We asked several New Orleans chefs for some of their favorite recipes to use around Thanksgiving. Check them out below.
By Haley Bitterman, Corporate Executive Chef, Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group
YIELD: 6 to 8 hors d'oeuvres or appetizer servings
The addition of crabmeat makes this warm cheese dip extra special for cocktail parties and other gatherings.
ADVANCE STEP: Prepare the crab stock recipe.
Yield: 3 to 4 quarts
NOTE: Roasting the crab shells and crushing or breaking them up adds richness to the stock.
A metal meat tenderizer
A kitchen mallet
A large sturdy mixing spoon
A heavy, nonreactive* 8-quart stockpot or Dutch oven
A large strainer (the finer the mesh the better)
3 pounds gumbo crabs*
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, cut into half-inch rounds
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups good-quality dry white wine
4 quarts cool water
5 small whole bay leaves
*Hard-shell crabs that are too scrawny to yield good lump crabmeat and are used to provide crab flavor to gumbos and other preparations.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the crab shells in a single layer in a roasting pan, and roast them just until the shells turn bright red, about 30 minutes.
After the shells have been allowed to cool slightly, leave them in the pan and, with a meat tenderizer, kitchen mallet or edge of a large sturdy mixing spoon, crush the shells or break them into pieces as much as possible. Set the pan aside with the shell pieces and any pan juices.
Melt the butter in a heavy, nonreactive 8-quart stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery and carrots and cook until the vegetables turn golden, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Reduce the heat to medium and stir the tomato paste. Cook the mixture about three minutes, stirring almost constantly. Stir in the wirie. Add the crab shells, any pan juices, the cool water and the bay leaves.
Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. During this time, skim any foam or coagulants from the surface as they develop, and replenish the water as the liquid evaporates.
When the simmer is complete, strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer.
Serving Suggestion: Use the stock immediately or allow it to cool down and store it in the refrigerator overnight or in the freezer for up to one month.
Crab Dip with Four Cheeses
• A 6-cup gratin dish, or 6 one-cup ramekins, or eight ¾-cup ramekins
• 2 rimmed baking sheets
• A heavy 10-inch skillet non-stick vegetable spray
24 diagonal slices, 1/4-inch thick, of ciabatta or similar good-quality bread (from a
1 pound fresh crab claw meat, picked through
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Crystal pepper sauce or other relatively mild Louisiana pepper sauce
3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley leaves
2 teaspoons dried tarragon leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1¾ cups finely julienned Vidalia or other sweet onions, ⅛ inch wide and about 2 inches long
1¾ cups finely julienned red onions, ⅛ inch wide and about 2 inches long
½ cup finely julienned shallots ⅛ inch wide and about 2 inches long
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
⅓ cup good quality dry sherry
⅔ cup heavy cream
7 ounces Fontina cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
7 ounces Asiago cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 ounce Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
6 to 8 tablespoons freshly and finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Using the non-stick vegetable spray, spray the gratin dish or individual ramekins and set them aside.
On a rimmed baking sheet arrange the bread slices in a single layer and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine the crab with the mustard, pepper sauce, parsley, tarragon, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper or to taste. Mix well and set aside.
In a heavy 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil with 1 tablespoon butter until the butter melts. Add the Vidalia and red onions, shallots and garlic. Sauté until the onions are lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the onion mixture from the skillet to a bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth, and cook until the flour very lightly browns, about 1½ minutes, whisking constantly. Add the sherry and cook 30 seconds.
Whisk in the cream, turn heat to high and cook until the sauce comes to a boil and becomes noticeably thicker, three to five minutes, whisking constantly.
Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the Fontina, Asiago and Gorgonzola cheeses. Continue cooking just until all the cheese cubes are melted, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat. Stir the cheese mixture and onions into the reserved crab mixture, mixing thoroughly. Spoon the dip into the prepared gratin dish or ramekins.
Sprinkle the top(s) with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
Bake the dip, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Once the dip has baked for 10 minutes, add the baking sheet of bread slices to the oven, and continue baking until the top is golden brown and the bread is lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.
Serving Suggestion: Serve immediately, with the toasted bread in a serving bowl or a basket alongside the dip.
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By Brian Katz, Executive Chef, Ralph's On the Park
YIELD: 2 cups
1oz unsalted butter
1/4cup yellow onion, small dice
1 TBS Lemon juice
1cup Satsuma juice or you can substitute OJ
1/2cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon sticks
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch salt
Place butter in sauce pot on medium high heat, add onion & cranberries & cook until onions become translucent & cranberries start to pop then add remaining ingredients & let simmer for approx 25 minutes or until cranberries are tender then let chill in refrigerator.
This is best made 1 day ahead of time.
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By Chris Montero, Executive Chef, BACCO
SERVES: 6 (family style)
2 lbs Pork Tenderloin, cleaned
¾ cup Prune Sauce
2/3 cup Rosemary-Garlic Paste
3 cups Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1 stick Unsalted Butter
1 lb Wilted Escarole
Rub pork tenderloin with rosemary - garlic paste. Roll tenderloin on grill and put into oven at 350 degrees. Cook until medium rare or medium. Set aside and rest for 5 minutes and slice.
Bring prune sauce and prunes to a simmer in a sauce pan, and finish with 3 ounces of butter, mixing well. Sauté escarole in remaining butter. Place mashed potatoes in center of a platter and surround with wilted escarole. Place sliced pork and prunes on top of escarole and drizzle with sauce.
Rosemary - Garlic Paste
1 cup Olive Oil
1 small head of chopped garlic
½ lb Rosemary - chopped fine
1oz. Cracked Black Pepper
In a food processor, puree all ingredients.
Sweet & Sour Prune Sauce
1 1/3 cups Water
½ lb Sugar
1 cup Sherry Vinegar
Place all ingredients in a sauce pot. Bring to boil, and reduce by 1/2. Remove from stove.
1 lb Escarole (cleaned & cut)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 oz unsalted butter
1 oz olive oil
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt & Pepper to taste
Over medium high heat, add oil, garlic and crushed red pepper. Add escarole and butter. Toss until escarole is wilted.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
8 Russet Potatoes, peeled
½ cup Roasted Garlic Puree
1 ½ sticks Unsalted Butter
¾ cup Scalded Milk
Salt & Pepper to taste
Boil potatoes until tender, drain, let dry for 5-8 minutes and place in mixer. With whip attachment, mix at medium-high speed for 30 seconds. Add butter, roasted garlic puree, salt and pepper. Slowly add milk until smooth. Season with salt & pepper. *Note -Do not over whip potatoes as they will become very sticky and gummy.
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By Weston McElwee, Executive Chef and Owner Bella Fresca
This is a dish I like to do about this time every year, as the weather cools and we all need a little comfort food in our lives.
For the steaks:
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 3-4 pound chuck roast (preferably Angus)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
All purpose flour
1 small-medium sized white onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium carrot, skinned and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups Zinfandel wine (don't cook with what you won't drink....)
1 quart chicken stock
Sachet of fresh thyme, fresh parsley and 2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Louisiana Hot Sauce
For the Escarole:
2 heads fresh escarole, cut into half inch wide strips
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
*If escarole is unavailable then romaine lettuce is a good substitute.
Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed medium sized pot on high stovetop (something you would use for a gumbo.)
Cut the chuck roast into 8oz steaks (roughly 3" squares) and season each generously with the kosher salt and black pepper then toss each piece in the flour, again be generous.
Place the steaks in the hot oil, allow to brown well on the bottom first then turn them over and allow to brown again on the opposite side, then remove them all from the pot and set aside. Pour the oil out into a safe container and discard (be careful not to lose to much of the little brown bits of flavor in the pot.)
Return the pot to the stovetop and toss in the onion, bell pepper, celery, carrot and garlic, and stir with a wooden spoon briefly, cooking the vegetables until the onions are just translucent.
Pour in the wine and scrape the bottom of the pot well with the spoon, return the steaks to the pot, then add the chicken stock until the steaks are covered by about a half inch of liquid and add all remaining ingredients to the pot. *At this point I like to add about 2-3 tablespoons of flour to the liquid, the long slow simmer with break down the flour lumps and provide a richer, thicker sauce, but this is totally optional and up to you.
Lower the flame to low heat, just a touch above simmer and allow to cook for roughly 3 hours, giving it a gently stir occasionally. It's also wise to check and adjust seasoning after about an hour. Once you can easily tear into the steaks with a fork they are ready. At this point turn the heat to the lowest possible setting (or even off) and let the steaks relax for about 20 minutes to allow them to soak up some moisture.
When you are ready to serve your family or guests, place a large skilled over high temperature and heat the olive oil to a shimmer.
Toss in the garlic and cook briefly, then add the escarole and season to taste with the salt and pepper. ~Toss the escarole around and stir it with some tongs, cooking it until it is just tender, yet still has a crunch to it.
Serve the steaks and the escarole with any number of side dishes. My favorites are simple, mashed potatoes or just plain buttered rice. If you want to be fancy with it then cauliflower or sunchoke puree are excellent choices as well. Sweet cornbread is always a good decision.
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By Chip Flanagan, Executive Chef, Ralph's On the Park
For one 10-inch pie or 8 servings
When it comes to Southern-style desserts, pecan pie is the leader of the pack, thanks to its rich flavor. This recipe takes pecan pie to a new level of sumptuousness with the addition of bourbon whiskey and chocolate.
The dough recipe for this pie is unusual in several ways. It's prepared with slightly softened butter and cool water instead of cold butter and ice water. The dough is not chilled before it's rolled out. It contains a small amount of vinegar. And the pie pan is greased and floured. That said, we have tried out many pie crusts and--for this particular pie--this crust is the best.
NOTE: The pie's bourbon flavor diminishes considerably over time, so, if possible, serve it on the same day it's made.
If using caramel sauce or homemade whipped cream, prepare the recipe in advance (Below).
YIELD: One pie
• Two large mixing bowls
• A 10-inch metal pie pan about 1¼ inches deep
• A pastry blender, or your fingertips
• A rolling pin
• A pastry brush
• A metal rack
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg of any size
½ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
¼ cup Steen's cane syrup
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons good-quality bourbon whiskey, preferably Jim Beam (Sour-mash whiskey is not recommended.)
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus butter for greasing pie pan
1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus flour to dust pie pan and roll out dough
1 teaspoon Steen's cane vinegar, or distilled white or apple cider vinegar
⅓ cup cool water
3 tablespoons whole milk
2 cups pecan pieces or chopped pecans
1 cup good-quality semi-sweet dark-chocolate chips
optional accompaniments and garnishes:
about ½ cup caramel sauce
vanilla ice cream
lightly sweetened whipped cream
1. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the 3 large eggs until frothy. Add the sugar and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, whisking vigorously until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Whisk in the cane syrup, corn syrup, melted butter and bourbon. Set this filling aside at room temperature.
2. Cut ¼ pound butter in ¼ inch cubes. Let the cubes soften at room temperature for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, generously butter a 10-inch metal pie pan about 1¼ inches, and dust with flour. Set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
4. In another large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine 1¾ cups flour with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Add the slightly softened butter cubes and quickly work them into the flour with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture looks like coarse meal with just a few pea-sized lumps of butter in it.
5. Add the vinegar to 1/3 cup cool water. Gradually add the vinegar water to the flour, tossing lightly with your hand or a fork until blended in. Gently gather the mixture together to form a ball. If it doesn't hold together, add another ½ tablespoon of water at a time until the mixture is sufficiently damp to hold together, using as little water as possible.
6. Shape the dough ball into a smooth 5-inch disk.
7. With a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle about 14 inches in diameter and ⅜ inch thick. Very lightly flour the dough, fold it in half, and carefully transfer to the prepared pie pan. Unfold the dough and gently fit it into the pan.
8. With a small serrated knife, trim the excess dough flush with the outer rim of the pan, then pat the dough around the edge to neaten it. Chill the pie shell for three minutes to firm it slightly.
9. Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator and crimp the edge.
10. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the egg of any size and the milk, blending well. Brush a generous amount of this egg wash on the crimped edge with a pastry brush.
11. Evenly scatter the pecans and chocolate chips over the bottom of the shell. Thoroughly stir the reserved filling, then slowly pour it over the pecans and chocolate chips. Use a finger tip to gently stir the filling to coat all the pecan bits and chocolate chips with filling and evenly distribute them within the filling.
12. Bake the pie on the middle shelf of the oven until the center feels firm and bounces back when gently pressed with your fingertips, and the crust is golden brown, about one hour.
13. Transfer the pie to a metal rack to cool to warm room temperature, about one hour, before serving.
Serving Suggestions: The pie may be served at room temperature or warm.
If made ahead, let the pie cool thoroughly, then cover it loosely and refrigerate overnight. To re-warm, briefly heat in a 300° oven.
If using caramel sauce, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of it around the edge of each dessert plate and position a wedge of pie on the plate.
If desired, top the pie with vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream, and garnish with a mint leaf and a light sprinkle of powdered sugar on the pie and plate.
For a generous 1 ½ cups
• A heavy 1-quart saucepan
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 2-inch piece vanilla bean
1. In a heavy 1-quart saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over high heat. Add the brown sugar, whisking thoroughly. Whisk in the granulated sugar and continue cooking and whisking about 30 seconds more. Remove from heat.
2. Cut the piece of vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape the tiny beans into the sauce, and whisk to blend.
Serving Suggestion: Serve the sauce while it's still warm, or once it's cool store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to reheat for serving. It will keep for at least one week covered and refrigerated. Reheat for serving in the top of a double boiler over hot (not simmering) water, whisking constantly to keep it from scorching.
Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream
For 3 ¼ cups
Prepare the whipped cream at the last possible moment before serving.
If using to garnish cake, beat the cream to a slightly softer consistency than you would if it were served with other desserts.
Place the mixing bowl and metal whisk (or electric-mixer beaters) in the refrigerator or freezer until very cold.
• A large stainless-steel mixing bowl
• A metal whisk with thin wires or an electric mixer
1½ cups very cold heavy cream
2-inch piece vanilla bean
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
1. Place the very cold heavy cream in a chilled, large stainless-steel mixing bowl. If the temperature in your kitchen is above 80°F, set the mixing bowl in another bowl containing ice.
2. Cut the piece of vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and scrape the tiny beans into the cream. Whisk the cream vigorously until it is noticeably thicker.
3. Add the confectioner's sugar and continue whisking just until soft peaks form (if serving with cake), or until stiff enough to form dollops (if using with other desserts). Do not over-whip or the cream will quickly turn to butter. Serve immediately.