Dunkin Donut lovers can now create their own holiday recipes with Dunkin ingredients for a new take on classic dishes. Dunkin’s executive chef Jeff Miller is to thank for that. Miller sat down with us to talk about his favorite Dunkin holiday recipe, his personal style as a chef, and using coffee as a rub.
New Times: What makes holiday dinners more extraordinary than other dinners year round?
Jeff Miller: For me, holiday dinners are really extraordinary because they’re time with your family and friends and when I think about my most favorite or memorable dinners, they’re sitting around the table, like at Thanksgiving for instance, and everyone has a glass of wine in their hand, or a drink or coffee, and everyone is just sort of full and flushed and talking. I just love how it brings people together.
What is your favorite holiday Dunkin Donuts recipe and why?
That is a really tough question for me to answer only because I have about 20 people on my team from chefs and old school bakers and they all come up with a lot of recipes…it’s hard for me to pick a favorite but one thing people respond well to is the coffee marinated Brussel sprouts. I love coffee, I love Brussel sprouts and the young lady on my team, Heidi Curry, who created this recipe has done it three years in a row now and it brings together the best of both worlds.
What are some tips for using coffee as a rub for food?
There’s really two ways I love to use coffee at home and in cooking. One is you take the dry roasted coffee grounds like you get out of the pounds of coffee bags at Dunkin and use it as an ingredient in a spice rub. So you would use brown sugar, salt, pepper, maybe some herbs like thyme…maybe some oregano…you can make a little batch of it as a season for anything, like chicken on the grill, pork you can put on the oven to roast beef or something like that…it’s good for roasted and grilled meats.
The other thing I do use brewed coffee as a replacement for beef stock. So if you’re going to braise something, like short ribs, it gives it this richness.
What else would you use coffee in a traditional holiday meal?
Well, one of my favorite things to do around the holidays is a roast rack of pork. That’s a pork loin with the bones still attached, like eight or nine bones in a row…and you can even take two roasts, cut through the slits, tie it together, and make a crown. It’s called a “crown roast pork”. You can take the coffee rub and put it on there. That’s a really great option.
How would you describe your style as a chef?
You’re taught all different types of cuisines and when I cook at home, I kind of cook more Mediterranean. But you know, at work, I look at trends, competitors, and, most of all, and I listen to our consumers and what they’re asking for. And we want to create things that our customers will to come in our store and open their wallet and want to buy things with. That’s really our goal as chefs: find ways to provide things that people want and expect and maybe even not expect.
Natalya Jones is a food and music writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in entertainment and fun things to do in South Florida, follow her on Twitter.