Holiday Recipes from Dancing Bear Lodge

Christmas,Heroes,Holidays,Local Heroes
November 1, 2009

Dancing Bear Lodge in Townsend, Tenn., serves a menu that reflects its Southern locale.

Photo Courtesy of Dancing Bear Lodge

Nestled in what tourists call the "quiet side of the Smokies," in Townsend, Tenn., is a peaceful mountain resort called Dancing Bear Lodge. There Chef Jeff Carter prepares a menu that reflects its Southern locale and is refined but not fussy.

"I love cooking comfort food, the food that fits this place, the log cabin look," he explains.

Like so many chefs, Carter's cooking emphasizes local ingredients: fresh water trout is smoked and paired with spicy black-eyed peas, locally ground cornmeal becomes creamy polenta, and collard greens and country ham are served alongside sorghum-glazed chicken breasts. In fact, Carter has a special affinity for the Southern staple, sorghum, particularly the light Muddy Pond sorghum produced in Monterey, Tenn. He uses it in desserts like his Tennessee Whiskey Cake and Sorghum Ice Cream, as well as in entrées such as his pistachio and rosemary-dusted pork tenderloin with sorghum sweet potatoes.

"Using sorghum is like using maple syrup or molasses. Anything that calls for molasses, you can use sorghum. It's a little lighter, and the flavor is a little different," he says.

Here are a few of Carter's recipes particularly suited to the holidays—cheese puffs are a great party food, and whiskey cake is a great dessert perfect to have on hand for any holiday get together.

By Anne Hattes, a food writer in Hartland, Wis.


Candied Pecans from Dancing Bear Lodge

A nutty topping for ice cream or coffee cake, and a nice gift to boot.

cheddar puffs

Tennessee Cheddar Puffs

Light and airy, these Cheddar Puffs are a perfect party appetizer.

tennessee whiskey cake

Tennessee Whiskey Cake

This moist cake features sorghum and Tennessee whiskey.

sorghum frozen yogurt

Sorghum Frozen Yogurt

The distinctive flavor of sorghum and the tang of yogurt meet in a one-of-a-kind dessert.


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