Thanksgiving with Local Chefs

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On Thanksgiving Day, we gather around the table with family and friends to enjoy a special meal at home, sharing dishes prepared by many loving hands. Some are made from time-honored recipes and others will become new traditions. A great many people opt to have their Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant, which means the chef is working overtime! MCM caught up with four busy local chefs who offered a favorite recipe, and shared a bit about their typical Thanksgiving feasts.

Our thanks to: Jody Brunori – The Laundry; Denny Dowdall – The Captain’s Club at Woodfield; Beverly Biggs-Leavy – Bev’s Place, and Marge Murphy – Cork on Saginaw.


Jody Brunori

Chef, The Laundry – Fenton

Boursin, Caramelized Onion & Applewood Smoked Bacon Dauphinoise Potatoes

Recipe

Ingredients(Serves 9)

  • 6 Idaho potatoes
  • 1 package of Boursin cheese
  • 2 cups Gruyere cheese
  • 1.5 cups cooked bacon, chopped
  • 2 onions, julienned
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • pinch cayenne
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

To Make

  1. This dish will be built similar to a lasagna.
  2. Peel potatoes and reserve in a bowl of water with the lemon juice to prevent browning.
  3. Using a mandolin, thinly slice potatoes lengthwise and return to the lemon/water mixture.
  4. In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil on medium-high.
  5. Add onions to the pan; cook until golden brown, then remove from pan and allow to cool enough to handle.
  6. Grease a 9”x12” baking dish.
  7. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, heavy cream and spices (custard).
  8. Begin layering dish in this order: custard, potatoes, bacon, onion, Boursin and Gruyere.
  9. Top remaining potato layer with custard and Gruyere cheese.
  10. Bake covered at 350°F for one hour; uncover and bake for an additional 30 min. until golden brown and a knife pokes into the center with no resistance.

Tips: Change the direction of the potato on each layer to ensure they stay together when cutting. Push each layer of potato down while building. The custard is the “glue” and not a lot is needed between the layers.

Also on the Menu

  • Butter & Herb Roasted Turkey with Giblet Gravy
  • Chorizo & Cornbread Stuffing
  • Brown Sugar Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Broccoli Rabe with Red Pepper Garlic Confit
  • Chili Creamed Corn
  • Chocolate Pecan Pie
  • Pumpkin Flan

Tradition

“I grew up around the kitchen table surrounded by family, friends and sometimes strangers who, unknowingly, were about to become friends and family. Our doors were always open to others who were far from home or simply found themselves alone during the holidays. There were only two rules on Thanksgiving: come hungry and dress comfortably. Thanksgiving was all about filling our bellies with great food, our minds with good conversation and our souls with meaning. These days, I find myself working on Thanksgiving Day, but I pass this tradition on to my crew. We eat, talk and laugh, and when the work is done, we share a hard-earned “shifty.”


Denny Dowdall

Executive Chef, Captain’s Club at Woodfield – Grand Blanc

Roast Turkey with Wild Mushroom Stuffing

Recipe

Ingredients

  • Turkey, approximately 18-20 lb
  • 1.5 loaves bread, torn into pieces & dried on sheet pan overnight
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1 lb fresh, wild mushroom blend
  • 1 lb chicken livers, finely diced or pureed in a food processor
  • ½ lb butter
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon rubbed sage (optional)

To Make

  1. In a large skillet, melt butter and add diced onion; sauté over medium heat until transparent.
  2. Add chicken livers and cook thoroughly.
  3. Add mushrooms and finish cooking until mushrooms are tender.
  4. Add salt & pepper (and optional sage).
  5. Mix all ingredients with dry bread and set aside.
  6. Wash turkey and let dry.
  7. Spoon stuffing into turkey cavity.
  8. Brush skin with olive oil, season with salt & pepper.
  9. Place bird in roasting pan and cover with foil, assuring that it is totally sealed.
  10. Cook turkey at 425°F for 14 minutes per pound, or until internal temperature is 165°F.
  11. Unwrap foil and baste bird with pan drippings for approximately 30 more minutes cooking time, or until skin is golden brown.

Also on the Menu

  • Traditional Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
  • Tourtière (French meat pie) with Port Wine Demi-glace
  • Smashed Red-skin Potatoes with Roasted Garlic
  • Roasted Yams with Pecans
  • Cranberry-Orange Relish
  • Green Bean casserole
  • Fresh-Baked Bread
  • Traditional Pumpkin Pie with Homemade
  • Whipping Cream
  • Chocolate pie
  • Pineapple Upside-down Cake
  • Homemade Cream Horns
  • My Mother’s Homemade Fudge

Tradition

“Our family tradition consists of having drinks, eating food and racing to be the first to pass out in the best spot on the couch to watch the football game. My mother-in-law (an above-average pastry chef) is usually responsible for the delicious desserts.”


Beverly Biggs-Leavy

Chef, Bev’s Place – Hamady Complete Food Center, Flint

Bev’s Banana Pudding

Recipe

Ingredients(makes one pan)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 whole eggs plus 8 yolks
  • 3-4 cups whole milk
  • 4 bananas (approx.), sliced
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Two boxes vanilla wafer cookies

To Make

  1. In a saucepan, combine sugar, flour, eggs and milk.
  2. Cook, over low-to-medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens (approx. 30 min.).
  3. Once cooked, remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Layer bottom of greased 9”x 13” pan with 1 and 1/3 box of vanilla wafers.
  5. Add a layer of the sliced bananas.
  6. Pour custard over bananas.
  7. Top with remaining vanilla wafers.

Also on the Menu

  • Turkey with Cornbread Stuffing
  • Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
  • Mustard & Turnip Greens
  • Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Yams
  • Homemade Pound Cake

Tradition

“Our family always gets together at my place for Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone has to show up! Forty to fifty people will share a meal and have a great time. Nobody misses a Thanksgiving at my place.”


Marge Murphy

Owner/Chef, Cork on Saginaw – Downtown Flint

Potato Gratin with Comté Cheese & Cream

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 russet potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 small, sweet onion
  • 2.5 cups heavy cream
  • 2.5 cups Comté cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

To Make

  1. Sauté onions in butter & olive oil.
  2. In a bowl, toss potatoes with 2 cups heavy cream.
  3. Add onions and 2 cups cheese; salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Pour mixture into a buttered, 9” x 13” pan; sprinkle with additional cheese and pour ½ cup heavy cream on top.
  5. Bake covered at 350°F for 1 to 1.5 hours until tender.
  6. Uncover and bake to brown on top!

Also on the Menu

  • Buttered Roast Turkey Stuffed with Onions, Oranges, Fennel & Fresh Herbs
  • Homemade Brioche Rolls, French Bread & Cornbread
  • Lots of Fresh, Sweet Cream Butter (unsalted!)
  • Roasted Root Veggies with Fennel, Brussels
  • Sprouts & Lardons
  • Celery Root & Yukon Gold Mashers
  • Cranberry Sauce with Oranges & Grand Marnier
  • Green Bean Casserole with Shiitake
  • Mushrooms & Shallots
  • Apple, Pumpkin, Pecan Pies & a Pumpkin Roll (if I’m feeling fancy!)
  • Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Tradition

“At our home, we always greet our guests with bubbly, then gather family and a friend or two around our big, antique dining room table and start our meal with a toast and thanks.”


Photography by Kayce McClure

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