Eagle County chefs share Thanksgiving recipes
EAGLE COUNTY, COLORADO No one disputes that grandmas stuffing recipe is the bomb. Handed down through generations, It has, and always will assume a special place at your Thanksgiving spread. All were saying is local chefs have some interesting and delicious twists on the classic Thankgiving dish. Have you ever tried brioche butternut squash stuffing? We didnt think so.Here are four recipes that veer just slightly from the staid turkey day tradition. Along with the stuffing, local chefs debut an apple pie with crumb topping, a hearty clam chowder and a creamed spinach.So go ahead. Stray from Aunt Marthas green bean casserole tyranny. We wont tell.
Paul Rogers, executive chef at Mirador restaurant at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera cites his grandmother as inspiration for his brioche butternut squash stuffing. My grandmother used to make the best stuffing in the world, he said. I tried to take her stuffing and make it even better. Rogers uses brioche, a light, slightly sweet bread, because its a little more elegant, he said. It compliments the butternut squash really well. The honey in the brioche goes really well with the sweetness in the butternut squash. When you try it, its out of this world, he said. We dont doubt it.Brioche butternut squash stuffing, courtesty of Mirador Executive Chef Paul RogersServes 61 1/2 quarts diced butternut squash2 cups small diced celery1 1/2 cup small diced red onion6 cloves chopped garlic3 tablespoon chopped sage2 tablespoon chopped parsley1 tablespoon chopped thyme1/2 tablespoon chopped rosemary1 1/2 loaf brioche, cut into cubes4 cups chicken stockSaut squash then add mere poix (celery, onions and carrots). Saute until aromatic, about two or three minutes. Add herbs, salt and pepper. Fold in brioche and slowly add stock. If you add too much stock, it gets soggy so dont add any more than the four cups the recipe calls for. Let the stuffing cool. Before serving, toast the stuffing lightly in a 450-degree oven for about three to four minutes.
Larkspur pastry chef Kim Guertin calls this apple pie a classic Thanksgiving dessert. Besides being easy for the home cook to assemble, Guertin likes this recipe because the crumb topping differentiates it from the typical, two crusted pie. And since the filling is precooked, extra water from the apples doesnt seep into the pre-cooked crust. It keeps the crust nice and flaky, Guertin said. To serve, heat the slice while its cold, so it doesnt fall apart. Warm it in the over for a few minutes and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Yum. Apple Pie with Crumb Topping, courtesy of Larkspur pastry chef Kim GuertinPie Crust: Yield one 8-inch pie2 1/3 cup pastry flour1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold butter, cubed1 teaspoon salt3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cold water1 egg1 tablespoon cider vinegarCombine salt and flour. Cut in cubed butter until pea-size. Add water, egg and vinegar to dry mixture and butter just until mixture comes together. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until approximately 1/8-inch thick. Place in pie pan and flute edges. Line dough with aluminum foil and pie weights and bake at 350-degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.Apple Filling: Yield 6 cups8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced small2 cups cider1/4 cup flour1 cup light brown sugar1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg1/4 teaspoon ground allspice1/4 teaspoon ground cloves1/2 vanilla beanCombine all ingredients in a heavy bottom saucepot and set over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, cook until apples are soft (approximately 1/2 hour). Let cool.Crumb Topping: Yield 3 cups3 cups oats1 cup brown sugar1 cup butter, cold, cubed3/4 cup flour2 teaspoon cinnamonMix all ingredients together until butter is pea-size.Assemble and bake:Pour filling into cooled crust. Cover completely with crumb topping. Bake at 350-degrees for 20 to 30 minutes until the topping is golden brown and crispy. Cool completely before slicing. Top each slice with vanilla ice cream and serve.
Helmut Kaschitz, executive chef for Pepis Restaurant in Vail, had never tasted clam chowder before he moved here from Austria a decade ago.Maybe the novelty appealed to him, or perhaps the hint of ocean in a landlocked town beckoned, but the soup quickly became his Thanksgiving favorite. Kaschitz says the chowder pairs well with turkey because its hearty.The flavor, if somebody knows how a fresh clam in the ocean would smell, its pretty much the same thing, he said. You can actually smell the ocean in the soup.This clam chowder is quite popular at Pepis around the holidays, Kaschitz said. Usually people say its a very good soup, he said. People want to have the recipe, and I am more than happy to give it out if they are interested in that.Manhattan Clam Chowder, courtesty of Helmut Kaschitz, executive chef at Pepis RestaurantServes four to six people1 yellow onion, diced1 celery stalk (1 cup, diced)1 cup diced potatoes1/2 cup diced tomatoes1 quart clam juice1 1/2-2 cups chopped clams (with juice)1 clove garlic, diced1/2 cup heavy whipping cream1 teaspoon parsley, choppedsalt and pepper2-3 fresh thyme sprigs1teaspoon dried thymeIn a large, wide stockpot, heat up a little olive oil and butter (together probably 1/2 cup). First, put in the onions. When the onions are caramelized, add the celery, potatoes and garlic. After 2 to 3 minutes, add the clam juice, chopped clams and tomatoes. If there is not enough liquid, you always can add some water (or clam juice) to it. When it starts boiling, add the herbs and the whipping cream. Taste it, and if necessary, adjust the soup. Cornstarch mixed with water can be used to thicken the soup not too thick, but also not too thin.
Juan Martinez, chef at Chaps, shares a creamed spinach recipe that offers a unique take on a steakhouse side dish.Spinach on its own isnt real exciting, he said. Thats why he adds fresh basil to give the earthy vegetable a more fragrant taste.Im a big fan of fresh herbs, Martinez said. He also dresses up the spinach with truffle oil, a somewhat exotic ingredient he finds at gourmet shops.Creamed spinach is a good addition to a Thanksgiving feast because the hearty dish goes with everything, Martinez said.Its kind of like comfort food, he said. Thanksgiving is a warm, together, comfortable time.Creamed Spinach, courtesy of Juan Martinez, chef at Chaps restaurant in VailServes 6 to 8Sauce2 tablespoons butter2 tablespoons all-purpose flour1 cup whole milk4 ounces heavy creamDash of nutmeg, white pepper, saltSpinach1 ounce butter1 yellow onion, diced1 teaspoon minced garlic2 ounces fresh basil chiffonade1 pound cleaned spinachWhite truffle oil to tasteFor the sauce: Heat butter and flour in sauce pot, stirring. Add liquid and season with nutmeg, white pepper and salt. Stir over low heat for 30 minutes. Set aside.For the spinach: In a separate pan, heat butter, add onion and garlic and cook until onions become transluscent. Add fresh basil. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Combine cream sauce and spinach. Add truffle oil. Adjust seasoning and serve warm. This dish is also nice with a lightly toasted bread crumb topping.