Every year as we prepare for the holidays and making our list and checking it twice, the same dishes tend to grace our tables on Thanksgiving. Usually, it’s because of our culture and the familiarity of turkey, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese and in the household of Jamaican families like mine—curry goat, rice and peas and jerk chicken. But there are times when one wants to try something a little different. Instead of turkey, how about short ribs or nix the pumpkin pie and go crustless. Sometimes it takes culinary skill and bravado to mix up the holiday menu, while still pleasing your family and friends.
To help you out this year, I asked a few top chefs to give us some of their favorite non-traditional menu ideas. Here are a few mouth-watering suggestions:
Rich Vellante, executive chef at Legal Sea Foods suggests a side alternative entrée: Cioppino (so named as fisherman would ‘chip in’ their catch to the collective pot) with lobster, scallops, shrimp, calamari, littlenecks, mussels and scrod in a light tomato broth with a side of jasmine rice
8 each littleneck clams
2 oz olive oil
4 oz firm whitefish
4 oz cleaned sea scallops
2 lb mussels
8 oz cleaned squid
½ C white wine
24 oz cioppino sauce
2 T fresh basil
6 pieces shrimp 16/20
1 whole chicken lobster
4 pieces garlic bread
Step 1. Steam or boil lobster for 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle cut lobster into quarters.
Step 2. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan; add littlenecks and sauté on medium heat for 2 minutes.
Step 3. Add white fish, scallops, mussels and squid to hot pan and sauté for 2 minutes.
Step 4. Add white wine and reduce by half. Add cioppino base and basil bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Step 5. Add shrimp cook for 3 minutes and add lobster just to heat through.
Step 6. Divide mussels and clams evenly between 4 bowls. Pour remaining ingredients into bowl placing lobster in center.
Step 7. Garnish with a slice of garlic bread on top.
Featured in the November issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray, Shore Lodge and Whitetail Club, Executive Chef Eric Gruber, shared his to-die-for Shore Lodge Rosemary Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes recipe:
Ingredients: (for 12 servings)
6 whole, peeled Idaho Russet potatoes
1/8 lb. fresh rosemary
2 cups crme fraiche (substitute sour cream if unavailable)
1/8 cup blue cheese
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon white pepper
1. In a large stockpot, place whole, peeled Idaho Russet potatoes and cold water. Be sure not to cut up potatoes.
2. Place rosemary in cheesecloth and tie securely. Add to stockpot.
3. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender. Be sure not to overcook.
4. Drain water and discard rosemary.
5. Run potatoes through a food mill.
6. Place potatoes in a large bowl and add crme fraiche (substitute sour cream if not available). Mix by hand with wire whisk.
7. Add salt and pepper.
Chef Patrick Sheerin suggests trying a roast over turkey. His Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Root Vegetables and Tamarind is finger-licking good.
For Ribs: 5 Bone-in short ribs, trimmed of excess fat (leave some fat on to protect the meat, reserve excess fat); 4 whole Onions, thinly sliced 4 cloves Garlic; thinly sliced 2 pods Star anise; 1 teaspoon Black peppercorns; 1 stick Cinnamon; 1 cup Mirin 2 tablespoons Tamarind paste dissolved in 1 cup of warm water; 1 inch section Fresh ginger, thinly sliced and skin removed ¾ cup; White balsamic vinegar ¼ cup; White soy sauce; ¼ cup Brown sugar Salt Corn starch
-Score the bone side of the short ribs with a knife and season with salt
-Set aside and let stand for 30 minutes. In a heavy bottomed pot, melt reserved beef fat; add the onions and a pinch of salt.
-Allow to caramelize. Add the garlic, peppercorns and star anise and cook until the garlic softens.
-Add the cinnamon stick, mirin, tamarind water, ginger, white balsamic vinegar, white soy sauce and brown sugar.
-Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a very low simmer.
-Gently slide the short ribs into this poaching liquid and cook on a very low simmer for 2 ½-3 hours, until just tender.
-Let the ribs cool in the liquid for 20 minutes then remove and place on a plate. If you plan to eat right away, transfer the ribs to a grill over medium heat and caramelize the outside. This will provide delicious flavor to finish. Place the poaching liquid on medium high heat, ⅓ way off the heat to create a natural convection. Skim the liquid to remove fat and other impurities. Taste the reduction, if it is starting to get salty, lightly thicken with cornstarch, and strain through a fine mesh strainer and reserve.
Ingredients for the Root Vegetables:
4 whole Carrots, washed and peeled 8 whole Hakuri turnips; washed 4 small Roasting onions; peeled 1 large Rutabaga; peeled and cut 10 large Brussels sprouts split in half ¼ lb Butter, sliced into ½ inch thick pats; 3 sprigs Fresh thyme Salt Method for Root Vegetables
Warm the oven to 350°F. Place the root vegetables in a single, tight layer, in a roasting pan. Dot the root vegetables with pats of butter and lightly season with salt.
Roast for 30-40 minutes until tender. Add the thyme stems and roast for 5 more minutes.
To serve place a short rib in the middle of a plate, top with 1 oz. of sauce and then add the vegetables over the top of the dish. 31) Summary: seeking chefs to give non-traditional Thanksgiving day meal ideas
Certified Angus Beef Chef Scott Popovic famous Cranberry Roast
1 (3 to 3 1/2 pound) _Certified Angus Beef_ ® top sirloin roast
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped cranberries
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 (10.5 ounce) jar cranberry chutney or relish
1. Preheat oven to 500°F.
2. Rub roast with garlic. Combine cranberries, parsley and lemon zest. Rub roast with mixture. Place on rack in roasting pan.
3. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F; bake 50 minutes for medium (when thermometer registers 140°F) or desired.
4. Loosely tent roast with foil and let rest for 15 minutes. Slice roast across grain. Serve with cranberry chutney.
Peter Julian, Executive Chef for Hillers Markets has a recipe for gluten-free
Crustless Sweet Potato Pie
3 ½ lb. fresh sweet potatoes, baked until soft
1 ½ c. sugar
1 ½ sticks butter, melted
¼ t. nutmeg
¼ t. cinnamon
½ t. vanilla
½ t. salt
1 c. pecan pieces
½ c. buttermilk
Peel and mash baked sweet potatoes. Add eggs, spices, sugar, salt, vanilla, and butter. Mix well with a whisk. Place mixture into a buttered 9” x 13” pan. Sprinkle with pecan pieces. Bake at 350° F for 30-35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165° F.