Get Holiday Party Ready with Tabletop Media Group's Clients!

We love any holiday party that includes tasty bites and sips! Because other than good Christmas music, isn’t that what makes a holiday party special? Be the star of the show with these seriously delicious recipes from our favorite chefs and clients here in the Triangle! So, turn on “Jingle Bell Rock” 🎄, sit by the fire 🔥, and plan your holiday menu 🍗🥐🥂!

Chestnut Soup from Chef Teddy Diggs of Coronato Pizza

Serves 6-8 guests

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
2 medium shallots, sliced (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoon blended oil
1/2 cup peeled and sliced carrots
1/2 cup diced peeled celery root
1/2 pound white mushrooms, sliced
2 cups roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped
5 cups water or chicken broth
1/4 cup Brandy/Cognac
1 fresh bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz butter
Salt to season

Render the pancetta slowly over low heat for about 10 minutes. Sweat the shallots and garlic with the pancetta in the rendered pork fat. Remove everything from the pot.

In the same pot add the oil and increase heat to medium. Sautee the carrots, celery root, bay leaf, thyme and mushrooms until the vegetables begin to brown.

Stir in the chestnuts and shallot mixture (with the rendered fat) and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Deglaze with brandy and add water and/or chicken stock to cover. Simmer for 1 hour, until chestnuts are falling apart tender. Puree the hot soup in a blender in batches with the cold butter until it is very smooth. Season with salt throughout the blending process. Finish the soup by stirring in the cream.

Optional: Pass through chinois or fine mesh strainer.

Photo credit: Evan Erickson

Photo credit: Evan Erickson

Shoo Fly Pie from Chef Marco Zapata of Whiskey Kitchen

Ingredients for the pie dough:
12 oz. butter (cold, small diced)
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cold milk

Combine sugar, flour, salt and butter in an electric mixing bowl and using the paddle attachment mix at medium speed for about 5 minutes, just until you see small crumbs resembling hazelnuts at the bottom of the bowl.  If you do not have an electric mixer, you can use a food processor to make the dough.

As soon as hazelnut size crumbs start to form gradually stream in the cold milk while the mixer or food processor is still operating and continue to mix for an additional 1 minute or until the dough starts to form. Once the pie dough comes together make sure to not continue mixing or pie dough will be tough and chewy.

You can portion your pie dough at 16 oz. each depending on the pie pan being used; I use a twelve inch pie pan. After portioning your dough, shape it into a ball and press it down with the palm of your hand into a one inch thick round piece and tightly plastic wrap and chill for one hour or overnight.  This allows the dough to set so that it is easier to handle when rolling and shaping.

After the pie dough is cool and set allow it to thaw to where it is soft enough to roll out but do not allow it to become too soft to where it will fall apart when rolling. Before rolling, turn the dough on its side where it is one inch thick and beat the edges of the dough with the rolling pin, this will allow the dough from cracking on the edges and will help soften also for an easier roll. Lightly dust work surface and pie dough with flour and roll out into a ¼ inch thick round, shape into pie pan and chill for 10 minutes.  

Once cooled cover unbaked pie shell with a round cut piece of wax paper making sure it cover every inch and use pie weights for a blind baking method.  I usually use dry black beans since they are less flaky and if wax paper is not available, coffee filters are a good use too. The blind baking method just ensures that the dough will not rise and maintain an even flat surface when baked. Since the pie filling is pretty thin and runny, skewering the unbaked pie shell with a fork isn’t a good idea because the filling will leak through.

Bake at 350°f for 35 minutes, cool down completely before removing the pie weights and before adding pie filling.  You can always skip halve the work and just buy a pre-baked pie shell if it is too much for you.  I won’t judge.

Ingredients for the pie filling:
1 cup honey
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup molasses
1 cup brown sugar
8 eggs
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. cold butter
1 1/2 cups pecans
4 oz. cold butter
1 1/2 cups pecans

Using a medium sized sauce pot put honey, maple syrup, and molasses and bring to a boil and using a whiskey to help dissolve the sugar and prevent burning. While the syrup is heating, crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, add the salt and vanilla and lightly whisk together.  

Temper the syrup into the eggs one cup at a time by whisking and pouring at the same time.  Continue this process until all the syrup has been tempered into the eggs, this will prevent over cooking and scrambling of the eggs. Add in the cold butter after all the liquid has been tempered and lightly whisk to help it dissolve into the pie filling.  

Use a fine mesh strainer or colander to prevent any solid particles that might have collected in your pie filling from building up into the pie filling.  Cool down for one hour or overnight before using.  This recipe will yield about five to six cups of pie filling enough for two twelve inch pies. 

Pour 2 ½ cups of pie filling into the baked crust and arrange pecans on top.  If the pie looks a little low, you can gently pour more filling on top of pecans until you get the height desired. This also gives the pecans a glossy look. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, if the pie feels a bit soft in the center bake for an additional 5 minutes.  Cool for one to 2 hours or overnight before cutting and serving.  I like to sprinkle maldon salt and serve it with a side of soft whipped cream. 


Photo by Stacey Sprenz, Tabletop Media Group

Photo by Stacey Sprenz, Tabletop Media Group

Braised Pork Shank with Cauliflower from Chef Nunzio Scordo of Driftwood

4 pork shanks ( about 1 lb each )                        
1 lg carrot, peeled and diced
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 pc celery diced
2 tbsp Worchestershire
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Sprig Fresh thyme
1.5 qt Chicken stock
Kosher salt and black pepper

Season and Brown pork shanks in a hot skillet then place in a deep casserole dish or dutch oven. In another pot, saute onion, carrot, and celery until golden brown.  Add thyme, chicken stock, dijon, and worcestershire.  When it comes to a boil pour over pork shanks and  cover with foi. bake at 275 degrees for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours until tender.

For the puree:
2 heads cauliflower florets
4 each Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced large
1 pint Heavy cream
1/2 gal milk
1/2 stick butter
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tbsp kosher salt

In a medium pot put all ingredients together and simmer until potatoes are fork tender. Strain, reserving liquid. Carefully puree the potato mixture adding a little of the hot milk until the consistency is smooth but not loose. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Ingredients for the apple mostarda:
1 cup Golden raisins
½ cup Dried cherries
1/3 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Honey
1 tbsp+1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Mustard seeds
1 tbsp fresh Ginger ( peeled and chopped fine )
2 tbsp Cider vinegar
2/3 cup Water
Pinch Allepo chile flakes or red pepper flakes
2 Green apples, diced

In a saucepan, bring all ingredients except apples to a boil and simmer  for about 5 more  minutes. Then add apples and cook on low until thick and syrupy and the apples are cooked through but not mushy ( about  15 min )

To assemble the dish put some of the potato puree in a shallow bowl and place the pork shank on top. Then spoon some of the mostarda on the shank and enjoy.

IMG_6988 (1).jpg

Granny Helen's Sweet Potato Casserole from Chef Jake Wood of 18 Seaboard

2 large sweet potatoes 
1 tbsp salted butter 
2 tbsp brown sugar 
1.5 cups chopped pecans 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook sweet potatoes for 45 minutes or until skin separates from the potato. Then let cool.

Peel skin and mash with hands in mixing bowl until smooth.

Fill a 10” glass pie pan with the mashed sweet potatoes. 

Flash your pecans in hot butter with 1 tbsp of brown sugar until melted. Pour over top of sweet potato and spread evenly.

Top off with 1 tbsp of brown sugar and then bake off at 350 until sugar starts to melt(about 25 minutes)

Photo by Chef Jake Wood

Photo by Chef Jake Wood