Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and, while seeking culinary inspiration, we ask some of DC's top chefs about their favorite holiday dishes.
Brabo's Chef de Cuisine Harper McClure's favorite holiday dish? This sweet potato and marshmallow plate.
Harper McClure, Brabo
"My mom was into all natural foods, so I actually grew up making our own marshmallows at home! I wanted to pay homage to the tradition of marshmallows and sweet potatoes, but I also wanted to elevate it. I love how sage marshmallows appeal to traditionalists and foodies alike."
Chris Hawkins, Masa 14
“Every Thanksgiving my father prepares a duck and seafood gumbo. He starts it the day before my sister and I [are to arrive.] I always talk to him the day before, and he updates me on the gumbo's progress and what interesting ingredients he used this year. I usually begin anticipating the gumbo a week or so before I fly home.”
Chris Clime, PassionFish
"Our time-honored tradition is to make a big Caesar salad in an antique bowl that we’ve used for the past forty years.”
David Guas, Bayou Bakery
“Our place is the host house for both sides of the family. Thanksgiving morning always begins with a goose hunt, being it’s the opening of the season. Back just in time to fry the turkey, crust the top of mom’s oyster dressing, and catch some football.”
Robert Wiedmaier, Marcel’s
“We spend our Thanksgivings on the western shore of Maryland and take part in a ritual morning hunt that is practically outside my back door. What is caught is served for dinner. Despite pleas from my sons for turkey, we typically serve duck or venison.”
Jason Streiff, Zengo
“My favorite dish is probably the left over sandwich. Made with turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and sometimes gravy on some good bread.”
Ralf Schlegel, Plume
“Braised green bean puree with a chopped savory herb topping.”
Urbana's Executive Chef Ethan McKee
Ethan McKee, Urbana
"Three must-haves. Scalloped oysters, a very old recipe that my family has prepared for generations—it’s just oysters, layered with crackers, butter and heavy cream and baked. Pumpkin chiffon pie, a very light version of pumpkin pie that is not baked. It’s basically a pumpkin puree mixed with French meringue and chilled to set. And pizza rustica. This was introduced to me by my wife’s family and is deep, flaky pie-crust filled with mixture of salumi, mozzarella, and ricotta and baked. Traditionally it’s prepared at Easter, but her family always makes it for Thanksgiving and Christmas as well.”
Louis Temprosa, El Centro D.F.
“Green bean casserole is one of my favorites.”
Kyoo Eom, Poste
“I grew up in South Korea, where they eat lots of roasted vegetables for the holidays. The best dish ever is bibimbap, made with leftover veggies and a sunny side up egg on top—my version of the leftover Thanksgiving sandwich.”
Katsuya Fukushima, Daikaya
“My mom makes a sushi maki roll each Thanksgiving. I can’t recall when this tradition started or why, but I look forward to my dad's slow roasted turkey and my mom's maki roll. It's so Hawaiian in nature too. It's preserved tuna in olive oil cooked in a soy mixture. It has egg omelet, carrots, and whatever she feels like putting in.”
Orlando H. Amaro, Station 4
“I love to make turkey roulade for my parents over the holidays. Basically, you take out all the bones of the turkey and stuff it with nuts, raisins, dry fruit, and ground pork. After that, it's wrapped up in its own skin and cooked in the oven for 4 1/2 hours at low temperature with root vegetables, white wine, sage, bay leafs, and butter until it's golden crispy. Once it's out the oven, we save the juices and the vegetables are served in a tray. We cut the turkey in medallions. And voila.”
Dwayne Motley, Nage
“The turducken. It was my idea to make it (this was before I knew I wanted to be a Chef) and we got a turkey breast, chicken breast, and a duck breast. I deboned everything and put layers of sausage jambalaya between the different meats. Tied it and roasted very slowly under my mom’s supervision. I never tasted anything like it before. Ever since I have been hooked on it. Whenever I look back on that time I'm always happy because my father was alive and life seemed much simpler.”
Fabio Trabocchi of Fiola, Fiola Mare, and Casa Luca
“The one dish that I always serve around Thanksgiving is chestnut soup. The smell of roasting nuts brings me back to my childhood, where every town [in Italy] had street vendors who sold handfuls of chestnuts wrapped in newspaper."
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SCOTT SUCHMAN (POTATO AND MARSHMALLOW DISH); COURTESY OF FACEBOOK.COM (CHEF MCKEE)