We all have one dish that says Thanksgiving. For some it's canned cranberry sauce. For others it's sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows. For me it's my mom's chicken liver pate. Or maybe it's her oyster dressing. Without either of those dishes, Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving. With that in mind, I asked thirty of my favorite chefs what dish they couldn't live without. I learned a few things: chefs love stuffing, they don't love turkey, and, of course, their mom makes the best pumpkin pie in the world. One chef even gave props to his mother-in-law. That must be some seriously good dessert. Take a look at their top dishes and let us know yours too.
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José Andres, Chef, The Bazaar, Los Angeles
"Stuffing, Catalan-style, which has pork sausage, prunes, dried apricots, pine nuts, and dried figs"
Michael Symon, Chef, Lola, Cleveland
"Gotta have roasted dates with pancetta and almonds, and the best pumpkin pie of all time (made by mother-in-law)"
Patrick Martin, Pitmaster, Martin's BBQ Joint, Nashville
"Thanksgiving ain't Thanksgiving without my grandmother's apple pie (granny smiths only!) with a cinnamon/sugar dusting and a raspberry drizzle. Goodness...it has been a staple of my Thanksgiving for the 37 years the good Lord has allowed me to roam the earth."
Scott Peacock, Chef, Watershed, Decatur, GA
David Kinch, Chef, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
"I eat stuffing only once a year and this is the day. It's my mom and Grandmom's Pennsylvania Dutch bread stuffing."
Melissa Perello, Chef, Frances Restaurant, San Francisco
"GBC!! A.K.A. green bean casserole"
Seamus Mullen, Chef, Boqueria, New York City
"I gotta have chorizo stuffing and bone-in ham, slow roasted with Vermont maple syrup. And a Romeo y Julieta cigar. And a glass of cognac. And..."
Frank Falcinelli, Chef, Frankie's Spuntino/Prime Meats, New York City
Frank Castronovo, Chef, Frankie's Spuntino/Prime Meats, New York City
"Cranberry anything, pumpkin pie too--and I can live without turkey"
Duane Sorenson, Owner, Stumptown Coffee, New York City"
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Gavin Kaysen, Chef, Café Boulud, New York City
Jonathon Sawyer, Chef, The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland, OH
"I cannot live without my mom's celery stuffing."
Joey Campanaro, Chef, The Little Owl, New York City
Steven Satterfield, Chef, Miller Union, Atlanta
"Brussels sprouts and sauerkraut with the turkey"
Rob Evans, Chef, Hugo's Restaurant, Portland, ME
"Mashed Potatoes--with or without lumps"
Alex Raij, Chef, Txikito, New York City
"Mom's stuffing made with chicken livers"
Phoebe Lawless, Baker, Scratch Bakery, Durham, NC
"Relish tray--then: pickled beets, corn relish, marinated Brussels sprouts all made by my mom and aunts; now: Farmers Daughter brand kraut, pickled beets, and marinated sprouts made by me"
David Myers, Chef, Comme Ca/Sona, Los Angeles
"I wait a whole year for our oyster stuffing. It's amazing!"
Gabriel Stulman, Owner, Joseph Leonard, New York City
"Stuffing and pumpkin pie"
Kelly Liken, Chef, Restaurant Kelly Liken, Vail, CO
"Sausage, apple, and toasted pecan stuffing. Love it soaked with Madiera-spiked giblet gravy!"
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Chris Cosentino, Chef, Incanto, San Francisco
Oyster and Easton's sausage stuffing."
Julie Taras Wallach, Chef, The Little Giant, New York City
"My mom's cornbread stuffing made with Pepperidge Farms cornbread stuffing (because who are we kidding...I'm a product of the 70s/80s). She would add sweet Italian sausage, butter, dried herbs (yikes), water chestnuts, canned mushrooms (double yikes) and S&P."
Barton Seaver, Chef, Blue Ridge Restaurant, Washington DC
"Our family friend Patsy's broiled marshmallow sweet potato casserole (mashed sweets with Bourbon and maple topped with melted broiled charred crusty chewy gooey marshmallows). Hell Yeah!"
Brian Bistrong, Chef, Braeburn, New York City
"Sautéed Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts and of course stuffing with apples, prunes, walnuts, and all kinds of herbs."
Naomi Pomeroy, Chef, Beast, Portland, OR
"Combo of a little stuffing (cornbread and sausage) some gravy and a dollop of cranberry."
Donald Link, Chef, Cochon, New Orleans
"Oyster cornbread stuffing made with oysters, bacon, and liver (I don't tell anyone about the liver in it). I'll take this over turkey any day."
Michael Paley, Chef, Proof on Main, Louisville
"Stuffed and baked artichokes"
Beau MacMillan, Chef, Elements at Sancuatry Camelback
"It's all about stuffing--without there's no point!"l
Clint Sloan, Sommelier, McCrady's, Charleston, SC
"Deep fried turkey: cooks fast and the flavor blows the oven roasted version away."
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