Chef Steven Devereaux Greene: Executive Chef, An, Cary

 Favorite holiday tradition: My favorite thing is just getting together — eating and cooking together.

Essential kitchen tool: A Japanese knife is the main thing. I use a blender a lot for making soups, smoothies, things like that.

Typical holiday spread: Glazed ham. Usually for Christmas we’ll do a roasted ribeye. My grandmother always liked prime rib with horseradish and au jus. My mom always makes green bean casserole and a bunch of different desserts. Glazed yams.

Dish: Chestnut-Apple Soup with Poached Cranberries, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Duck Confit.

Chestnut-Apple Soup

4 quarts chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 quart whole milk
1 white onion, peeled and chopped
24 ounces coconut milk
4 ounces dry sherry
6 green apples, peeled and cored
2 pounds chestnuts, roasted and peeled
1/4 cup honey
1/4 pound unsalted butter
salt to taste

In a large pot, heat butter over medium high heat until light brown, then add the chestnuts, onions and apples. Cook until onions are tender, and then deglaze with dry sherry. When the alcohol is cooked off, add the chicken stock and coconut milk. Once this comes to a boil, reduce heat and add in the milk and honey. In small batches, blend the soup until smooth. Omit liquid if you want it a touch thicker and strain through a fine mesh strainer or chinois for a smoother texture. Season to taste with salt and add more honey for sweetness, if desired.

Poached Cranberries

1 pound of fresh cranberries
1 cup port wine
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1 orange (juice and peel)

In a medium sauce pot, add all ingredients except the cranberries and bring to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce to a simmer for two minutes. Pour the hot liquid over the cranberries and cover. Poach the cranberries and let sit for at least 20 minutes.

5-Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 pound unsalted butter
3 tablespoons 5-spice ground

In a medium sauté pan, brown the butter over medium high heat then add pumpkin seeds and toast about two minutes. Strain the seeds onto an absorbent towel and season immediately with salt and 5-spice.

*To assemble: Warm your serving bowls slightly and ladle hot soup into the bowls. Next, garnish with duck or chicken confit (usually available in specialty stores; just remove bones and break into small pieces). Add the warm cranberries and pumpkin seeds. You can also finish this dish with fresh picked thyme.

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