Holiday Cooking With Chef Sven: Part I

November 15, 2012

“The Stairs” of Santa Monica

Flying Art

It’s that time of year again when everyone tries to find the best Thanksgiving recipes. Throw on your apron, heat up the oven and sharpen those carving knifes – that turkey isn’t going to cook itself! Here are some surefire ways to make sure that your bird is the talk of the table this Thanksgiving.


Preparation is key. Prepare the brown and white meat separate to get a juicier bird this Thanksgiving. Remove the thighs from the turkey the night before, and season them with salt, pepper, sliced garlic and fresh herbs. (I like bay leaves, thyme and sage.) The next morning, remove the herbs, sear the marinated legs in a hot pan and cover them with duck fat. Then cook them at 225°F in the oven for three to four hours, depending on the size of your bird. You’ll know it’s turkey time when the meat easily comes off the bone.

Next, season the boneless breast (with the skin still attached), with pepper, and sear it quickly for one minute on each side in grape seed oil. Then place the breast into a zip lock bag with fresh bay leaves, thyme, one crushed garlic clove and half a cup of buttermilk. Make sure the bag is air tight and place it in 145°F water for two to two and a half hours depending on its size. Remove the breast from the bag, pat it dry and sear it in a hot pan to make the skin crispy. Then season it with sea salt.


If you really want to step it up this year, take the neck and wings and sear them in a hot pan. Dice one carrot, one onion and one celery stock, and add them to the pan. Glaze with a cup of white wine, and add bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns to enhance the flavor. Simmer this for about three minutes, add four cups of water and simmer for two hours. Strain the liquid and slowly whisk in two tbsp of cold butter. Enjoy!


For an extra touch, make my Bacon Stuffing.

2 ½ quart             ¾” diced dry white bread

3 cups                   milk

4 each                   whole eggs

2 tbsp                    chopped parsley

½ cup                    diced bacon, rendered

½ cup                    diced onions, sautéed  w/o color

2 pinch                  ground nutmeg

salt & pepper to taste

1.  Combine all the ingredients and let soak for 30 minutes

2.  Season with salt & pepper

3.  Roll the mixture in 2.5” plastic wrap sausages, tie the ends

4.  Poach for 25 minutes in simmering water, then drop them into ice water to cool down

5.  Slice ¾” thick and pan sear in foaming butter until golden brown


Wishing you a joyous and safe Thanksgiving.


-Chef Sven Mede

Corporate Chef, Hotel Casa del Mar & Shutters on the Beach

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