A 'Top Chef' Thanksgiving

PEOPLE asked the judges and some past competitors of Bravo’s Top Chef (season 5 premieres on Nov. 12) to lay down their knives and create a fresh take on the holiday menu. Here are their recipes:

Candied-Cranberry-and-Spiced-Rum Punch
• Chef Josie Smith-Malave

Candied cranberries
1 cup cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
2 cups water
1 stick cinnamon
½ cup spiced rum

Place all items except rum in small sauce pan over medium heat, and simmer until liquid has evaporated by half (about 20 minutes).

Reserve and add rum allow to soak for 4-6 hours.

For the cocktail:

1 oz. spiced rum
1 oz. light rum (Josie likes Pyrat)
1 tbsp. Grand Marnier
1oz. pineapple juice
1oz. passion fruit juice
1 tablespoon (splash) coconut milk
1 tablespoon candied cranberries
crushed ice
nutmeg (fresh, use micro plane; or a pinch of ground)

Muddle cranberries in pint glass with crushed ice and passion fruit juice.

Add pineapple, rums, Grand Marnier.

Butternut Squash Soup with Walnuts
• Chef Nikki Cascone

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
4 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 in. cubes
6 cups chicken stock

In large pot melt butter. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add the squash and the stock.

Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer until squash is tender, about 15 minutes.

Let soup cool slightly, then puree in blender in batches.

Return pureed soup to pot. Season with 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with spicy walnuts (recipe below).

Spicy Walnuts

1 tbsp melted butter
1 cup walnut halves
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

Deep-Fried Turkey with Hot Sauce
• Chef Dale Talde

Brine (for a 12 -15 lb. turkey)
2 cups maple syrup
2 cups salt
¼ cup black peppercorns
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
4 gallons water
2 heads of garlic

Combine all ingredients and cover turkey with the brine for 24 to 36 hours in the refrigerator.

To Cook:
Remove turkey from brine and dry thoroughly.

In an outdoor deep-fryer heat enough oil to cover turkey to 350 degrees (Follow manufacturer’s directions)

Gently place dried turkey into the oil. Fry until internal temperature reaches 175 degrees, then remove. The turkey will continue to cook 185 degrees. Serve with dipping sauce (below).

Hot Sauce
In individual containers (one per person) combine:
1 tbsp. confectioners sugar
2 tbsp. of any hot sauce you like (Dale likes Frank’s Red Hot) • Josie’s Candied-Cranberry-and-Spiced Rum Punch
Nikki’s Butternut Squash Soup with Walnuts
Dale’s Deep-Fried Turkey with Hot Sauce
• Tom’s Sausage Stuffing with Caramelized Leek and Sage
Padma’s Zucchini Pudding
Spike’s Vineyards Cranberry Relish
Gail’s Creamed Spinach
Harold’s Potato Roesti
Dave’s Pumpkin Panne Cotta
Lee Anne’s Day-After Turkey and Dumplings

Sausage Stuffing with Caramelized Leek and Sage
• Chef Tom Colicchio

2 packages breakfast sausage
1 cup finely chopped fennel ½ cup finely chopped carrots
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped leeks
½ cup finely chopped onion 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup golden raisins soaked in hot water and drained
2 lbs. crusty French bread, cubed, placed on a tray and left out overnight
Fresh thyme leaves
Fresh sage leaves
Toasted fennel seed
6 large lightly beaten eggs
2 to 3 cups chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook sausage in large sauté pan over medium heat until browned.

Remove pan from heat and set aside saving the sausage fat. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon. Cut into ¼-inch pieces. Set aside.

Place pan back on the stove over medium heat. Add chopped fennel, carrots, celery, leeks, onion, and garlic. Sauté about 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, place the sausage, saut ed vegetables, raisins, bread cubes, thyme, sage, and fennel seeds to taste. Thoroughly mix in eggs. Slowly add just enough chicken stock until mixture is moist. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Zucchini Pudding
• Padma Lakshmi

2 lb. zucchini, chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
8 tbsp. (1 stick) butter, sliced
½ cup snipped fresh dill
1 ½ cups grated mild cheddar cheese
3 oz. soft goat cheese
1 large egg, well beaten
1 cup crushed saltines (about 20 crackers)
10 additional whole crackers
½ cup canned or fresh cooked sweet corn kernels
¼ tsp. cayenne
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Boil the zucchini and bay leaves in water for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and discard the bay leaves.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Scatter the butter slices in a 9-inch flat baking or gratin dish.

Add the zucchini to the butter, mashing it in. Stir in the dill.

Add 1 cup of shredded cheddar to the zucchini and continue to stir. Add the goat cheese, beaten egg, crushed saltines (reserving the 10 whole crackers for the top crust), sweet corn, and cayenne.

Crumble the reserved crackers into a bowl and mix with ½ cup of cheddar cheese. Sprinkle this over the top to form a crust.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes, uncovering for the last 5 to 6 minutes so the top browns. The pudding should be bubbling just under the surface. Let it rest in the turned-off oven until ready to serve.

Serve hot or warm.

From Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet by Padma Lakshimi (Weinstein Books, 2007), reprinted with permission • Josie’s Candied-Cranberry-and-Spiced Rum Punch
Nikki’s Butternut Squash Soup with Walnuts
Dale’s Deep-Fried Turkey with Hot Sauce
Tom’s Sausage Stuffing with Caramelized Leek and Sage
Padma’s Zucchini Pudding
• Spike’s Vineyards Cranberry Relish
Gail’s Creamed Spinach
Harold’s Potato Roesti
Dave’s Pumpkin Panne Cotta
Lee Anne’s Day-After Turkey and Dumplings

The Vineyards Cranberry Relish
• Chef Spike Mendelsohn

1-½ cups sugar
1 navel orange
½ tsp. grated fresh ginger
4 cups cranberries
½ tsp. chopped sage

Grate the peel from the orange, then juice the orange.

Combine sugar, orange peel, orange juice and ginger in a medium saucepan.

Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

Add cranberries and cook, stirring occasionally until cranberries pop and sauce starts to thicken.

Remove from heat. Stir in sage. Let cool.

Creamed Spinach with Bread Crumbs
• Gail Simmons

2 ¼lbs. baby spinach
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ lb. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps cut into ½ inch dice
1 medium onion, minced
1 tsp. finely chopped thyme leaves
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups whole milk
¾ cup finely grated aged Grana Padano cheese (about 2 oz.)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bring 4 in. of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the spinach in large handfuls and cook just until wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the spinach and cool under running water. Drain the spinach again, pressing and squeezing out as much water as possible. Transfer the spinach to a cutting board and coarsely chop it.

In a large, deep skillet, melt 4 tbsps. of the butter. Add the shiitake mushrooms, onion and thyme and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, just until the pan looks dry, about 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and stir until smooth and creamy.

Bring to a boil over moderate heat and cook, stirring, until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the spinach and half of the cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Scrape the mixture into a shallow 1 ½-quart baking dish in an even layer. In a small skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Remove from the heat and add the panko and the remaining cheese; season with salt and pepper.

Scatter the crumbs over the spinach and bake for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the crumbs are golden. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. (Originally tested by Food & Wine) • Josie’s Candied-Cranberry-and-Spiced Rum Punch
Nikki’s Butternut Squash Soup with Walnuts
Dale’s Deep-Fried Turkey with Hot Sauce
Tom’s Sausage Stuffing with Caramelized Leek and Sage
Padma’s Zucchini Pudding
Spike’s Vineyards Cranberry Relish
Gail’s Creamed Spinach
• Harold’s Potato Roesti
Dave’s Pumpkin Panne Cotta
Lee Anne’s Day-After Turkey and Dumplings

Potato Roesti
• Chef Harold Dieterle

1 large onion
6 slices bacon
6 Idaho (russet) potatoes, peeled and shredded
¼ cup olive oil
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

Slice the onion paper thin and cut the bacon into small strips to make bits. In a large sauté pan cook the bacon until crispy, add the sliced. Cook slowly until the onions are caramelized, about 15 minutes. Remove onion mixture from the pan and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, squeeze the peeled, shredded potatoes in a clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture.

Pumpkin Panna Cotta
• Chef Dave Martin

¼ cup of cold water
1 ½ tbsp. of powdered gelatin
3 cups of heavy cream
3 cups of half & half
1 ¼ cups of granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean split and scraped
1 ½ cups of sour cream
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
½ tablespoon of kosher salt
fresh mint leaves (for garnish)
whipped cream

Activate gelatin in cold water for about 5 minutes. Add to large saucepan with cream & half and half with vanilla extract, sugar and vanilla bean and its scrapings to scald (heat to just boiling).

Remove from heat, cool slightly and then blend in sour cream, pumpkin puree, spice and salt.

Day-After Turkey and Dumplings
• Chef Lee Anne Wong

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 stick butter
2 cups pearl onions, trimmed and peeled
1 ½ cups carrots, cut into ¾” dice
1½ cups celery, cut into ¾” dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. thyme, minced
2 tsp. sage, minced
1 bay leaf
½ cup flour
¾ cup white wine
¼ cup dry sherry
4 cups turkey Stock or chicken stock
1 cup milk
Juice of one lemon
pinch nutmeg
black pepper
1½ lb. cooked turkey meat, white and dark, cut into 1″ chunks (4-5 cups)
1 recipe Dumpling Dough (recipe follows)
Minced Parsley for garnish

In a large Dutch oven or 8 qt pot, heat the butter and olive oil together over medium-high heat. Add the pearl onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, sage, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Sweat the vegetables until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir well to coat. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the white wine, sherry, stock, and milk to the pot all at once. Stir well to mix and make sure there are no lumps. Season well with lemon juice, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Bring the mixture to a rolling simmer over medium-high heat, being careful to stir the bottom of the pot. The stock should thicken as it comes to a simmer. Add the chopped turkey to the pot, stirring well to combine.

Drop the dumplings onto the surface of the stew and reduce to heat to low and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid. Simmer for 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the dumplings have expanded and are cooked through. Serve immediately garnished with chopped parsley.

Dumpling Dough

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ cup parsley, minced
1½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons lard or shortening, cold, diced small
¾ cup buttermilk, cold

Combine the first five ingredients and mix well. Cut in the lard or shortening until the mixture resembles a crumb. Slowly stir in the buttermilk until the dough comes together. Do not overwork the dough.

Roll the dough out to ½” thickness. (Use a light amount of flour if needed) At this point you may cut the dough into 2″x2″ squares or pinch off 1″-2″ balls of dough to drop in.

For more from the Top Chef contestants, pick up PEOPLE’s latest issue, on stands Friday.

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