmering until dime sized bubbles appear. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *