For the Birds | Innovative Stuffings

An exceptional French chef creates his own delicious versions of Thanksgiving stuffing.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten's first Thanksgiving, at a colleague's house in New Hampshire, was a shock—a good one. "I'd never seen such a big bird before," the Alsace-born chef behind New York City's Jean Georges recalls. The marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes were more familiar: "I'd just spent five years in Asia, so at least I was used to sweet flavors with meat." But his favorite dish was the bread stuffing, so unlike the dense, sausagelike variety he was accustomed to eating in France.

Back in his kitchen, Vongerichten took the American stuffing basics and reconfigured them. His dressings, all of which he prefers to cook outside the bird, take unexpected forms: a French toast with foie gras, a spinach bread pudding, a risotto casserole. They're all a little bit shocking—in a good way.

—Jane Sigal

PUBLISHED November 2002

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