Thanksgiving Recipes from Chefs Across America
Chefs' Thanksgiving Favorites
Thanksgiving is the most truly American holiday, a celebration that unites grateful families in every corner of the country. But that doesn't mean that every table looks the same. There are constants, yes: It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without that big beautiful bird. Get beyond the turkey to the sides, however, and regional tastes and family traditions take over. We asked great chefs from coast to coast to share their favorite. A feast of local foods prepared with love: That's America the beautiful. — Sarah Karnasiewicz
New England: Tony Maws
"As a native New Englander, I love cranberries, and where I live I'm lucky to be able to find great fresh, heirloom ones. A friend of mine up in Bourne, Massachusetts, has bogs at the back of his farm — and not long ago bogs were common up and down the coast. The thought of having to resort to sauce from a can is just sad. This dried fruit chutney is a great alternative that you can make with preserved fruit no matter where you are and is super versatile."
Get the Recipe: Dried Fruit Compote
California: Traci Des Jardins
"I always, always barbecue my turkey. I also do a warm dish of Brussels sprouts tossed with brown butter and whole-grain mustard. And my stuffing has evolved over the years, but it is so fantastic now, I'm not changing it: It's full of chanterelles, chestnuts, leeks and gizzards from ducks raised by Liberty Farms, which is a great producer here in California."
Get the Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter and Grain Mustard
Southwest: Martín Rios
"I make an organic turkey, a cornbread and sage stuffing with dried figs, and a pumpkin pie with a pine nut streusel — but my favorite part of the meal is my bourbon-vanilla sweet potatoes in ancho chile butter, which have a great balance of sweetness and heat. I use New Mexican dried red chiles, grind them and then stir them into the butter and maple syrup."
Get the Recipe: Sweet Potatoes with Ancho Chile Butter
Midwest: Lenny Russo
"In November in St. Paul, cooking seasonally means working with storage crops, whole grains, dry beans, winter squash and preserved fruit. One of my favorite ingredients is soft wheat berries — they're locally grown here in Minnesota. I can use them as you would an arborio rice for a risotto or like a farro in a nutty stuffing studded with preserved cranberries. The stuffing goes great with game bird like duck or quail but works well with turkey, too."
Get the Recipe: Goose Breast with Preserved Cranberry Farro
The Rockies: Kelly Liken
"At the restaurant, we make a pumpkin pie martini from roasted pumpkin puree, maple syrup and pie spices shaken with a Colorado bourbon-style whiskey and topped with champagne. It's such a nice way to start the meal — you get the flavors of pumpkin without the heaviness."
Get the Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Martini
Puerto Rico: Roberto Trevino
"Pasteles are a Caribbean version of a tamale and a beloved holiday and festival dish here in Puerto Rico. These could be served as a twist on the traditional main — but they could also be a great way to use up leftover turkey!"
Get the Recipe: Turkey Pasteles with Cranberry Escabeche
Northwest: Vitaly Paley
"Using chapelure de legumes, or vegetable 'crumbs,' is a technique I learned in France when I worked there in the early 1990s. I just love the way the crunchy little flecks cover the roast and perfume the dish, add some color and accent the already crispy skin of the bird. I often use little guinea fowl because they cook up into a great one-pot meal, but it's easy to apply the same technique with a chicken, a turkey, a duck — almost anything."
South: John Besh
"Down here in New Orleans we make a turkey for Thanksgiving like everyone else, but it's our unique sides that set us apart. To serve with our rich dressings, a really simple fall salad of endive and roasted pears scattered with pecans and blue cheese is full of great contrasts: bitter greens, sharp, creamy cheese, crunchy nuts and sweet, soft fruit. And it's pretty."
Get the Recipe: Roasted Pear Salad