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Walnut Creek Magazine

Thanksgiving Recipes from Bay Area Chefs and Restaurants

Nov 18, 2020 12:19PM ● By Cale Finta
(Recipes and images updated November, 2021)

By Walnut Creek Farmers’ Market

1 two-pound winter squash (butternut or acorn), cut into generous bite-sized cubes 
2 T extra virgin olive oil 
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp butter
10 cups fresh baby spinach
Optional: Add bacon/pancetta bits, chopped dates or cranberries, and chopped red onion.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 T honey
2 T balsamic vinegar
Pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS: Toss squash with olive oil and spread onto a parchment or foil-lined baking pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast on center rack in 400-degree oven. Turn halfway through roasting. Cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Toast walnuts in a skillet on the stove with a small amount of butter. Cook on low heat for a few minutes. Mix dressing, toss with spinach. Top with squash, walnuts, pancetta, red onion, and dates. 

By Chef Josh Thomsen
(Formerly Claremont Hotel, presently Saltwater Kitchen, South Carolina)

(Serves 10)

3 garlic cloves
3 oz butter
2 ½ pounds peeled sweet potatoes, cut in thin rounds
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 T. cognac
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated gruyere
1 T. chopped Italian parsley
2 T. toasted pecans, chopped parsley

Rub a baking dish (approximately 8x 6) with garlic cloves and brush with melted butter. Steam potatoes until tender, about 5 minutes. Mix the cream with Dijon mustard and cognac, then set aside. Layer potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Pour the cream over the gratin, top with gruyere or parmesan. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Garnish with chopped toasted pecans and fresh parsley. Enjoy!



By Chef Cindy Gershen, Founder Sunrise Bistro

1 12-14 pound turkey
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
3 T. fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme, sage)
Salt and pepper
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3-4 root vegetables, 3-4 (carrots, yams, parsnips, rutabaga) chopped for stuffing

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mix olive oil with herbs and seasonings. Set aside. Wash turkey inside and out; pat dry. Rub outside of the bird with a thin layer of olive oil. Sprinkle on herbs, salt, and pepper. Get mixture ready to put in bird. Sauté onions in butter and EVOO until onions are translucent. Add chopped up root veggies (carrots, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga) to onions, and cook on high for 5 minutes.

Place turkey in roasting pan. Stuff vegetables inside bird. Add about 1/4 inch of broth to the bottom of the pan. Roast at 375 (15 minutes per pound of bird). Example: 5 lb. bird = 1 hour, 15 minutes. (Cindy says, “Cook for an extra 15 minutes if you have stuffing. Also, the legs will start to fall apart when it’s done).

OR Bake at 325 degrees covered in foil for about 3 hours, then remove foil and roast until carmel color and legs falling off. 

By Bluestem Brasserie

1-1½ quarts Brussels sprouts, split and blanched
½ cup dates, pitted and chopped
1½ cups pancetta, diced ¼ inch
1 T grapeseed oil
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced
2 cups chicken stock
Splash red wine vinegar
½ bunch tarragon, 1 T minced, and the rest stemmed
½ bunch parsley, 1 T minced, and the rest stemmed
2½ ounces Aleppo or crushed red pepper
Salt to taste

Blanch sprouts in a pot of salted boiling water for about 60 seconds, until bright green.
Strain and plunge sprouts in ice water. Let drain for several hours in the refrigerator (this helps them brown better). In a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat, cook pancetta until crispy. Remove from pan, put aside. Add sprouts to the hot pan and caramelize with grapeseed oil and pancetta fat. Remove once caramelized and set aside.

Add Fresno chilies and dates to the pan and mash with a fork. Add chicken stock and simmer. As the sauce reduces, add vinegar, minced herbs, Aleppo pepper, sprouts, and some of the pancetta. Season with salt. Sprinkle with additional pancetta on top and garnish with herb leaves.

By Sur La Table

4 lbs. Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
3 T minced chives, for garnish

The nutty flavor from the brown butter adds a new dimension to mashed potatoes.
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Heat over medium-high heat until simmering. Meanwhile, place butter in a medium skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits, until golden brown color, about 8 to 10 minutes. Pour heavy cream and whole milk into a small saucepan, heat over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally.

When potatoes are tender enough to mash, drain in a colander. Place pot back on medium heat. Add cooked potatoes and mash on low heat. Drizzle hot cream slowly into potatoes, mixing constantly with a wooden spoon, until reaching desired consistency. Gently fold in brown butter and mix. Season with salt and white pepper. Place in a large serving bowl and top with minced chives. Serve immediately.


When considering desserts for your feast, think no further than pie. Just as delicious the next morning as it is warm with a dollop of ice cream, here's a recipe from a local chef for one of the best.




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