A Trio of Texas Recipes to Transform Your Thanksgiving Dinner

by Margaret Richards on November 13, 2017 in Food+Drink, Lifestyle,
171113 Jack Allen TG e1510295576781

Looking for new recipe ideas for Thanksgiving? Then stop right here. Executive Chef Jack Gilmore, of Jack Allen’s Kitchen, has created a Thanksgiving spread to tempt us all. Texas Pecan Cranberry Chutney (pictured above, bottom left) and Sweet Potato Bourbon Gratin (pictured above, bottom right) are among the delicious dishes found in Gilmore’s cookbook, Jack Allen’s Kitchen: Celebrating the Tastes of Texas. So, start your tastebuds, and be prepared to transform your Thanksgiving meal from ordinary to unforgettable.

Texas Pecan Cranberry Chutney

“Cranberries are a natural fall ingredient. But they don’t grow in Texas, so I like to put them with a few ingredients that are native to the state: pecans and citrus. I soften the cranberries with fresh orange juice, which counteracts the bitterness of the berry. I also add a little local honey, but you really don’t need much. After you cook it with all the ingredients, it needs a little texture and crunch, so I fold in Texas pecans. This beats canned cranberry sauce any day of the week.”

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

12 ounces cranberries, fresh
1 cup apples, peeled, cored and diced
½ cup cider vinegar
1 cup orange juice
½ cup raisins
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger, ground
¼ teaspoon allspice, ground


1. In medium saucepan over medium heat, bring water and sugar to boil.
2. Add cranberries and next 7 ingredients, bring to boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, cool slightly, and add pecans and zest. Can be served at room temperature or cold.

Sweet Potato Bourbon Gratin

“This is simply a play on the regular potato gratin but – with the holiday season and the availability of sweet potatoes at this time of year – I suggest this as an alternative to canned yams in a casserole dish with marshmallows on top. Add bourbon and pecans to the mix, and Thanksgiving just got fancy. It’s great for serving at a big meal because it needs 20 to 30 minutes out of the oven to set up, which gives you time to finish other items you may be cooking.”

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup bourbon
1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced to 1/8 inch
1 cup pecans, chopped


1. In large mixing bowl, whisk together cream and next 6 ingredients thoroughly.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and butter a 10-inch-square baking dish.
3. Place layer of sweet potatoes in dish, and drizzle ¼ cup of cream mixture over it.
4. Repeat 2 times, pressing down each time.
5. Top with pecans, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
6. Remove foil and bake until cream is absorbed and surface is golden brown; 15 to 20 minutes. Let rest 15 to 30 minutes before slicing.


Ingredients (serves 6-8)

1 ½ cup cornmeal
1 ½ cup flour
⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt
⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon cream corn
⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon frozen corn
1 ½ cup buttermilk
3 eggs
⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon melted butter


1. Butter 13×9 pan, and preheat oven to 400 degrees, 375 degrees for convection oven.
2. In small bowl, combine first six ingredients.
3. In large bowl, whisk remaining ingredients together.
4. Stir in dry ingredients to form batter; pour into pan.
5. Bake for 16 minutes, turning pan halfway through for oven cooking. Test for doneness by sticking toothpick in center; it should come out clean.

Cover image courtesy Jack Allen’s Kitchen • Pumpkin Goat Cheese Tart | Tamale Jalapeño-Cornbread Dressing | Cornbread | Sweet Potato Bourbon Gratin | Turkey and Dressing Meatballs with Maple Giblet Gravy | Texas Pecan Cranberry Chutney