New Jersey Chefs Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Pumpkin Tortellini by Chef Anthony Pino

Pumpkin Tortellini with Brown Butter & Sage by Chef Anthony Pino of The Dining Room at Anthony David’s and Bin 14

  • Pumpkin Tortellini about 2 lbs (this can be found at specialty food stores like Fairway)
  • Butter, 4 oz
  • Chicken stock, 8 oz
  • Sage, 4 leaves
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Parsley, chopped to garnish
  • Pecorino Cheese 2 to 3 oz
  • Granulated Honey, 1 to 2 tsp


  1. Start by boiling water and add a generous pinch of salt. Once the water is boiling add the tortellini to the pot and cover. This will take about 5-6 minutes.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large sauté pan. When pan is hot add the butter. When light smoke appears, add chicken stock to stop the browning of the butter then add sage, salt, pepper. Allow this to simmer for 2 minutes allowing the herbs and the butter to marry.
  3. By now your tortellini should be ready. Remove lid. Pull up on the handles and allow the water to drain right back into the pot. When completely drained, pour the tortellini into the butter sage sauce and simmer for 1 minute. Add the parsley, toss. Plate the pasta. Grate the Pecorino directly over each plate and then sprinkle with granulated honey.
Chef Josh Thomsen

Recipe feeds 4 people.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake by Chef Josh Thomsen, Agricola Community Eatery, 11 Witherspoon St., Princeton NJ, opening January 2013.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-3/4 tsp butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 cup cranberries
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup red currant jelly


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and orange zest in a medium bowl.
  3. Melt 6 tbsp butter over medium-high heat. Add 8 tbsp sugar to dissolve, cooking until it reaches a bubbly boil. Pour into the bottom of an 8×2-inch round cake pan. Scatter cranberries and pecans over the “caramel” and press down gently.
  4. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream 8 tbsp butter until soft. Add 1/2 cup sugar and beat until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Add in half of flour mixture and beat on low until just incorporated. Add milk, then remaining flour mixture.
  5. Spoon batter over cranberries and smooth with a spatula. Bake 40-45 minutes. Warm jelly until smooth to glaze warm cake

Cranberry Chestnut Stuffed Quail
by Francesco Palmieri of The Orange Squirrel

  • 4 whole boneless quail (or you can use Cornish Game Hen or Squab)

For the stuffing:

  • One whole crusty loaf of bread cut into small cubes to dry out – lay flat on a sheet pan and place in oven over night with only pilot light on.
  • ½ lb. fresh chestnuts – split shell and roast about 20 minutes in oven at 350 degrees.  Cool, shuck and discard shell (or use canned chestnuts with no shells)
  • Cut chestnuts into quarters and sauté in 2 tbsp. whole butter and add 2 tbsp. honey for 5 minutes.  Set aside.
  • ½ lb. celery diced small, sauté in duck fat (or chicken fat or lard)
  • 1 c. fresh cranberries.  Steep in 1½ cups fresh squeezed orange juice with a bay leaf, sprig of thyme and a few sage leaves.  Discard herbs.  Strain any excess liquid and reserve for use as needed.
  • In bowl add all ingredients together.  Make sure stuffing is well seasoned with salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Add additional reserved liquid as needed for moist stuffing.

Stuff the quail (or other small bird) with cranberry chestnut stuffing.  Place on a baking rack and roast at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until juices run clear.

Makes 4 servings.

Butternut Squash & Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding by Chef Josh Thomsen, Agricola Community Eatery, 11 Witherspoon St., Princeton NJ, opening January 2013.


  • 1 loaf brioche
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups diced yellow onions
  • 1-1/2 lbs chanterelle mushrooms, or any combination of domestic mushrooms,
  • shiitake, hedgehog, porcini and oyster
  • 3 cups diced butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup creme fraiche
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated asiago cheese


  1. Roast butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper at 400 degrees, about 7 minutes, until tender.
  2. Roast mushrooms with thyme and garlic in a 475 degree oven for 7 minutes.
  3. Remove crust from the bread and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  4. Grease a large baking dish about 12″ by 18″ with some of the butter.
  5. In a large saute pan melt the remaining butter and saute the onions until soft.
  6. In a large bowl, toss together bread, mushrooms, squash and parsley.
  7. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk, creme fraiche, eggs, salt, pepper and cheese. Add the milk mixture to the bread mixture, pour into the baking dish and press down firmly.
  8. Allow pudding to set 30 minutes before baking.
  9. Reduce oven to 350 degrees and bake pudding about 1 hour. If pudding browns, cover with foil. Test for doneness by inserting a knife in the middle, it should come out clean

Serves 18.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake by Bill Zucosky of Westminster Hotel  & Strip House, Livingston NJ.


For the topping:

  • 4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¾ lb cranberries
  • ¼ Kirsch (optional)

For the cake:

  • 1 ½ cups all- purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼  tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbsp. ( 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk
  • ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
  • Zest of 1 orange


  1. To make the topping: Butter a 9 inch round cake pan.  Put the butter, brown sugar and the Kirsch in the prepped pan and warm the pan using medium heat.  Stir the mixture until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved.  Scatter the cranberries over the mixture. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350.
  3. To make the cake: In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and zest and mix well. Using a silicone or rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk.
  4. In a bowl, using a whisk or an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Using the spatula, fold the whites into the batter.
  5. Spoon the batter over the cranberries in the cake pan, spreading it evenly. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert onto a serving plate, let stand for 5 minutes, then lift off the pan.

Makes one 9-inch round cake.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Scallops and Crispy Prosciutto by Chris Siversen, Maritime Parc, Jersey City:


  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. ground star anise
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cloves
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • Half a small butternut squash, seeded
  • 1 small Spanish onion, diced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 quart chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. sage, chopped
  • 12 sea scallops, cleaned and dried
  • 4 slices Prosciutto baked in oven until crispy like bacon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix spices with one tablespoon of the oil to make a paste.  Spread on meat side of squash and place on cookie sheet skin side down.  Cook until tender then scoop the meat along with the browned spices and puree in food processor until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve for risotto.
  3. Preheat sauté pan over medium heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil as well as onion, sauté until translucent.  Add risotto and cook until slightly nutty in color then add white wine and cook until absorbed by the rice stirring continually. Add just enough stock/water to cover rice while again stirring continuously. When the rice is becoming tender add the butternut squash puree as well as milk, cheese, butter, sage and season with salt and pepper.  Reserve some of the milk for finishing. Lower temperature until ready to serve.

  4. Heat a sauté pan till hot and add 1 tablespoon of oil.  Season the scallops with salt and pepper then place in hot pan and cook on both sides until scallops are slightly springy to the touch.
  5. Raise the temperature on the risotto and adjust the consistency so it is creamy and rice is slightly nutty in the center.  Add the scallops and crumble the crispy prosciutto on top and serve at once.

Serves 4.

Cabelo de Anjo (“Angel Hair”) by Ilson Goncalves of Samba Montclair:  

It’s a traditional Brazilian dish I serve with turkey.  Put egg yolks in boiling salted water with melted sugar, like a simple syrup.  Scramble the yolks, making strings or threads of “angel hair” in the process.  Then spoon around the turkey like you’re creating a nest.

Chef Eric LeVine

Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta by Eric B LeVine of Morris Tap & Grill:


  • 8 oz  pancetta  (diced)
  • 8 oz  pearl onions  (white pearl onions blanched shocked and peeled)
  • 8  garlic cloves  (sliced in half)
  • 4 lbs  brussels sprouts  (trimmed)
  • black pepper
  • kosher salt
  • olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Toss Brussels Sprouts with olive oil and season liberally with kosher salt. Roast in oven until sprouts are bright green and tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven.
  3. While sprouts are roasting, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and cook pancetta until browned, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the pearl onions and garlic, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until onions caramelize and are tender.
  5. Add the roasted sprouts to the saute pan. Toss well with the pearl onions and pancetta, adjust seasoning to taste and serve immediately.

Pulled Turkey Leg Pastilla with Creamed Corn by Sam Mickail, of Sam Mickail’s CUT Steak House (opening December 2012):


  • 1 pound leftover turkey leg, meat, coarsely chopped
  • 12 sheets of Phyllo dough
  • 2 ounces onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. chopped cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 ounces finely ground almonds
  • 1 cup chicken/turkey stock
  • 1 cup creamed corn
  • 4 tsp. powdered sugar
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • Pinch of ginger
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Optional spices:
    • Pinch of saffron
    • Pinch of chili powder


  1. In a pan, sauteed onions, garlic, and turkey approx. 3-4 mins. Then add stock, cilantro, cinnamon, ginger, (salt and pepper to taste). Let cook for 5 mins on medium heat. Strain excess liquids.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Next, brush ramekin with butter, place first phyllo sheet in ramekin, brush sheet with butter and sprinkle almond “dust” between sheets, repeat with each ramekin til they all have 3 sheets.
  3. Take pulled turkey mixture, place a small layer at the bottom of ramekin, on top 1 tbs of creamed corn, repeat once more. Topping it off with ground almonds. Fold the phyllo dough in, brush with egg wash, sprinkle almond dust and cinnamon, and bake for 25 mins.
  4. Take out the ramekins. Let sit for 5 mins, flip ramekin over to take out the pastilla. Place on a plate followed by sprinkling sugar powder on top.

Makes 4 servings.

Oyster and Sausage Stuffing by Chef Mike Carrino of Pig & Prince Restaurant & Gastrolounge


  • 4 cups stale bread cut into small pieces, or stuffing croutons
  • 2 Tbls vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup Andouille sausage cut small
  • ½ cup chopped oysters
  • ¼ cup carrot small dice
  • ½ cup white onion cut small
  • 6 cups turkey stock
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbls fresh herbs


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a medium sauce pan bring the stock to a simmer
  3. In a medium sauté pan, sweat the sausage in oil
  4. Season the oysters with salt and pepper then add to the sausage
  5. Add carrots and onions and sauté until veggies are tender
  6. Add fresh herbs then the bread
  7. Pour hot stock over the mixture and allow to sit for two minutes
  8. Transfer to a casserole and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes

Thank you to all the chefs who shared their favorite Thanksgiving recipes. We know they’ll become favorites of our readers also.

Veronique Deblois, Food & Wine Chickie: Veronique is a food and wine writer based in Morris County, NJ. As the author of the popular blog, Food & Wine Chickie Insider, Veronique shares recipes, wine and restaurant reviews and insight into the travel industry of which she’s a 15-year veteran. Follow Veronique on Twitter or like her Facebook page.