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What Hudson Valley Chefs Make for Their Thanksgiving Feasts

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Photo by Adobe Stock | Bhofack2

Three restaurateurs share what’s on the menu at their Thanksgiving celebrations, with recipes to help you recreate the dishes at home.

The Greekish, Nyack—Chef Constantine Kalandranis

Chicory and Cabbage Salad with Feta Vinaigrette

Ingredients

1 head chicory, finely chopped
1 head Napa cabbage, finely chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1 English cucumber, sliced
1 cup feta, crumbled

Ingredients for dressing

4 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped
Freshly cracked black pepper

Preparation

Combine chicory, cabbage, scallions, cucumber, and feta in a large bowl and toss gently.

Whisk dressing ingredients in a separate bowl until creamy (but not too thick).

Toss salad with dressing and serve immediately. You can prepare ingredients up to a day in advance.

Greek Yogurt & Dill Whipped Potatoes

Ingredients

8–10 large Idaho potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
2 cups Greek yogurt
½ pound (2 sticks) butter, cubed
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons dill, chopped
Salt to taste

Preparation

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Carefully add potatoes and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender. Strain.

Mash potatoes in a large bowl and add the butter. Combine remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk until creamy. Add yogurt mixture to potatoes, combine well and serve. You can peel potatoes and keep in a water bath up to a day in advance.

thanksgiving

Photo by Adobe Stock | Bhofack2

Lemon & Oregano Brined Turkey

Ingredients

1 bottle dry white wine
2 cups kosher or sea salt
1 cup cane sugar
2 bunches fresh oregano
1 tablespoon dry oregano
4 garlic cloves, smashed
10 lemons, juice and peels
14-pound turkey

Preparation

Combine wine, 2 cups of water, sugar, and salt to a large pot and stir.

After sugar and salt dissolve, pour mixture and remaining ingredients into a container large enough to hold the turkey.

Add cold water to container until turkey is submerged. Cover container.

Brine in refrigerator for 12–24 hours.

When ready, discard brine and cook the turkey at 325° for 2 to 2 ½ hours (or until internal temperature reaches 155°), covered with aluminum foil.

Remove foil and continue to cook uncovered at 400° until golden, about 6–8 minutes.

Roasted Pear Cobbler & Halvah Crumble

Ingredients for cobbler

¼ pound (1 stick) butter
1 stick cinnamon
1 cup Greek honey, or any honey
6–8 Bosc or Bartlett pears, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Ingredients for crumble

½ pound (2 sticks) butter, cubed
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups halvah, crumbled (find in nut butter aisle)
2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
2 cups chopped almonds
2 cups rolled oats

Preparation (cobbler)

Preheat oven to 325°. In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Then add the cinnamon stick and toast for 30 seconds.

Add honey and cook until caramelized and the mixture thins into a liquid.

Add pears and brown sugar and cook until soft, about 4–6 minutes.

Place mixture into an 8×8 baking dish and set aside while making crumble.

Preparation (crumble)

Combine butter and flour in a large bowl using your fingers or a fork until incorporated.

Mix in remaining ingredients and refrigerate covered for at least an hour.

Top cobbler with crumble. It may look like a lot, but the crumble will shrink in volume as it bakes.

Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate baking dish and continue baking for another 5 minutes or until top is golden.

Serve warm or at room temperature topped with homemade whipped cream, Greek yogurt, or vanilla ice cream.

Q&A with Chef Kalandranis

DO YOU COOK THE WHOLE DINNER?

I do the whole thing with my business partner and father-in-law Louis. He’s the only person I want with me in the kitchen… especially on holidays!

DOES ANYONE BRING A DISH YOU LOVE?

My brother-in-law brings a carrot cake— and let’s be honest, carrot cake is usually terrible—but his is perfection.

WHAT’S THE VIBE AT THE TABLE?

It’s loud, and sometimes borderline obnoxious with the amount of noise and arguing, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

BIGGEST T-DAY DISASTER?

My uncles were trying to make a deep-fried turkey in the rain… and there was a lot of whiskey in the mix. It somehow became my responsibility to not let anything catch on fire or ruin the bird!

TUNES WHILE COOKING?

We do the old school Italian New Yorker stuff. Louis likes Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin and all the vintage artists.

LET’S TALK SPUDS. MASHED OR SWEET?

Don’t even start—the answer is mashed potatoes, no contest. If there’s anyone who disagrees, have them call me ASAP for a therapy session.

DREAM DINNER GUEST?

Michael Psilakis—my most honorable mentor. He’d probably be too busy to come, but it would be appropriate for me to thank him for all he taught me during the time I worked for him.


Terrapin, Rhinebeck — Chef Josh Kroner

Golden Nugget Squash Soup

Ingredients

7 pounds golden nugget, or butternut squash
2 tablespoons safflower oil
1 pound Spanish onions, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
14 oz. can coconut milk
2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped and wrapped in a cheesecloth bundle
1 teaspoon ground galangal, or ground ginger
2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
Sour cream for serving, if desired

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut squash in half width-wise and place open side down on a sheet pan lined with foil. Pour one cup of water into the pan and carefully place in oven. Cook for approximately 45 minutes, or until a knife passes easily through the squash.

Remove from oven and let cool. With a large metal spoon, scrape the flesh of the squash out of the rind. Place into a large bowl and reserve.

Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the oil, then onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook until onions are soft, about 15–20 minutes, then add the wine. Continue cooking at medium heat until almost evaporated or dry.

Add the squash and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for two hours, stirring frequently.

Remove lemongrass bundles and season to taste with salt and pepper. Blend using an immersion blender until smooth. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

thanksgiving

Photo by Adobe Stock | Donstock

Holiday Sausage Lasagna

Ingredients

1 pound fresh spinach
4 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
2 cups ricotta
¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grano Padano
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
36 ounces marinara sauce, homemade or Rao’s Marinara
1 box/pound no-boil flat lasagna noodles (Kroner uses Tuscanini)
1 pound Italian sausage, cooked and chopped

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350° and lightly grease a 9×13 baking pan.

Boil 2 quarts of water in a large saucepan. Cook spinach in water for 1 minute and drain. Allow spinach to cool, then squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Season spinach with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl combine 2 cups of the mozzarella, ricotta, Parmesan, eggs, herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined.

Add ½ cup of marinara to the bottom of the baking pan and spread evenly. Place one layer of noodles, about a fourth of the box, over the sauce.

Add a third of the cheese mixture and spread over the noodles. Place a third of the sausage and spinach over the cheese. Spread 1 cup of marinara on top. Add another layer of noodles and repeat until there are 3 cheese layers. Top the final cheese layer with another layer of noodles and remaining marinara and cover tightly with foil.

Bake for 45 minutes. Then carefully remove foil, top with the remaining 2 cups of mozzarella and bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and starting to bubble and brown.

Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Thanksgiving Turkey

Ingredients

12–14 pound fresh (or defrosted) turkey
½ pound (2 sticks) butter, melted

For Brine

½ gallon water, room temperature
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup maple syrup
¼ cup peppercorns, cracked
1½ gallons water with ice in a clean 5-gallon bucket

Preparation

In a large bowl, combine salt, maple syrup, and peppercorns with the room temperature water until the salt is dissolved. Add to the ice water in the bucket and stir well.

Prepare the turkey by removing the neck and innards from the cavity and place the bird carefully “head” first into the bucket. Make sure the bird is completely submerged, weighing it down with a plate, if need be.

Place the bucket into a refrigerator (or outside if temperature will remain between 30–40° overnight). Let the turkey brine for 18–30 hours, flipping the bird once.

Preheat oven to 500°. Remove turkey from the brine and rinse in cold water. Dry well with paper towels and place on a cutting board. Take a sharp kitchen knife and one side at a time, pulling the skin tight, carefully cut the skin between the leg and the breast. Follow the curve of the leg and cut all the way back to the backbone. Keep as much skin as possible on the breast (and less on the leg).

Stand the bird up, front-end down, and bend the leg section back, using the backbone as the hinge and causing it to break. Use a knife to complete the cut and remove the leg/thighs from the breast. There should be two sections of the turkey: the legs and the breast.

Place each section onto a roasting pan, skin side up, and brush generously with melted butter.

Place the legs and breast in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven to 325° and continue cooking for approximately one hour, re-basting with butter occasionally.

Insert an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of each piece of the turkey. The breast will be finished cooking at an internal temperature of 155° and the legs at 180°.

When each section is done, remove from oven and cover with foil and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes. Reassemble the turkey for presentation on a large serving dish.

Q&A with Chef Kroner

DO YOU COOK THE WHOLE DINNER?

I host my family’s Thanksgiving dinner every other year at the restaurant. There are usually 40–50 of us, and I cook a traditional dinner, including brining and roasting three turkeys. My family gets the same dishes we offer to our customers on our to-go menu.

DOES ANYONE BRING A DISH YOU LOVE?

I love my mom’s lasagna. And my great aunt Rose’s cheesecake. She was a chef—and just turned 100 this year.

WHAT’S THE VIBE AT THE TABLE?

There are a lot of us, so it’s loud! We enjoy each other’s company, and then after the meal, we’re home and in a food coma.

BIGGEST T-DAY DISASTER?

Not to sound cocky, but I’ve never had one that I can think of. There have been little mishaps—like the year I brought the turkeys I’d been brining at the restaurant to my mom’s house in giant containers, and they leaked all over her kitchen floor. But nothing major.

PIE AND POTATO PREFERENCES?

Apple. Apple pie. And both mashed and sweet.

DREAM DINNER GUEST?

Sacha Baron Cohen. I met him at Terrapin once, and we talked about his love for cooking. I think he’d be a funny and interesting person to share a meal with.


McKinney & Doyle Fine Foods, Pawling — Chefs Andrew Sarubbi and Shannon McKinney

Traditional Turkey

Ingredients

12-14 lb turkey
1 pound (4 sticks) butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano, ground
1 teaspoon dried thyme, ground
1 teaspoon dried sage, ground
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large brown paper shopping bag (with handles)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325°. Rinse turkey well in cold water and pat exterior with a kitchen towel until completely dry.

Cut the handles off the shopping bag and using your hands coat the inside of the bag with 2 sticks soft butter.

Rub the exterior of the turkey with the remaining butter.

Combine dry seasonings in a bowl and sprinkle all over turkey, inside and out.

Carefully place the turkey in the bag and put in a heavy roasting pan.

To seal the bag, cut discarded handles into strips and poke 3–4 holes in the top and bottom of the bag’s opening. Use the handle strips to tie the bag closed.

Roast the turkey for approx. 20 minutes per pound or until internal temperature reaches 155°.

Bourbon Pecan Yams

Ingredients

8 large yams or sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup molasses
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
½ teaspoon cayenne
1 cup high-quality bourbon
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup pecans, toasted and halved

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the cubed yams and boil for about 2 minutes. Strain and set aside.

Add brown sugar, molasses, butter, and cayenne to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until butter is melted and ingredients are combined, about 5 minutes.

Increase heat and add bourbon; cook for another 3–4 minutes.

Add yams to a 10×14 roasting pan, pour mixture over and toss to coat. Roast for about 15–20 minutes, or until yams are tender but not overcooked.

Salt and pepper to taste. Top with toasted pecans and serve.

thanksgiving

Photo by Adobe Stock| Candice Bell

Roasted Chestnut Stuffing

Ingredients

1 pound chestnuts
1½ pound loaf sourdough bread
½ pound salted butter
1 medium onion, diced
6 celery ribs, diced
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cups chicken or turkey stock

Preparation

Cut Xs in shells of chestnuts. Soak in water for an hour and roast at 300° until shells split and the meat inside is soft. Once cooled, peel.

Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and spread on a cookie sheet. Toast in the oven at 325° until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

In a large sauté pan, melt butter until golden and bubbly. Add onions and celery, and cook until tender, about 8–10 minutes.

Place toasted bread cubes into a large bowl and add onion-celery mixture. Mix well, until bread cubes are completely coated.

Add chestnuts, seasonings, and stock. Mix well until the stock is absorbed.

Spread in a 10×14 buttered casserole dish and let rest until ready to bake. When your turkey is almost done, bake the stuffing in a 325° oven for about 40 minutes until browned and crisp on top.

Pro tip: spoon some of the turkey drippings over the stuffing while baking.

Q&A with Chef McKinney

SAME MENU EVERY YEAR?

Basically, yes. A few things change depending on who hosts because everyone has a signature dish (my sister-in-law, Gail, makes a great broccoli soufflé) but the turkey, stuffing, sweet and mashed potatoes are mainstays.

BEST PART OF THE DAY?

Stopping by the restaurant in the morning to grab a few last-minute ingredients. We’re closed on Thanksgiving, but many of our staff are there cooking or prepping food for their own feasts. It is such a joy to spend an hour with my “second family” and just experience the fun of cooking together without the pressure of being open for business.

FAVORITE SIDE?

Chestnut stuffing. It fills at least half my plate.

BIGGEST T-DAY DISASTER?

The year my sister Robin’s turkey was frozen in the middle. We quickly cut it into pieces and put it back in the oven.

IF YOU DIDN’T COOK A TURKEY…

We’d be eating my wife’s roasted pork shoulder with arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) and sweet plantains.

PIE PREFERENCE?

Pumpkin hands down. I just love the combination of the creamy custard and crisp, salty crust.

DREAM DINNER GUEST?

I have two. I’d love to have Jacques Pepin and Andre Soltner over for Thanksgiving. I grew up reading, watching, and learning anything and everything about them and have had the great pleasure of meeting both.


Related: Where to Eat in the Hudson Valley on Thanksgiving