If you’re saddled with the cooking duties this Thanksgiving, take a cue from the professionals. We asked five chefs to spill it on the dishes that have played on repeat for decades, even becoming tradition. Some were willing to share their recipes.
1. Tarver King of The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm: Mom’s Cheese Soufflé
“This recipe was from my grandmother, Tatiana McKenna. She was the food editor for Vogue magazine back in the day and has a few cookbooks out. She was amazing; I wish I could have met her because I think we would have been good friends. My mom tells me stories of her hunting pheasant and foraging for mushrooms for dinner. She was too far ahead of her time, I think. Onto her soufflé: My mom makes this whenever I come visit, and if I’m lucky enough to see them for Thanksgiving (been far too long) then it is a must-have.”
Recipe from “The Vogue Book of Menus and Recipes For Entertaining At Home” by Jessica Daves with Tatiana McKenna
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
12 egg whites
8 egg yolks
1 tsp. dry mustard
Preheat the oven to medium (350°).
Butter two 6-cup soufflé dishes.
Sprinkle the dishes with the Parmesan cheese, rolling them around until they are well covered, and tapping out any excess.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the flour, and cook it slowly, stirring until smooth, for 3 minutes. Do not let it brown.
Add the milk and bring to the boiling point over low heat, stirring until thickened and smooth.
Add the Gruyere cheese and stir in.
Remove from the heat and cool the mixture a little.
Beat the egg yolks and add them to the mixture.
Add the mustard, black pepper to taste, and several dashes of espellete pepper. Add salt to taste, depending on the saltiness of the cheese.
Whip the egg whites with a dash of salt only until you can turn the bowl over without the eggs sliding out.
Stir a third of the whites quickly but gently into the cheese mixture, then pour this mixture over the remaining whites and fold in, turning the bowl until well incorporated.
Pour into the prepared soufflé dishes and bake without peeking for 25 minutes, preferably on the lower shelf of the oven.
After 25 minutes shake one of the soufflé dishes very gently; if the mixture is very loose, bake for another few minutes for a soft soufflé. For a firm soufflé, bake for 35 minutes in all.
2. Will Morris of Vermilion: A Chilean-inspired sandwich using leftovers
“My Thanksgivings are pretty much the all-American Turkey Day because we have a big roasted turkey, roasted root vegetables, mashed potatos, stuffing, gravy, etc. However, my favorite dish is twofold. For my entire life, my mom has been making a real simple salad of blanched green beans that she dresses in lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and a chilean spice mix called Merkan. The spice adds just enough heat and this beautiful smoky flavor. I could eat this salad all day. Now, for the next day—like everyone eating leftovers—I generally make a sandwich. I take influence from one of my favorite sandwiches I ate growing up. It is a Chilean favorite, chacarero. Obviously, I am using turkey. So it goes like this: toasted ciabatta, a good bit of mayo (I always use Duke’s), a nice pile of shaved turkey topped with the green beans from the night before, some shaved chile, some crisp lettuce, sliced and seasoned tomato and a piece of cheese. To me, it is perfect. Brings both my American and Chilean sides together.”
3. Jason Lage of Market Table Bistro: Wild rice with mushroom gravy
Lage is from Minnesota and his sister-in-law, Kim, is part of and works on the White Earth Reservation, home to the Ojibewe Native Americans. Each year when Lage goes home to this area of Minnesota, he collects 50 pounds of wild rice from Rice Lake, where the grain is still hand-harvested and prepared the old-fashioned way. He brings the rice back and serves it at Market Table Bistro where you’ll find it labeled “manoomin,” the Ojibewe word for wild rice, or “good berry.” The simple Thanksgiving recipe involves cooking the rice in salted water and serving it with a rich mushroom gravy. “Right now we are getting lion’s mane and oyster mushrooms from our foragers in the area; these two will definitely be in the mushroom gravy this year,” says owner and general manager Rebecca Dudley. Lage says a close second favorite is his mother’s stuffing.
4. Tim Ma of Water & Wall and Chase the Submarine: Zha Jiang Mian
“We always have a dish called Zha Jiang Mian. It’s a pork and broad bean-based dish that is typically eaten in homes but has made its way onto restaurant menus. I’ve eaten it every year for Thanksgiving since I can remember. It would sit right next to your American turkey and stovetop stuffing. We had no idea what we were doing with the traditional American Thanksgiving dishes, but this dish was made like an art form.”
10 thick slices of ginger
4 tbsp Sichuan oil
2 lbs ground pork
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1 cup sweet bean sauce
1/2 cup spicy broad bean sauce
1 cup chicken stock (cold)
1/2 cup corn starch
Sauté ginger slices in oil until they pick up some color
Add ground pork and sauté until it’s 90 percent cooked
Add scallions and sauces and sauté until pork is cooked through
Make slurry with chicken stock and corn starch then add to wok and stir until the oil emulsfies with the sauce
5. Tim Rowley of The Wine Kitchen: Grandpa Leo’s Ricotta Cheesecake
“The dish that comes to mind the most is a pumpkin cheesecake that my grandfather used to make every year. It was an Italian style (using ricotta instead of cream cheese) cheesecake with pumpkin puree. He made it every year for at least eight to 10 years, but stopped making it in recent years. Last year, my girlfriend, also a chef, picked up the tradition.”
9 large eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 lbs ricotta cheese
1 lb pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp pumpkin spice
3 Tbsp cornstach
Juice and zest of half of a large orange.
In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar on medium until smooth
Add ricotta followed by remaining ingredients
Pour batter into a springform pan
Bake on middle rack for 1 1/2 hours
Turn off oven and leave cake in oven for another hour with door closed
Remove and cool completely. Refrigerate before unmolding
Laura Hayes hails from Philly (but don’t hold it against her). She’s been covering the local dining scene for three years, and her work has been published in the Washington Post, Food Network, Washington City Paper, Arlington Magazine and more. Having lived in Japan for two years, she finds herself in a constant state of craving sushi. Laura always orders her favorite savory dish again for dessert and keeps her gut in check through lots of CrossFit classes.