Yummy, Must-Try Thanksgiving Favorites

Yummy, Must-Try Thanksgiving Favorites
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By Virgin Hotels

Everyone loves the classic Thanksgiving dinner, served with turkey and pumpkin pie. Others might celebrate the American holiday with a community of friends. Whether you surround yourself with family, friends, pets… not so friendly neighbors, we all have our own special Thanksgiving traditions. Here at Virgin Hotels Chicago we sat down with the culinary team to get a glimpse into their favorite go-to holiday dishes.

Executive Chef
Dish: Candied Yams

“My grandmother-in-law introduced this dish to me 10 years ago – and didn’t tell me how to make it until two years ago,” says Chef Moosah. “It’s the highlight of my Thanksgiving dinner and has been the best comforting dish. It’s simple, but out of this world delish!”

4 peeled large yams
1 pound unsalted butter
3 cups brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp cinnamon

Place in a Dutch oven cast pot and cook on stove low heat for 8 hours. Turn yams every hour so they do not burn. When finished, should be tender and caramelized!

Chef de Parte
Dish: Herb Buttered Turkey

“This is my favorite turkey with herb butter under the skin. It’s a cool technique that many people don’t know about. The turkey bastes naturally as the butter melts, the herbs cook in and it tastes great. I learned this in culinary school. It was the first ‘real’ Thanksgiving dish that I helped cook for my family. It’s nice to help my dad out with the cooking to make something that everyone loves.”

Ingredients & Directions
Thaw that turkey!

4 quarts of water
2 cups salt
4 lemons worth of peels
5 large sprigs of rosemary
1 half cup black pepper corns
Bring to a boil until all salt dissolves.
Brine in a fridge 40 degrees overnight. Then preheat oven for 350 degrees.

Herb Butter:
1 pound room temperature butter
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 tablespoon chopped mint
1 tablespoon minced garlic

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until fully incorporated. Stuff the butter under and in-between the turkey and breast meat. Cook for 13 minutes per pound of turkey. Once you get up to 165 degrees internally at the thickest part of the thigh, you’re moving right along. Let rest for 15 minutes and voila!

Sous Chef
Dish: Turkey & Sausage Gumbo

“With a family of 13, leftovers are essential to my family. I grew up in Nebraska but we all moved to Houston. Since it is close to New Orleans, we use a lot of creole and Cajun influences in our cooking. One of the dishes my mom likes to make is gumbo because it is such a delicious, easy one-pot-meal.”

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
6 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
8 ounces large diced tomatoes
3 quarts turkey stock, store bought
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced ½” thick
4 quarts hand-picked turkey meat, white & dark (from leftovers)
1 bunch chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon thyme
3 bay leaves
8 ounces okra frozen
Salt and pepper to taste

Make a roux with the flour and shortening. Add garlic and cook until golden brown. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook until transparent. Add tomatoes, simmer 10 minutes, stir in water, and blend well. Add all other ingredients except the okra. Cook one hour, add okra, and cook another 20 minutes. Serve in a soup bowl over steamed rice.


Now, it’s your turn to celebrate the holiday with these mouthwatering recipes, sure to make your guests leave happy and full!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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