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New Jersey Chefs Cook Up Some Unexpected Turkey Day Dishes


Roasted veggies. Mashed potatoes. Stuffing. Turkey. We love ’em all, and we know you do, too. Once in a while, though, it’s nice to step back and make something that’s more, well, unexpected. Here are a few off-the-beaten-path dishes prepared and served at home by some of New Jersey’s finest chefs.

Chef Luis Estrada – Salt Creek Grille, Princeton
“I enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving with a Latin twist. Try stuffing the turkey with ground ham, hot dogs and pork! Serve with yellow rice, vegetables and ensalada rusa. A delicious dish made even better with fresh tortillas!”

Chef Bryan Gregg – Escape Montclair, Montclair

“My wife doesn’t like turkey so we typically make a chateaubriand for Thanksgiving.”

Chef Jesse Jones – Chef Jesse Cuisine Catering
“We cook chitling and hog maws!”

Chef Inna Sharmis Lapin – The Committed Pig, Manasquan
“Instead of roasting a whole turkey, sometimes I have the butcher give me the breasts only, pound them out a little, stuff them, roll them, tie them, sear them and then roast them on a bed of carrots, celery, and onions. You get a much juicier cut of meat and so much easier slice.”

Chef Christine Nunn – Picnic on the Square, Ridgewood
“I insist on a Campbell’s soup casserole: broccoli and cheddar with cream of chicken soup. And of course, I spend hours peeling pearl onions for creamed pearl onions.”

Chef Sally Owens-Murray – SO Tasty Vegan, Montclair
“I make pumpkin quinoa cakes with kale and sage pesto—a little weird but so good.”

Chef John Sauchelli – Maritime Parc, Jersey City
“I’m making bacon ice cream for a pretzel waffle and roasted apple dish.”

Chef David Viana – The Kitchen at Grove Station, Jersey City
“I have a dish with scallops and a butternut squash based BBQ sauce. Also, I’m working on a dish I’m calling ‘stuffing.’ It’s an oatmeal-risotto with all the flavors of turkey stuffing.”

Chef Todd Villani – Terre à Terre, Carlstadt
“We make cornbread-chorizo stuffing, sweet potato burnt butter chipotle purée, and also cranberry, beet and truffle sauce for turkey.”

Chef Paul Winberry – The Beach Tavern, Monmouth Beach
“We make creamed pearl onions in a simple béchamel sauce, weird but its been a family tradition since I was little.”

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