Thanksgiving Holiday Recipes Submitted By Xanterra Parks & Resorts Chefs

Thanksgiving Holiday Recipes Submitted By Xanterra Parks & Resorts Chefs

(Unless otherwise noted, all recipes serve six-eight people)

Roasted Heritage Turkey with Oyster and Crabmeat Dressing

By Peter Pahk, Senior Executive Chef, Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, Va.

Note: Heritage turkeys are defined by the range-based production system in which they are raised. The turkeys must meet these criteria:
• Natural breeding practices.
• Long productive life-span.
• Slow growth rate.
(For more information visit www.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. You will need an 8-10-pound turkey to feed eight people. The dressing is baked separately – not in the bird.

Thoroughly rinse the turkey and pat dry inside and out. Rub with a good-quality olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a suitable roasting pan without allowing too much “wiggle room.” Cook to an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Carry-over temperature should reach 160 degrees. Rest at room temperature before carving.

6 oz. package of long and wild rice blend
2 1/3 cups chicken broth
5 tbsp. butter
1 medium onion – diced
2 stalks celery – diced
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
10 oz. sour cream
1 lb. fresh crab meat
12 each shucked oysters
1 cup toasted, chopped pecans
½ cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook rice in stock and 1 tbsp butter until tender. Melt remaining butter and cook onion, celery and mushrooms until tender. Add crabmeat and oyster and cook two minutes. Add Old Bay Seasoning and cooked rice and bread crumbs. Place in lightly oiled casserole pan and bake covered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Beer Braised Pork Loin

By Ben Theis, Regional Executive Chef, Deer Creek State Park Lodge

6-8 lb. boneless pork loin
2 lb. sauerkraut
8 oz. onion – large diced
4 oz. celery – large diced
4 oz. carrot – large diced
3 oz. turnip – large diced
1 oz. grated fresh horseradish
3 12-oz. bottles of beer, dark preferably
Bay leaf
Oil for searing

Rub the pork loin with salt and pepper, then sear over high heat in the pan in which it will be roasted in. Once the roast is seared on all sides deglaze the pan with two of the bottles beer. (“The third is for sipping on,” said Chef Theis.) Add all the chopped vegetables then roast in oven for at least two hours, add liquid as needed during the braise. Once the pork loin is fork-tender remove from the oven. Bring sauerkraut up to heat over a medium fire on the stove top. Place sauerkraut on a large platter, slice pork and lay over top. Spoon vegetables and braising liquid over top of pork then serve.

Blueberry Marinade for Venison or Buffalo

Michelle “Mike” Hanson, Executive Chef, Furnace Creek Resort, Death Valley National Park

2 cups port wine or a really strong syrah or pinot
1 cups sherry wine
2 pints blueberries (crush 1 pint only)
6 large mint leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic
2 shallots
¼ cup Worcestershire

In medium size pot pour wine, sherry and Worcestershire. Crush one pint of berries.

Mince shallots and garlic. Chop mint. Add all these ingredients to pot. Bring just until very warm to touch. Pull off stove and set aside to cool in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before placing meat to marinate.

For best results, marinate meat for about 30-50 minutes only. (Note you can leave it in for overnight but will overpower the natural juices of the meat, but some people will like this).

For sauce
12-oz. beef stock
2/3 cup flour
½ cup butter

Cut together stock, flour and butter. Blend well and set aside. This is your roux base.

12 oz. beef stock
2/3 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

Marinate juice minus the meat and the thyme sprig

In a medium stock pot add all liquids. Bring to boil and whisk in small amounts of the butter flour a little at a time until melted. Salt and pepper to taste.

The sauce is ready when it coats the back of a spoon. Pull off stove let cool for about 15 minutes. Strain, using a spoon to push against strainer to preserve as much sauce as possible.

Grill meat to preferred temperature. Reheat sauce and serve when ready to eat.

El Tovar Crab-Stuffed Trout with Lobster Crème Sauce

Chef Mat McTigue, Grand Canyon National Park Lodges

2 lb. crab meat
2 celery ribs – diced
1 medium onion – diced
1 carrot – diced
1 red pepper – diced
1 tomato – diced
1 ½ cup bread crumbs

Cajun spice:
3 tsp paprika
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. thyme
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. basil

Lobster Crème Sauce
½ gal. heavy cream
4 oz. fish stock
2 oz. sherry
3 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. Tabasco

Sauté vegetables until tender. Add Cajun spice to cooked vegetables. Mix together and cool. Stuff trout. Bake trout at 500 degrees for 14 minutes until the skin crisps. Pull skin back.

For sauce, heat pan and add sherry. Reduce by one half. Add cream and reduce by one half. Add paprika and Tabasco. Stir together. Pour over stuffed trout.

El Tovar Smoked Corn Chowder with Asiago Cheese and Tortilla Confetti

Chef Mat McTigue, Executive Chef, Grand Canyon National Park Lodges

¼ lb. red potatoes – medium diced
3 celery ribs – medium diced
1 onion –medium diced
2 carrots – peeled and medium diced
2 cups corn (frozen or canned)
¼ lb. diced cooked bacon
1½ gal. chicken stock
½ gal. heavy cream
1 tsp. Liquid Smoke

Cornstarch Mixture
4 oz. cornstarch
½ tsp. cumin
½. tsp. black pepper

Mix together dry. Add 5 oz. cold water and stir until smooth. Use to thicken soup when boiling. Season with Tabasco to taste.

Sauté all vegetables in a large saucepan over medium heat until tender. Add chicken stock and cream, bring to a slow boil. Add the cornstarch mixture.

Garnish with julienne fried tortillas and shredded asiago

Butternut Squash Soup

By Chef Nathan Snyder, Executive Chef, Mohican State Park Lodge

3 large butternut squash
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped and rinsed well (Chef’s note: I love to use leeks because it is a simple way to add depth to my dishes. Leeks are very sandy and filled with dirt, so they need to be washed very well)
1 garlic clove, minced
1- 16 oz. can of crabmeat
1 orange, zested
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1/8 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. curry powder
3 tbsp. of butter
1 cup of cream
Vegetable stock, as needed

Wash all of the produce and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash into halves and take the seeds out (Chef’s note: I prefer to use an ice cream scoop to get my seeds out; it’s very sturdy and it keeps all the seeds in one scoop). Oil the halves, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place on a sprayed sheet pan skin side up. Roast until the skin blisters and browns, about 30 to 40 minutes.

In a large pot on the stove begin sautéing the onion, leeks, garlic, spices, and thyme. Once the squash is done, it should be soft enough to scoop out with that ice cream scoop into the pot with other ingredients. Add enough stock to cover the ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes. Take stick mixer and blend the soup until smooth, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Return back to heat and add crab, simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and whisk cream and butter, until blended well. Optional- Zest the orange into the soup before serving. (Chef’s note: adding the zest to a dish can give you that extra special touch).
My advice to make this easier is having a stick mixer, sharp knife and zester.

El Tovar Black Bean Soup

Mat McTigue, Executive Chef, Grand Canyon National Park Lodges

1 ½ lb. black beans
4 oz. bacon fat
2 each onion – medium diced
2 each garlic cloves – minced
1 gal. chicken stock
2 ham hocks – smoked
6 oz. sherry
1 tbsp. chili powder
½ tbsp. cumin
2 tbsp. Tabasco
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp ground black pepper

Sour cream
6 oz. scallions – bias cut
10 oz. julienne corn tortillas, baked until crispy in a 325 degree oven

Soak beans overnight in enough cold water to cover them; drain. Heat the bacon fat in the soup pot; add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the minced garlic and sauté an additional two minutes stirring constantly. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the ham hock and the beans; simmer until the beans are tender; Remove the ham hock, let cool and remove the fat. Dice the meat in medium dice. Add the diced hocks into the soup. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes. Puree the soup in a standard size blender two cups at a time. Hold hot.

Garnish the individual bowls of soup with sour cream, tortilla and scallion.

Tuscan Pancetta Soup

Chef Michelle “Mike” Hanson, Furnace Creek Resort

4 oz. pancetta diced small (rind removed) or thick-cut smoked bacon
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
5 1/2 cups white or yellow onion, julienned
1 tbsp. sugar
2 quarts vegetable, chicken or beef stock
5 Roma tomatoes chopped large
3 tbsp. brandy or bourbon (optional)
3 large fresh basil leaves, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups croutons
2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Place chopped pancetta (or bacon) in a very hot medium saucepan and cook until almost crispy. Add oil and butter and then onions. Stir occasionally so the onion caramelizes slightly. Scrape the pan occasionally. Add sugar and stir for about 3 minutes or more. Add half the stock and bring to a boil. Boil down to almost no liquid. Add the rest of the stock, tomatoes and basil. Stir and season to taste. Cook for about 20 minutes. Serve immediately or set aside and serve later.

To serve, place a good portion of crouton in bowls. Add soup over the bread and sprinkle with cheese.

Roasted Vegetable Polenta (Cream or Grilled)

Chef Michelle “Mike” Hanson, Furnace Creek Resort

2 cups polenta cornmeal
2 cups water
1 cup milk
¼ cup diced zucchini
¼ cup diced yellow squash
¼ cup diced acorn squash or sweet potato
¼ cup diced red onion
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup chopped mushrooms
2 tbsp. oil
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup shredded jack/cheddar comp
4 dashes Tabasco
½ tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. salt
½ tsp. ground pepper
Pinch of cumin

Toss diced vegetables together with oil and roast in oven for about 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. (You may use 1 ½ cups any diced vegetables that are to your taste.) Bring milk and garlic to boil. Add polenta and stir constantly for about 15-20 minutes. There should be no lumps. Fold in roasted vegetables and slowly add cheese. Stir well. Add remaining spices and cook for about five minutes more. It should be bubbling.

You may serve just like this or take polenta off the heat and spread on a sheet pan or large cake pan sprayed well with pan spray. Let cool down uncovered on counter for about 30 minutes then place in refrigerator overnight or up to four hours before serving.

When ready to serve cut in to manageable pieces — squares, circles or triangles. Roll in seasoned flour and sauté or pan fry in a very small amount of oil.Cook to a crispy outside and warm inside and serve over a bed of tomato sauce or roasted pepper sauce.

For something different you can also grill this. Make sure pieces are coated well with oil or spray. Do not use flour if grilling.

Green Bean Salad with Pumpkin Seed Dressing

Chef Brad Bukovics, Executive Chef, Punderson Manor State Park Lodge

1 cup green (hulled) pumpkin seeds
2 small garlic cloves minced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup water
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ lbs of green beans
4 small tomatoes

Toast pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet over moderately low heat until puffed but not browned transfer to plate to cool. Reserve one tablespoon seeds then puree remaining seeds in blender with garlic, oil, water, lemon juice, cumin and salt.

Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender. Drain in colander then plunge into a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Drain beans and pat dry.

Arrange beans on plate and drizzle with two thirds of dressing. Top with tomatoes and remaining dressing then sprinkle with remaining pumpkin seeds.

There are many variations of this salad so you can experiment different combinations of ingredients. But this one always reminds me of fall.

Raspberry Apple Sweet Potatoes

Kenneth Diederich, Executive Chef, Salt Fork State Park Lodge, Cambridge, Ohio

3 large sweet potatoes
1 cup frozen raspberries
2 red apples
1/2 stick butter
cinnamon sugar
brown sugar

Wash, peel and cut the sweet potatoes in larger cubes, inch by inch. Cook the potatoes in lightly salted water for 15 minutes. Drain well and place hot potatoes in a small to medium sized casserole dish. Place frozen raspberries evenly on top. Cut the apples into 1/2 inch cubes and toss with lemon juice, place evenly on top. Melt butter and drizzle over entire dish. Sprinkle as you like with cinnamon sugar and brown sugar. Bake for 20 minutes covered.

Pan-Fried Apple Crisp

Chef Peter Pahk, Kingsmill Resort

Apple rings from 8-10 peeled and cored Granny Smith or similar apples
10 oz. rum raisins
6 oz. sugar
½ cup butter
Lemon zest from one lemon

Cheese Topping
1 lb. cream cheese, room temperature
12 oz. plain yogurt
1 egg
1 oz. corn starch
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tbsp. lemon juice
5 oz. sugar

Streusel Topping
8 oz. butter
8 oz. sugar
1 pound flour
1 egg
Pinch cinnamon

Sugar the apples lightly and fry them in a preheated pan with the butter.

Do not try to fry too many at once as the pan will get cold. You are looking for a slight brown edge on the apple.

Once the apples are done mix them with more sugar if needed then add the lemon zest and vanilla. Layer them evenly into a greased three-four inch0-tall stone or porcelain baking dish. A cast iron pan will work too. Sprinkle the rum raisins on top of the apples.

Take the soft cream cheese and mix with the sugar and corn starch until smooth.

Hand mixer or food processor will work great. Add yogurt and mix until incorporated. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon juice. Make sure all ingredients have been well mixed.

Pour the mix over the apples. Make sure not to fill the dish all the way to the top since the mix will soufflé and the pan could overflow.

Melt the butter and cool to room temperature. Incorporate the sugar then the flour and the egg. Mix until it looks like Streusel. This can all be done by hand in a mixing bowl.

Top the dish with the streusel.

Bake in a preheated oven at 370 degrees for about 40-50 minutes until the batter has firmed up. (Similar to the consistency of cheesecake) The streusel topping should be golden brown in color.

Let the dish rest for 30 minutes before serving.
Serve plain or with ice cream

El Tovar Pumpkin Cheesecake

Chef Mat McTigue, Grand Canyon National Park Lodges

Makes three 10-inch cheesecakes

7 ½ lbs. cream cheese
15 large eggs
1 ¼ lbs. sugar
1/8 cup lemon juice
2 cups pumpkin solids
1 tsp. ginger
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
½ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup better – melted

Mix together cream cheese and eggs, scraping sides of bowl well. Mix in sugar and lemon juice until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin and spices. Mix until fully incorporated. For crust, mix crumbs and butter. Form into Springform or round-style cake pans. Bake at 250 degrees for two to two ½ hours in a water bath.

Additional notes: This recipe may be used for cranberry cheesecake as well. Eliminate pumpkin and spices and substitute three cups of fresh cranberries to cheesecake.

Pumpkin Pie Creme Brulee

Michelle “Mike” Hanson, Executive Chef, Furnace Creek Resort

Brulee’ Mix
15 egg yolks
2 ½ cups heavy cream*
1 tbsp vanilla or vanilla bean, scraped
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup sugar
½ cup caramel sauce
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Bring cream, vanilla, caramel sauce and cinnamon to a simmer. Set aside to steep about 10-15 minutes. In a medium to large bowl, place egg yolks, sugar, salt and pumpkin. Stir well until sugar is dissolved. Slowly add ½ cup of warm (not hot) cream to egg batter. Stir in well and fast (you do not want scrambled eggs).

You can make 6-8 small brulee’ or one large one. I prefer to make mine in glass bowls or coffee cups.

Gently pour mixture to about ¼ inch from the top of the dish.

Place in a water bath, fill to about ½ up from the outside of the dish.

Cook in oven for one hour at 350 degrees. (If using a convection oven, do not use the fan.)

Check after 45 minutes. If the brulee’ jiggles, cook for about 15 more minutes. When a knife inserted comes out clean the brulee is done. Let cool and refrigerate. When ready to serve, heat oven on broil, sprinkle heavily with sugar and place very close to the top of the broiler. Watch closely so the brulee does not over-burn. Serve with whipped cream.

Two extra recipes from Chef Mike Hanson – both are great for holiday mornings.

Monkey Bread

2 tubes canned biscuits
1 tube canned cinnamon rolls
2 cups honey
1 ½ cups chopped walnuts or pecans
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Take biscuits and cinnamon roll and cut into small pieces. The easiest way is using some scissors. Place in bowl add honey, nuts and cinnamon sugar. Mix well.

Pour dough mixture In a well-greased bunt or angel food cake pan, place cake pan in a larger pan with two inches of water (this will stop the honey from burning).

Cook for 45 minutes-1 hour at 350.

Run knife around edges of pan and invert on a platter.

Quiche Holiday</3>

1 9-inch pie shell.
5 eggs
2/3 cup milk or heavy cream
1 ½ cup shredded cheese (any kind you like)

(I use a mixture of cheddar, jack and pepperjack /smoked gouda is really good also.)

1 ½ cup mix vegetable – small pieces (again any kind you like such as broccoli, onion, spinach, artichoke hearts)
¼ cup chopped meat (optional) such as diced ham, ground beef, roast beef, corned beef.

Bake pie shell for five minutes. Whip eggs, milk and spices together. Add all other ingredients mix well and pour into pie shell. Bake at 325-350 for about 30-40 minutes. Let sit for at least 1 hour to overnight before cutting.

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