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August 29, 2014

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Dishing with Las Vegas chefs about Thanksgiving traditions and recipes

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Alex Karvounis

Carlos Guia of Country Club at the Wynn.

Updated Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 | 12:21 p.m.

1/2 gallon chicken stock

2 quart apple cider or juice

1 quart heavy cream

To taste salt and pepper

Combine the first seven ingredients into a 4-inch hotel pan. Layer the brown sugar and butter on top and place in oven for 35 minutes at 425 degrees; don’t cover the pan. Check to make sure it is not burning. You want the sugar and butter to caramelize and give that sweet smell and rich flavor.

Once finished, add all ingredients from hotel pan into a pot, add remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, taste if you need to re-season. Then the soup needs to be blended and tasted again for seasoning.

As far as thickness, it depends on you; if you want to the soup to be thinner, you can add more apple cider or chicken to the consistency you desire.

Italy Under the Vegas Sun

Nove Italiano Chef Geno Bernardo hosts a once-a-month cooking class at the Palms on June 4, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Geno Bernardo, Nove Italiano at Palms

“The women were in the kitchen cooking, the men were playing cards (while waiting for the women to finish cooking). And it was always about the lasagna, no turkey!”

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Stuffed Artichokes

6 artichokes

1 bunch of parsley

1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup bread crumbs

2 to 3 garlic cloves

1 stick of butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Trim artichoke leaves and cut off stem, top and sharp tips on leaves. Blanch in boiling water for 4-5 minutes to soften. Drain and save the water. Gently spread the leaves and remove the choke with melon ball or grapefruit spoon. Begin filling preparation. Mince parsley and garlic and season with pepper and a little salt. Add bread crumbs, grated cheese, and olive oil to mixture. Stir until smooth. *You can add more oil or bread crumbs at this time to reach desired consistency. Gently spread leaves and fill in between each leaf starting from center. If you have extra filling, put on top and roll artichoke in the mixture. Firmly squeeze artichoke to make it compact. Heat butter and oil in pan. Brown top and all sides of artichoke. Stand artichokes in pan and add some of the reserved water to cover them half-way and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Check and add the reserved water as needed. Baste occasionally.

Stephen Hopcraft, STK at the Cosmopolitan

The chef’s family recipe is pear cobbler, which is a Thanksgiving tradition.

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Click to enlarge photo

Stephen Hopcraft of STK at the Cosmopolitan.

Pear Cobbler

Combination of 4 Bosc pears, Red Bartlett, Seckel, Concorde and Forelle cored, peeled and cut in wedges, which are all in season currently.

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 stick butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Saute for 15 minutes. Combine all ingredients except the crust in 6-inch cast iron individual serving.

Biscuit Topping (over cobbler and bake for 15 minutes)

2 cups flour

4 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp sugar

1 pinch salt

12 cups butter

2/3 cup milk

1 egg lightly beaten

Cinnamon Ice Cream

3 cups whole milk

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 cup whipping cream

5 cinnamon sticks

1/8 tsp salt

12 large egg yolks

Combine milk, 1 cup sugar, cream, cinnamon sticks, and salt in heavy large saucepan. Bring almost to simmer over medium-high heat. Whisk egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in large bowl. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return custard to saucepan and stir constantly over low heat until custard thickens, about 4 minutes (do not boil). Transfer custard to large bowl set over another large bowl of ice water; let cool 30 minutes, stirring often. Cover and chill custard overnight. Strain custard. Process in ice cream maker, then transfer to container and freeze.

Click to enlarge photo

Thomas Bell, executive pastry chef at the Hard Rock Hotel.

Thomas Bell, Hard Rock Hotel executive pastry chef

“My family has a very traditional Thanksgiving with an Italian twist. We have the turkey, ham, stuffing, salad, etc. But each year, we will add homemade raviolis or stuffed shells, meatballs and spaghetti, all depending on how many people. We always have all the pies -- pumpkin, apple, cherry -- and a nut roll.”

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Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin filling 2 cups

Brown sugar 2 cups

Ground ginger 1/2 tsp

Ground cinnamon 1 tsp

Ground nutmeg 1/2 tsp

Salt 1/4 tsp

Fresh eggs 7

Sweetened condensed milk 5 cups

Evaporated milk 1 cup

Mix first 6 ingredients together with whip, slowly mix in eggs, after all eggs are mixed in, add both milks. Mix to combine but do not over mix. Fill pie shell almost to the top, and depending on your oven bake at 300 degrees until set.

Click to enlarge photo

Bradley Ogden, whose -- what else? -- Bradley Ogden is at Caesars Palace.

Bradley Ogden, Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace

Bradley Ogden’s s dad owned the Dance Hall in Traverse City, Mich. The Dance Hall was a popular place with 500 seats where the most famous rock bands would perform. Ogden worked there for many years in various positions -- janitor, security, cook, etc. Every Thanksgiving, the Dance Hall was transformed into the Ogden Thanksgiving, as 100 of his family members -- cousins, uncles, aunts -- would gather to celebrate Thanksgiving together. The days where they all gathered together in the Dance Hall are some of Ogden’s favorite memories.

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