Take your turkey with foie-gras-and-black-truffle stuffing, or with pan gravy and mashed sweet potatoes? Here, chefs Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park, NoMad) and father and son Larry and Marc Forgione have whipped up two very different Thanksgiving menus: Humm shares a cutting-edge, Michelin-quality dinner, while the Forgiones serve up a traditional family-style feast.
Amid all the hyperventilating over Humms new culinary hotspot, NoMad, in the eponymous Flatiron hotel, nothing has inspired more huzzahs than Humms wood-oven-roasted chicken stuffed with foie gras and truffles, a sinful concoction Humm first introduced at his three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park. That dish, adapted here for a Thanksgiving turkey, is at the center of Humms upscale French contemporary menu, featuring seasonal Greenmarket ingredients. To prepare the bird, Humm stuffs the foie-gras-and-truffle mixture under its skin, a technique that makes the skin extra rich, crispy, and brown, and bastes the meat so its especially moist, with an earthy, decadent flavor. (Humm also brines the bird beforehand for still more flavor and juiciness.) Humm begins his meal with a creamy parsnip-and-pear soup with a touch of celery root, topped with a swirl of vanilla oil. Soup is like a hug; it makes guests feel comfortable, he says. And the vanilla oil adds a spicy holiday taste. Dont be fooled by the apparent simplicity of his raw-cranberry-chutney and braised-red-cabbage-with-apple side dishes; they are studies in uncomplicated elegance. Humms butternut-squash steaks with black pepper give a more finished feeling to that oft-mashed dish, and his sweet-potato cake with caramelized apples transforms the savory tuber into an imaginative, yet not too unfamiliar, dessert. Sweet potatoes and apples scream holidayearthy and rich, Humm says. Its kind of like a pie, but a little more creative.
At his pioneering manhattan restaurant An American Place, Larry Forgione established himself as a visionary locavore and one of the forefathers of American cuisine. His son Marc Forgione is the chef and co-owner of the eponymous Tribeca restaurant, and winner of Food Networks Next Iron Chef, season three (his crowning feat was an American Thanksgiving without the turkey; he did venison). Here, the father-son pair teamed up to create, appropriately enough, a traditional family Thanksgiving dinner. Our ideas were so similar, says Larry. Marc and I share the same culinary values, although he has incorporated influences from other cuisines. I didnt know how much I learned from my father, says Marc, until I stopped working with him. To kick off their meal, Larry suggested a Native American-inspired succotash soup with beans and corn, while Marc had in mind a spicy clam chowder, so they compromised and added clams to the succotash, giving it a shot of brininess. At his own Thanksgiving dinner, Larry likes to roast a Heritage Bourbon Red turkey with the herbed butter stuffed under the skin. If you put the butter on the outside of the bird, it runs off as it melts, he says, but under the skin it bastes the meat as it cooks. To make his stuffing, Marc starts with standard bread croutons, but then I like to up the ante by adding chestnuts and sausage, he says. The Forgiones vegetable dishes also get a twistturnips receive a honey glaze, Brussels sprouts an infusion of country ham, and sweet potatoes a hit of maple syrup. Since neither man is keen on cranberries with his turkey, they decided to use that all but mandatory ingredient to make a colorful, sweet-and-sour pecan pie instead. Of course, you also have to have pumpkin on Thanksgiving, Larry says. His solution: pumpkin-pie ice cream, which pairs perfectly with the actual pie.
Click through the slideshow to see their creations and get the recipes.
Photographs by Kenji Toma
Food Styling by Alison Attenborough
All recipes serve 8.
Related: The 2012 Thanksgiving Guide
*This article originally appeared in the November 12, 2012 issue of New York Magazine.