“Goose, Pomegranates, Tortillas, Oysters, Cornbread, Tequila—all of these things say ‘Texas’ to me,” notes Stephan Pyles, the 43-year-old chef and co-owner of Dallas’ celebrated Star Canyon. So when he sat down to create a Texas holiday feast at our request, he found indigenous ingredients becoming the foundation of a dinner with all the flavor and originality of his signature New Texas cuisine. In writing the recipes, he also found himself becoming nostalgic about Christmases growing up in Big Spring. “I wanted to evoke the comfortable familiarity of turkey and dressing, but I didn’t want to be a slave to tradition,” he says. The results honor Texas holiday favorites and, at the same time, strike out on new culinary trails.
His pumpkin-and-white bean soup is drizzled with pomegranate cream and sprinkled with the fruit’s jewellike seeds (“The one pomegranate tree in our yard in Big Spring wasn’t real bountiful, so whatever we got was a delicacy”). His salad of jícama, mango, and crisp tortilla strips has a distinctive Mexican accent. For the main course he bastes roast goose with a savory barbecue sauce and stuffs it lavishly with cornbread and oysters (“Even a goose from the frozen-food case seems wild, somehow”).
Dried cherries and toasted pecans enliven the traditional holiday relish, and maple syrup and smoky chipotle chiles give a lift to that old standby, whipped sweet potatoes. For the finale, Pyles creates plump dessert tamales, wrapping spicy cranberries, nuts and crumbled gingersnaps in corn-husk packets. “Cranberries are all-American; tamales are totally Mexican. I just like the idea of blending Texas’ two major cultures at Christmas,” he concludes.
Pumpkin-White Bean Soup with Pomegranate Crema Recipe
Jícama-Tortilla Salad with Tangerine Dressing Recipe
Barbecued Roast Goose with Cornbread-Oyster Stuffing Recipe
Cherry-Pecan Relish Recipe
Chipotle-Maple Sweet Potatoes Recipe
Cranberry Pudding Tamales with Tequila-Orange Curd Recipe
Most of these recipes may be prepared ahead and reheated before serving.