Maybe you watch a lot of Food Network. Then you, like me, have probably learned that watching television does not make you a great cook. Making food, on the other hand: That can make you a great cook.
So we asked Dallas chefs what they cook for their loved ones when they're in the kitchen on Thanksgiving. Some of the recipes involve canned goods. Others are borrowed recipes. On the whole, all these chefs say they cook food that makes them happy, no matter how simple or elegant.
Here are 8 Thanksgiving recipes tested and loved by Dallas chefs:
Your all-in-one recipe
Chef Kent Rathbun's rosemary roasted pork rack with foie-gras grilled mushroom stuffing
For the stuffing:
- 4 cups cornbread, diced large
- 2 cups pumpernickle bread, diced large
- 8 ounces foie gras, diced large
- 1 cup onion, peeled and diced small
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 4 large portobella mushrooms, stem and gills removed, diced small
- 1/2 cup carrot, diced small
- 1/2 cup zucchini squash, diced small, using the green exterior part of the squash
- 1/2 cup yellow squash, diced small, using the yellow exterior part of the squash
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, diced small
- 2 cups Swanson's chicken stock
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon sage leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon basil leaves, chopped
- 1/2 pound butter, cubed and softened
- 2 ounces maple syrup
- 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Kent Rathbun Elements Steak & Chop
- Garlic salt
For the pork rack:
- 1 large pork rack (bone in)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Kent Rathbun Elements Steak & Chop
- Garlic salt
- 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves, chopped
To make the stuffing:
In large mixing bowl, add corn bread and pumpernickel bread.
In a sauté pan, sauté foie gras until crisp, remove from pan and set aside. (Retain fat.) In the same pan sauté the onions, and garlic in the foie gras fat until translucent then add mushrooms, carrot, zucchini, yellow squash and red bell pepper and cook until they start to brown and soften. Remove from heat.
Mix together the breads, chicken stock, eggs, sage, thyme, basil, butter, maple syrup, scallions, and the foie gras mixture and vegetable mixture. Season with Kent Rathbun Elements Steak and Chop and garlic salt.
Transfer to greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until bread is firm and golden brown on the top.
To cook the pork rack:
Place pork rack on a roasting pan and rub with olive oil. Season with Kent Rathbun Elements Steak and Chop, garlic salt and chopped rosemary.
Roast in a 375 degree oven until desired temperature has been reached.Appetizer
Chef Lisa Garza-Selcer's deviled eggs
The chef-owner of Sissy's Southern Kitchen and Bar calls her deviled eggs "Daddy Terry's Deviled Eggs" because they were made just for her father-in-law, Terry. (She wanted to make curry and caviar deviled eggs, but Terry doesn't like curry.) As it turns out, her workaround recipe is just as well loved.
- 12 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
- 1/3 cup mayo
- 3 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons cornichon pickling liquid
- 10 cornichons, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp tarragon, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon parsley, chopped
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Fried salami as a garnish (instructions below)
Slice each egg in half, remove yolk, and set aside. Rinse egg white until clean.
In a food processor, blend egg yolks, mustards, mayo and pickling liquid together until smooth.
Place egg mixture in a mixing bowl. Fold in herbs, cornichons and season with salt and pepper.
Place mixture in pipping bag. Fill each egg, making a mound on top. Garnish with fried salami strips. (To make the fried salami, chef Garza-Selcer uses Salami Molinari, which is a mild hard Italian salami. Peel the outside layer off, slice it into thin rounds, and then into strips. Use a fine strainer to fry in 350 F oil for 45 seconds. Drain well on a paper towel. They can be stored in an air-tight container.)
To go with the turkey
Scott Gottlich's favorite cranberry-corn relish
Chefs are real people, too, reminds Scott Gottlich, chef-owner of the Second Floor by Scott Gottlich and 18th & Vine BBQ. So his favorite Thanksgiving dish is a simple condiment his mom makes, taken from Cooking Light in 1999.
He calls it "good old comfort food at its best." They eat it with their turkey.
- 3/4 cup dried red onion
- 4 Tablespoons cilantro, minced
- 28 ounces of whole-berry cranberry sauce
- 2 cobs of corn
- 7-ounce can of chopped green chiles, undrained
- 14 ounces of cranberry jelly sauce
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Ask a chef what they can't live without on Thanksgiving, and a majority of the ones we talked to said "stuffing." Interesting! Here are their recipes.
Chef Dean Fearing's cornbread tortilla stuffing
Dean Fearing, chef-owner of Fearing's Restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton, cooks in his restaurant and at home for Thanksgiving. (Busy guy!) The recipe below is his favorite dish:
- Vegetable oil, for frying 14 six-inch corn tortillas, halved and cut into 1/4-inch strips
- 6 cups crumbled corn bread
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking dish
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped sage
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 quart Tortilla Broth (recipe below)
- Kosher salt
In a large saucepan, heat two inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the tortilla strips over moderately high heat, stirring a few times, until golden and crisp, 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the strips to paper towels to drain, then put them in a bowl; add the corn bread.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the cilantro, sage, thyme and chili powder and cook until the chili powder is fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the Tortilla Broth to the skillet and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Pour the mixture over the tortilla strips and corn bread, season with salt and toss gently to coat. Let stand until the broth has been absorbed, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Transfer the dressing to the prepared dish and cover with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, until heated through. Uncover and bake for about 15 minutes longer, until the top begins to brown. Serve at once.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Two 6-inch corn tortillas, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 cup canned tomato puree
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
To make Tortilla Broth:
In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the chopped tortillas and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the tortillas are crisp and the garlic is browned, about 3 minutes.
Add the minced onion to the saucepan along with the tomato puree and bring to a boil. Add the stock, chili powder, bay leaf and cumin and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until reduced to 1 quart, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender. Add a pinch of cayenne and season with salt.
You can make this ahead: The broth can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
Chef Brian Luscher's bread stuffing
His sage bread stuffing recipe:
- 2 ounces butter
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 2-3 ribs celery and celery leaves, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pint mushrooms, cleaned and diced
- 2 T garlic, minced
- 1/4 ounce fresh sage, sliced into ribbons
- 1 large loaf bread, crustless, cubed and dried overnight
- 2-4 cups turkey or chicken stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place bread in a large mixing bowl.
Preheat medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add butter and sweat onions until translucent. Add celery and bay leaves, repeat. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until all are softened and aroma of garlic is evident. Add sage and toss to incorporate.
Place bread in a casserole dish. Pour vegetables over bread.
Heat stock in pan. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Pour stock over bread in additions until bread is moistened.
Cover the casserole dish with parchment paper, then foil. Bake at 375 for 2-3 hours. Remove, uncover and serve.
Now, onto dessert
Pastry chef Andrea Meyer's favorite pumpkin banana mousse tart
Andrea Meyer, chef-owner of Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie in Dallas, turns to Food Network personality Ina Garten for her must-make Thanksgiving dessert. Here's Garten's recipe, also available on foodnetwork.com:
For the crust:
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (14 crackers)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 extra-large egg yolks
- 1 package (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
- 1 ripe banana, finely mashed
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter in a bowl and mix well. Pour into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press evenly into the sides and then the bottom. Bake for 10 minutes and then cool to room temperature.
For the filling, heat the half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until hot, about 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl, stir some of the hot pumpkin into the egg yolks to heat them, then pour the egg-pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well. Heat the mixture over the simmering water for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. You don't want the eggs to scramble. Remove from the heat.
Dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Add the dissolved gelatin, banana, and orange zest to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Set aside to cool.
Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture and pour it into the cooled tart shell. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.
Chef Braden Wages' coconut cream pie
Coconut cream pie for Thanksgiving? Oh yes: "We used to serve pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but ended up replacing it with coconut," says Braden Wages, co-owner of Malai Kitchen. "We haven't looked back."
"It is one of my family's favorites and a great dessert to share as a family. I love this recipe because it is light and refreshing with just the right amount of sweetness and tangy tartness from the caramel. Plus, it doesn't overwhelm after a big Thanksgiving meal."
- 3 cups coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick butter, melted
Coconut cream pie filling:
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon dark rum (optional)
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon gelatin
- 5 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
Tamarind caramel sauce:
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup tamarind puree
To make pie crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix coconut flakes and flour together. Add melted butter and salt, and mix well.
Press into pie pan evenly. With foil, cover pie rim with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 5 more minutes to brown the edge. Crust should be golden brown and crispy.
To make coconut cream filling:
In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine half & half, coconut milk, sugar, salt and rum. Heat until it begins to simmer. Reduce heat to low. Add egg yolks slowly while constantly stirring to avoid cooking eggs. Continue cooking mixture over low heat until it thickens to coat the back of a spoon.
Mix in gelatin and stir until dissolved. Then immediately pour mixture into prepared coconut pie shell.
Cool for 2 hours until cool throughout. (It should be semi-firm.)
To make meringue:
In a glass or stainless steel bowl, mix together egg whites and sugar. Heat over a double boiler, and stir constantly to dissolve sugar and to avoid cooking the egg from cooking. Remove from heat and whip until glossy and stiff peaks occur. Spread on top of pie and caramelize top of meringue with a blow torch.
To make tamarind sauce:
In a sauce pan, cook the water and sugar on high heat until sugar caramelizes and turns golden brown. Reduce heat to low, and slowly pour in cream in while stirring constantly to incorporate evenly. Turn heat off and mix add in tamarind; mix well.
Transfer to heat resistant container, and cool until ready to eat.
Once prepared, the pie can hold for 24-48 hours if kept cold. To serve, put chilled caramel sauce on plate first and place slice of pie on top so it saturates the crust while keeping the layering of the pie's layers clean and exposed.
Justin and Diane Fourton's sweet potato-pecan pie
Pecan Lodge, lauded as one of the best barbecue joints in Dallas, specializes in smoked meat. But it turns out that owners Justin and Diane Fourton have some pastry skills, too. Here's their sweet potato-pecan pie.
For the pie crust:
- 3 ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ¾ cup butter
- 2/3 cup ice cold water
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
For the pie filling:
- 1 pie crust
- 2 cups sweet potato, roasted, scooped and mashed
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (or golden syrup)
- 2 teaspoons mexican vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (or golden syrup)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
In blender with pastry blade cut, in butter with flour, leaving pea sized chunks. Empty mixture into bowl. Add liquid all at once and hand mix until combined. Shape into three disks and Let rest in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Then roll pie crust out and place pie tin on top, leaving about 2 inches from the outside edge of pan. Place pie crust into a pie plate, careful not to stretch dough. Trim dough, leaving 1 inch rim. Fold excess under, stand edge up and crimp edge in.
Mix sweet potatoes, eggs, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl and pour it into the pie crust.
Place the pecans on top of the sweet potato filling.
Mix sugar, maple syrup, eggs, butter, vanilla together to make the glaze and pour it on top of the pecans.
Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven until the pastry is golden brown and pecan layer is set, about 60-80 minutes.
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