Chef Thanksgiving Recipes Made Easy
Roasted Butternut Squash with Spiced Pecans
Chef: Marcus Samuelsson
Chef Marcus Samuelsson puts an Ethiopian twist on spiced pecans, which he tosses with sweet roasted butternut squash in an orange dressing.
Arugula Salad with Ricotta Salata
Chef: Lidia Bastianich
For this crunchy, nutty salad, Bastianich likes to use dandelion greens, which aren’t always easy to find. For the home cook, arugula stands in for the elusive dandelion greens.
Chef: Marcus Samuelsson
In his version of the Brazilian cocktail, he muddles cranberries along with the usual lime and replaces the Brazilian spirit cachça (made from sugarcane juice) with Scandinavian aquavit (an infused spirit).
Walnut Pesto and Goat Cheese Dip
Chef: Tom Colicchio
Chef: Joël Robuchon
The secret to this mushroom soup: a little crème fraîche.
Spicy Braised Escarole
Chef: Andrew Carmellini
Carmellini prepares this dish with homemade bread crumbs and hard-to-find Sicilian oregano. For an easier version, top spicy greens with crispy panko (packaged Japanese bread crumbs) and a touch of supermarket oregano.
Chipotle-Roasted Baby Carrots
Chef: Alex Stupak
When he makes this stunning salad at Empellón Cocina, Stupak roasts baby carrots with mole poblano, a complex sauce that includes dried chiles, raisins and chocolate. Here, the carrots are roasted simply with smoky chipotles in adobo.
Calabrese Mustard Greens
Chef: Michael Chiarello
Just a little red wine vinegar transforms this otherwise familiar bowl of garlicky greens.
Pearl Onions au Gratin
Chef: Barbara Lynch
Inspired by the pickled pearl onions that became a family tradition, Lynch bakes fresh pearl onions in a mixture of cream, garlic, shallots and bacon, then tops it all with a crispy panko crust.
Cider-Glazed Turkey with Lager Gravy
Chef: Michael Symon
Lots of people brine their turkeys. Not Symon, who thinks brining makes the bird a little rubbery. He salts his bird well and refrigerates it overnight to season it. Before roasting, he covers the breast and legs with cheesecloth that's been soaked in a cider-infused butter.
Mashed Potatoes with Manchego and Olive Oil
Chef: José Andrés
Instead of using butter, Andrés prefers to add richness with olive oil and Manchego cheese. His tip: “Add the olive oil slowly to the potatoes because if you dump it in all at once, you’ll get streaks of oil.”
Braised Root Vegetables and Cabbage with Fall Fruit
Chef: Alain Ducasse
For a simplified version of Ducasse’s fruit-and-root-vegetable stew, cook everything in one big pot.
Sweet Potato Gratin with Chile-Spiced Pecans
Chef: Jose Garces
Garces says this dish best exemplifies his Thanksgiving menu: traditional at its core but with unexpected Latin accents. The gratin is silky and sweet, topped with gooey marshmallows and delightfully crunchy pecans flavored with chile powder.
Green Beans and Salsify with Country Ham and Pecans
Chef: Dean Fearing
For his simple side dish, Fearing sautés crisp green beans with caramelized salsify, toasted pecans and strips of intense country ham. At home, he jokingly calls them “all-day” green beans—in fact, they take about half an hour to prepare.
Chestnut Stuffing with Fennel
Chef: Suzanne Goin
When Goin was a child, making stuffing for the holidays was one of her first forays into cooking. This chestnut-laced stuffing with pancetta and fennel is adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques. The crispy olive oil-soaked bread cubes on top are especially delectable.
Prune Upside-Down Cakes
Chef: Naomi Pomeroy
Pomeroy likes cooking with dried fruit because it’s easy to keep on hand. “Fresh fruit goes bad so quickly,” she says. She poaches dried, local plums, then mixes them with a brown sugar caramel to make a topping for individual olive-oil cakes. Instead of prunes, try peach slices or apple chunks.
Almond and Orange Cake with Poached Plum Compote
Chef: Andrew Zimmern
“I do have some killer go-to desserts, in case I need to pull one out for a holiday meal or potluck when I get assigned the dessert course. The poached plums are insane with this dish. I serve it with plenty of sweetened crème fraîche passed at the table.”
Country Apple Galette
Chef: Jacques Pépin
Pépin loves to serve this delicate apple tart as a buffet dessert, since it's beautiful, easy to slice and simple to eat, pizza-style, while standing. The miraculously easy and versatile pastry dough comes together in a food processor in less than 20 seconds and can be filled with all sorts of fruits or vegetables. Because the tart is free-form, the pastry can be rolled into either a round or a rectangle.