Remembrance of Turkeys Past

Chefs reveal their childhood Thanksgiving favorites.

Green bean casserole, sweet potatoes topped with mini marshmallows—most of us harbor nostalgia for a certain holiday dish from our childhood. But what about restaurant pros? Do they now shrink in horror from the foods they once loved? Actually, no—and these local stars were happy to share memories, recipes, and a few guilty confessions. Click the links for the recipes!


Jeremy Sewall
(Lineage) Sewall grew up loving his mom’s butternut squash purée (which he’s since adapted for his own family). But “my favorite part of the day was sitting down with my dad and eating smoked oysters right out of the can while we watched football."

Recipe for Sewall’s Butternut Squash Purée.


Christopher Myers
(Radius, Via Matta, Great Bay, Myers + Chang) Every Thanksgiving, Myers and his mother (who is part Pawnee Indian) would pick cranberries on Plum Island. Back in the kitchen, the family made big batches of hypersweet cranberry sauce that was “pretty much equal parts sugar to cranberries."

Recipe for Myers’ Cranberry Relish.

Ana Sortun
(Oleana) Despite garnering renown for her exotic creations, the chef gets misty for her grandmother’s “simple hot rolls with salty, yummy homemade butter."

Recipe for Sortun’s Mama Jo’s Basic Rolls.

Anthony Susi
(Sage) “My aunt would stuff those mild, long green peppers with lots of ground sausage, finely chopped mushrooms, fresh herbs, and just enough bread crumbs to hold it all together. Now that I think about it, they might show up on my bar menu."

Recipe for Susi’s Sausage Stuffed Finger Peppers.

Adam Halberg
(former Beehive consulting chef) “It was all about my grandmother’s kugel—a touch of cinnamon and sugar, cottage cheese and sour cream, and pineapple for sweetness.”

Also, see Mary Dumont’s Dad’s Apple Pie.



To see five exclusive Thanksgiving recipes from these master chefs, go on to the next pages (or click the above links)…

Butternut Squash Purée
Jeremy Sewall

Serves six

¼ c. (½ stick) butter

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into

1-inch pieces

½ c. heavy cream

¼ c. apple cider

½ tsp. grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

3 tbsp. freshly grated


¼ c. fresh pomegranate seeds (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat and cook until light brown in color. Add squash and cook, stirring frequently, until edges are browned. Add cream, cider, and nutmeg. Continue cooking until squash is tender. 2. Purée mixture in a food processor, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread in a medium casserole dish and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until cheese is melted and mixture is warmed through, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds just before serving.

Go on to the next page to see Ana Sortun’s recipe for Mama Jo’s Basic Rolls…

Mama Jo’s Basic Rolls
Ana Sortun

1 or 2 yeast cakes (or 1 or 2 quarter-ounce dry yeast packs)

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup sugar

4 teaspoons salt

8 cups flour

1/4 cup shortening

1 cup milk, scalded

1 1/2 cups water

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1. Dissolve yeast in the warm water. In the bowl of a standing mixer with dough attachment (or in a large bowl, mixed by hand) combine dry ingredients. Stir in shortening. Add remaining wet ingredients and knead 10-15 minutes. 2. Put dough in a clean bowl and cover until doubled in bulk—about 2 hours. (Ana’s grandmother set the bowl in a bowl of warm water.) 3. Cut dough into small (approximately 3-inch) “chunks,” then roll dough into balls, tucking the seam under and pushing it in towards the center of the ball. Let rise 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. 4. Bake rolls on bottom rack for 10 minutes, then move to top rack and back until golden brown, 2 to 3 more minutes.

Go on to the next page to see Anthony Susi’s recipe for Aunt Gina’s Sausage Stuffed Finger Peppers…

Aunt Gina’s Sausage Stuffed Finger Peppers
Anthony Susi

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound bulk Italian sausage

2 pounds button mushrooms, finely chopped

3 shallots, finely chopped

¼ cup white wine

1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped

½ cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped

About 1 cup plain breadcrumbs

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

About 3 tablespoons olive oil

6 green finger peppers, Stems and seeds removed

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, breaking the meat into fine pieces as you go. Transfer sausage to a large bowl, discarding all but 1 tablespoon of oil from pan. Reduce heat to medium and add mushrooms and shallots; cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Add wine and scrape browned bits from bottom of pan. Add rosemary and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat, add mushroom mixture the cooked sausage, and stir in parsley, bread crumbs, and cheese. 2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stuff each of the peppers with an equal amount of the sausage mixture and set in a baking pan. Drizzle peppers with the olive oil and season with additional salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes or until tender. S
erve hot or at room temperature.

Go on to the next page to see a recipe for Mary Dumont’s "Dad’s Apple Pie"…

Dad’s Apple Pie
Mary Dumont

“My father’s secret to a perfect pie was freezing the pies overnight.” Mary says. “It sets the dough and apple mixture together and allows the pie to cook evenly without the insides boiling out.”

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing pan

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons flour

5 (about 1 ½ lbs) Cortland apples, peeled, cored, and sliced ½ inch thick

1 recipe Pastry Dough (see below)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 egg

1. Grease a 9 inch deep-dish pie pan with butter.In a large bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour. Gently toss apples in dry mixture. Set aside. 2. Divide dough in half and roll each half into a ball. Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll out each ball to a circle about 10 inches in diameter. Transfer one circle to the prepared pie pan. Pour apple mixture into pastry and top with butter. Lay second circle over pie. Trim dough as needed to hang just ½ inch over pan edge. Fold pastry under and crimp. Make several V-shaped slits in the top of the dough with a sharp knife, wrap pie loosely in plastic wrap, and leave in freezer overnight. 3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees In a small pan over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Remove pan from heat and whisk in egg. Remove pie from freezer and brush with butter and egg mixture. Set pie on a baking sheet and bake until top is golden brown and sides just barely start to bubble, about 50 minutes.


Pastry Dough
Makes enough for a double-crust pie

3 cups flour, sifted

¼ cup sugar

½ pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed

2 large eggs

In a food processor pulse together the flour and sugar until mixture is combined. Add butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. With the food processor running add eggs until completely combined and then stop to scrape down the sides. Pulse a few more times to make sure everything is moistened then remove contents from bowl and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour before using.

To see a recipe for Christopher Myers’ Cranberry Relish, go on to the next page…

Cranberry Relish
Christopher Myers

2 pounds fresh cranberries

3 cups sugar

2 cups water

1/2 cup orange juice

¼ cup tasted walnuts or pistachios

¼ cup chopped dates or raisins

In a large saucepan over high heat, combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 10 minutes, stirring well, until the cranberries have popped open and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in nuts and dates or raisins.