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What Do Local Chefs Make for Their Thanksgiving Dinners?
Chefs from Sou’Wester to Birch & Barley fill you on their favorite Thanksgiving recipes. By Michael Gaynor
Comments () | Published November 24, 2009
If you’ve ever wanted to go beyond the typical turkey and mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, look to what chefs serve when they’re eating at home. Rachael Harriman of Sou’Wester tells how to create the stuffing her family has made for generations. Keep everyone sticking around for dessert with the cranberry-walnut pie that Buck’s Fishing & Camping chef Vickie Reh has been perfecting for more than 25 years.

All recipes serve six to eight.


Brian Wilson, Eola

Kabocha-Squash Soup With Spiced Crème Fraîche and Cocoa Powder

3 medium kabocha squash, about 6 pounds total
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
Thyme sprigs as needed
2 medium onions, diced
1 large garlic clove, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 dash cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 cup Madeira or dry sherry
4 quarts light chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup crème fraîche
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1⁄8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Cocoa powder as needed
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the squash in half and remove the seeds. Slice into quarters. Place the squash into a shallow roasting pan and season with salt and pepper. Evenly distribute the butter over the squash, then drizzle it with a little olive oil. Top with a few thyme sprigs, cover the pan with foil, and roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the squash is just tender. Remove the foil and let the squash cool in the pan. Discard the thyme stems. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scrape all of the flesh from the skin and discard the skins. Reserve the flesh and any juices that have accumulated at the bottom of the roasting pan.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, begin heating 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and bay leaf. Add a pinch of salt and the cayenne. Sauté the vegetables gently until they’re just translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the sherry vinegar and cook until it has completely evaporated. Add the Madeira or sherry and cook until it’s almost dry and a little syrupy. Add the reserved squash and juices, cover the pot, and turn the heat down to low. Stirring occasionally, cook the squash and vegetables together for 15 minutes. Add the chicken or vegetable stock, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring up to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat. Discard the bay leaf. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender. Adjust the seasoning to taste. If the soup is too thick, thin with additional warm stock. If it’s too thin, simmer the puréed soup on the stove over medium heat until desired thickness. Mix the crème fraîche, heavy cream, nutmeg, and a small pinch of salt in a bowl.

To serve, ladle the soup into warm soup bowls, top with the crème fraîche, and dust with cocoa powder.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Pancetta, Almonds, and Mustard

2 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
¾ cup skin-on chopped almond pieces
4 ounces pancetta, sliced thinly or diced to ¼-inch cubes
1 small shallot, diced
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¾ cup light olive oil plus more for drizzling the sheet pan


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the Brussels sprouts in half and remove any discolored or dirty outer leaves. Drizzle a sheet pan with olive oil. Place the Brussels sprouts, cut side down, on the pan and season with salt. Dot the pan with the butter. Roast in the oven until the sprouts are tender and the cut side has browned and slightly caramelized, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool. Cut each Brussels sprout in half again to make quarters. Place them in a large bowl and set aside.

Toast the almond pieces in a pan in the oven until just fragrant but not burned, about 5 minutes. Add the almonds to the bowl of Brussels sprouts.

Place a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat and cook the pancetta as you would bacon until it’s crisp and has rendered a good amount of fat. Remove the pancetta from the pan and add to the bowl with the sprouts and almonds. Turn the heat down to low and, in the same pan, add the diced shallot. Sauté the shallot without coloring until it’s tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in both mustards. Add the olive oil and stir to make a vinaigrette. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.

Mix the sprouts, almonds, and pancetta in the bowl to distribute evenly. Arrange the mixture on a serving platter and drizzle the warm vinaigrette over the top, using as much as desired. Save any remaining vinaigrette.
Rachael Harriman, Sou’Wester

Mom’s Thanksgiving Stuffing

1 Spanish onion, minced
2 celery stalks, minced
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound pork sausage
1 bunch fresh sage, chopped
1½ teaspoons garlic powder
14 ounces cubed bread
Canola oil for sautéing

Set a large pot with a small amount of canola oil over low heat. Sweat the onion and celery until translucent. Add the ground beef, pork sausage, sage, and garlic powder, and cook 80 percent of the way. In the meantime, place the bread in a bowl and lightly moisten it. Once the meat is almost finished cooking, add the bread. Continue until all the meat is cooked and the lightly moistened bread crumbs have soaked up the liquid in the pan. The stuffing is best if made a day ahead.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 11/24/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Articles