For her family's holiday meal, The Chew co-host Carla Hall is all about soul food—with a few simple chef tricks.

By Genevieve Ko
December 15, 2015
From Left: © Con Poulos; © Dustin Aksland

Carla Hall, a co-host of ABC’s The Chew, is famous for her nonstop joyful energy. But at Christmas, she’s even more exuberant. Last year, for instance, she spent all day baking cookies, then all night feeding them to friends at an impromptu party. Cookies are a particular source of happiness for Hall: She started a business called Carla Hall’s Petite Cookies in 2011, soon after her star-making turn on Bravo’s Top Chef.

Hall recently launched a Brooklyn spot called Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen, which she funded on Kickstarter. The menu was inspired by her grandmas’ soul food. “I’m always chasing flavor—those big ones I grew up eating in Nashville,” she says.

At Christmas, Hall is in charge of the dinner at her sister Kim’s house in Maryland. “As my gift to my family, I make everyone’s favorite dish and teach how to make it,” she says. “I want to be sure my grandmas’ recipes get passed on, so no more showing up just to eat—everyone’s gotta work for it!” For Kim, that means preparing a potato-beet casserole with a Parmesan-cheese crust; for Hall’s husband, Matthew, it’s glazing ham in apple cider and spices. And for her myriad nieces and nephews, it’s tangy pimento cheese. The recipes that follow are Hall’s master class.

1. Ombré Potato and Root Vegetable Gratin

© Con Poulos

2. Sautéed Collards and Cabbage with Gremolata

© Con Poulos

3. Pimento Cheese with Salt-and-Pepper Butter Crackers

You can’t have a derby party without pimiento cheese. I just won’t allow it. This classic version from Carla Hall is made in the food processor and can be refrigerated up to one week in advance. While the butter crackers are highly recommended, use store-bought saltines and celery sticks if you’re tight on time.


4. Buttery Butternut Squash Rolls

5. Buttermilk Eggnog Pie

Whether or not eggnog is your holiday libation of choice, this buttery spiced pie is irresistible. TV chef Carla Hall flavors her Southern buttermilk pie with rum and lots of nutmeg, which evoke the flavors of eggnog. It only takes 30 active minutes to whip up, which is ideal during the hectic holidays.

Con Poulos

6. Green Beans and Roasted Almond Crumble

7. Butter Lettuce Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette

8. Clove and Cider Glazed Ham

© Con Poulos

9. Lemony Gingerbread Layer Cake