Turkey Ballotine and Parsnip Flan: Chefs Share Their Thanksgiving Plans


Thanksgiving is just around the corner and, just like us civilians, Boston’s chefs are busily planning their holiday meals. Some, like Ana Sortun, tend toward a gourmet version of the traditional turkey dinner, while others, like Joanne Chang, opt out of cooking for themselves altogether. We polled five top Boston toques on their Thanksgiving plans. Read on to see what they’re up to.

“This year, I’m spending Thanksgiving with my girlfriend, her brother and her brother’s girlfriend. We’ve all been assigned something to do and I’m doing turkey. I’m making a turkey ballotine. It’s a little intimidating: you pull the skin off, and lay it out in a big sheet, then you take off the breast meat and lay it fat end to skinny end. Then you take off all the dark meat and make that into a farce, like a sausage, and add whatever you’d put in the stuffing to it. You roll everything up together in the skin. I cook it sous vide for about eight hours.” -Will Gilson, Garden at the Cellar

“We’re having my family’s Thanksgiving at dante, during the restaurant’s regular Thanksgiving service. My whole family is coming, so there will be about 20 or 25 of us and we’re going to take over the mezzanine floor. My family be eating the regular Thanksgiving menu. We usually go to my aunt’s, but we decided to make it easy for her. For every other holiday, my family does an Italian meal, but we do a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner.” -Dante de Magistris, dante

“We have twenty people for our Thanksgiving dinner: my husband’s [Chris Kurth of Siena Farms] family, his cousins and stuff, and my sister and a few of her friends. We don’t do anything groundbreaking, just traditional stuff. We always get a local bird and we do vegetables from the farm. All the sides are built around the last harvest: Brussels sprouts with bacon and shallots, celery root, which I do whipped with white truffle, stuffing with golden raisins, leeks and ham, parsnip flan, cooked carrots with dill, gravy finished with pomegranate molasses, and cranberry sauce with mish mish, a spice made of crystallized honey and saffron). Sofra will do a few tarts: Meyer lemon, which is my daughter’s favorite, and a pear and dried fruit tart.” -Ana Sortun, Oleana

” lot of the staff that makes us successful don’t have families around here and I grew up at a big Italian family in the North Shore, so I want to give back. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, I invite a lot of my friends from the industry, plus the staffs from all three Sel De La Terres and L’Espalier to my parent’s house in Lynnfield. This year, I think Jamie [Bissonnette of Toro] and [his wife] Coco, Will [Gilson] and [his girlfriend] Colleen, hopefully [BL Gruppo’s] Colin Lynch, Tony Susi [formerly of Sage], Dante [de Magistris]. We’ll have about fifty people. We don’t compete. I do all the turkeys and I ask people to bring some sort of food.” -Louis diBiccari, Sel De La Terre

“Thanksgiving for me is typically pretty low key. At the bakery, it’s definitely our busiest holiday and we work around the clock from Sunday through Wednesday. Sometimes, my husband [restaurateur Chris Myers] and I go to friends houses, and a few times we’ve hosted friends.Last year, my husband was out of town and I volunteered at the Pine Street Inn and I think we’ll do that again this year. There are so many people who want to give back, so they really have a plethora of people. They make it into a really festive day with great food and everyone’s in a great mood.” -Joanne Chang, flour bakery + cafe

Turkey Ballotine and Parsnip Flan: Chefs Share Their Thanksgiving Plans