Thanksgiving Recipes: Westchester County Chefs and Mixologists Share the Best Recipes for Sides and Drinks

Recipes from local chefs and mixologists that will have your Thanksgiving guests asking for seconds.

[Autumn Tangelo]*

(Recipe courtesy Bartender Joe Rigoli, bartaco 1 Willett Ave, Port Chester 914-937-8226; “It’s an easy drink to make and you can simply multiply the recipe to serve eight,” Rigoli says. [The measures below are for one drink.] “It’s a nice alternative to wine—light and refreshing. The orange color is festive and a nice representation of the Thanksgiving holiday.”

4 oz Bluecoat Gin
6 oz Grand Marnier
6 oz St-Germain elderflower liqueur
1 oz Carpano Antica vermouth
1 oz fresh limejuice
6 oz fresh orange juice
orange peel for garnish

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Fill a wine glass ¾ full of fresh ice. Add all measured ingredients. Stir with a cocktail spoon. Lightly squeeze the orange peel over a burning match to light the oils. Garnish and serve.

[Fig and Walnut Julep]

(Recipe courtesy bar manager Michael Loomis, Fig & Olive Vernon Hills Shopping Center, 696 White Plains Rd, Scarsdale 914-725-2900; “This cocktail is unique,” Loomis says. “There are many layers that all work in perfect harmony, and each one has a distinctive flavor that can be identified.” 

2-piece shaker (can be bought at Target for around $20)
1 cocktail strainer
1 muddling stick
2 jiggers for measuring (one 1.5 oz x ¾ oz and one ¼ oz x ½ oz)

20 black Mission figs
1 375ml bottle Taylor’s Fine Tawney Port
Simple syrup (Heat 1 cup of water and bring slightly to boil. Add ½ cup sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat and let cool.)
1 bottle fresh limejuice
8 mint sprigs
1 750ml bottle Four Roses Bourbon
(or Maker’s Mark)
1 750ml bottle St-Germain elderflower liqueur
1 small bag of whole walnut pieces

Each cocktail is muddled and has to be measured and made individually.

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Using a mixing glass, add two black Mission figs, ¼ oz Taylor’s Fine Tawney Port, ¼ oz simple syrup, and ¾ oz limejuice. Muddle into a paste.
Cut each mint sprig about 4 to 5 inches long (big enough so it will be able to peek over the edge of the rocks glass). Strip the mint off each sprig until you have just 3 to 4 smaller leaves at the top of the mint for garnish. Add 3 mint leaves, 1½ oz bourbon, and ¾ oz St-Germain elderflower liqueur. Add ice and hard-shake for about 8 to 10 seconds so the ingredients can infuse. Strain contents over ice in an Old Fashioned glass or rocks glass. Cut a fig in half and make two slices about ¼-inch thick for garnish. Grate some walnuts over figs and ice and add a mint sprig.

[Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Sauce]

Photo by Michael Polito


(Recipe courtesy Chef Arturo McLeod, Benjamin Steak House 610 W Hartsdale Ave, White Plains 914-428-6868; “This recipe is the perfect blend of sweet and savory,” McLeod declares, “but has a zesty kick that simply cannot be found in any average cranberry-sauce recipe.”

2 cups water
2 cups white sugar
24 oz fresh cranberries
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
2 pinches of cinnamon
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 tsp lemon juice

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In a saucepan, stir together water and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Bring it to a boil. Stir in the cranberries, jalapeño peppers, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and orange and limejuice. Return to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, let cool, then refrigerate in a closed container until ready to serve.

[Butternut Squash Ricotta Gnocchi with Mushroom Mascarpone Sauce]

Photo by Michael Polito

(Recipe courtesy Chef Anna Maria Santorelli Anna Maria’s Restaurant 18 Chatsworth Ave, Larchmont 914-833-0555; Says Chef Santorelli, “I try to incorporate my heritage into this meal by including a pasta course before the main course. Butternut squash gnocchi allows me to give an Italian touch to a Thanksgiving meal along with a wonderful use of an autumn vegetable.”

For Pasta Dough:
16 oz ricotta cheese
2 cups jarred butternut squash
2 eggs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
dash of nutmeg
2 tsp salt (plus 1 Tbsp)
5 cups flour (a little more if needed)
pepper to taste

In a food processor, mix ricotta, butternut squash, eggs, grated cheese, nutmeg, salt, and flour. Add pepper to taste. Do not over-mix the dough. Remove the dough from the food processor and knead for a few minutes. Divide the dough into fist-size pieces and roll into long logs as thick as your thumb. Cut the logs into 1 inch pieces. Use two fingers to press in the middle of each piece rolling towards you, creating a half-moon shape.

Fill a large pot with water, bring to a boil and add a tablespoon of salt. Add the gnocchi and remove as soon as they float to the top of the pot. Drain the gnocchi, add sauce, and serve.

For Sauce:
½ cup olive oil
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
16 oz crimini mushrooms, stems cut away and caps thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
â…” cup mascarpone cheese
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently until mushrooms are tender.

Turn off the heat, add the mascarpone cheese, and toss until the cheese is well combined with the mushrooms. Add sauce over gnocchi. Season with grated cheese and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

[Mashed Yams with Pecan and Brown-Sugar Topping]

Photo by Michael Polito

(Recipe courtesy Chef Mike Ballew, Comfort 583 Warburton Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson 914-231-7711; “When people think of Thanksgiving,” Chef Ballew says, “they think of sweetness and sweet potatoes. I use yams, however.”

6 to 8 large yams, peeled and quartered
1 cup honey
4 Tbsp cinnamon
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups pecan halves

Place yams in large pot filled with water and boil until fork-tender, about 45 minutes.

Remove from heat and drain, then return to pot. Add honey and cinnamon and mash with potato masher. Spread yams in a large baking dish. In a food processor or blender, combine brown sugar and pecans and chop for 30 seconds (don’t chop the pecan pieces too small). Spread pecan mixture over yams (or large sweet potatoes) and bake at 375°F for 35 to 45 minutes.

[Chocolate Crêpe Torte]

(Recipe courtesy Pastry Chef Jean Joerges Houdusse Le Château 1410  Rte 35, South Salem 914-533-6631; “A universally friendly type of dessert that everyone can enjoy,” Chef Houdusse promises. “Perfect for Thanksgiving.”

For Crêpe Batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 ½ cups milk
6 eggs
4 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all the dry ingredients, and then add eggs, milk, and melted butter.
Let stand for 30 minutes.
Cook the crêpes by pouring a half-cup of batter into an 8-inch nonstick sauté pan.

For Chocolate Filling:
1 ¼ cup heavy cream
10 oz bittersweet chocolate
4 egg yolks
1½ cup sweetened condensed milk
pinch cinnamon

Bring heavy cream to a boil. Pour over the chocolate, mix until smooth, and cool slightly. Then add egg yolk, milk, and cinnamon.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch cake mold. Layer crêpes and chocolate filling alternately in cake mold, beginning and ending with a crêpe.

Bake for 45 minutes. Serve warm.

[Caramelized Apple Tarts with Crème Fraîche]

Photo by Paul Johnson

(Recipe courtesy Pastry Chef Tracy Kamperdyk Assue, City Limits 200 Central Ave, White Plains 914-686-9000; “I like this dessert because of its simplicity,” Kamperdyk Assue confides. “The apple flavor is intense with very subtle layers of other flavors (rum, vanilla, citrus). I think the fall is the perfect time to come back to comfort foods. The caramelizing of the apples adds a slightly bitter note, which takes the edge off of the sweetness. The crème fraîche adds a tartness that rounds out the whole dessert.”

For Tart Dough:
2¼ sticks butter
1¼ cups sugar
2 eggs
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp fine sea salt

Sift dry ingredients and set aside. Cream butter and sugar in electric mixer with paddle attachment until very light and airy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping bowl to ensure even mixing. Add dry ingredients all at once and mix slowly until flour is just incorporated. Do not over-mix, or the dough will be tough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 2 hours. Roll dough â…›-inch thick and fit into 8 (approx. 4-inch diameter x 1-inch deep individual) tart shells (foil or ceramic) or a 7-inch tart ring/pie tin. The remaining dough will be cut into ½-inch strips. Chill shells (and strips) for a minimum of 30 minutes.

For Filling:
7 Tbsp butter
5 Rome apples (peeled, cored, and sliced into ¼-inch slices)
4 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored, and sliced into ¼-inch slices)
â…” cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
½ vanilla bean (split pod, scrape seeds) or ½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp (rounded) cinnamon
1 Tbsp, plus 2 tsp dark rum
¼ cup apple cider
1 cup crème fraîche (optional)

The apple filling will be sautéed in two batches, so assemble and divide ingredients approximately in half. Heat a 12-inch, non-reactive sauté pan on highest possible setting until hot. Add butter and melt. Add the apples and sauté on high heat 2 to 4 minutes or until they start to brown. Add sugar and cook until the sugar caramelizes, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Turn mixture onto sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat procedure with the rest of ingredients. Cool apples in refrigerator or freezer until they are barely warm.

Divide the apples into the 8 shells, arranging the top in a decorative pattern. Line the edges of the tart shells with the cold strips of dough overlapping slightly and trim edges. Bake in a 325°F oven until pastry is golden brown, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

Optional: Brush the cooled tarts with warm apricot jam (strained) to give them a sheen. Whip crème fraîche until medium-stiff peaks form and serve with warm tarts.

*Recipes serve eight

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