Do L.A. chefs stop cooking on their days off? Not if those days include Thanksgiving.

Check out this story for details of the diverse traditions of the city's chefs, and look below for some of their family recipes, covering everything from the turkey to the stuffing to the after dinner drink. Enjoy!

Smoked Turchetta, Courtesy chef Michael Bryant

Serves 4. Allow three days for preparation. Requires charcoal grill.


1 three pound whole turkey leg and thigh, attached and deboned
2 quarts cold water
4 cups apple juice
1/2 cup kosher salt
Juice of 2 fresh lemons
5 bay leafs
½ bunch sage
½ bunch thyme
5 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup toasted, whole black peppercorn

Dissolve salt into liquids, stirring, using a whisk. Add all other above ingredients, along with the turkey. Brine for 3 days.

4 ounce Meadowood Farms Juvindale cheese
2 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto
2 Tablespoon olive oil
Wood chips, thick

Fennel Spice
Mix together:

½ cup crushed fennel
¼ cup kosher salt
2 Tablespoon ground black pepper.
½ Tablespoon granulated garlic
½ Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon celery seed


Soak wood chips by submerging in water. Pat turkey leg dry. Lay flat, skin side down. Liberally rub turkey with fennel spice. Spread the cheese on the turkey and lay the prosciutto down. Roll and tie with butcher’s twine. Rub with olive oil and season with more fennel spice.

Light grill. Once the charcoals are set, add the wood chips. Once it is at a good smoke, place the turkey on the grill. Rotate occasionally and add chips as they burn out. The turkey is finished once an internal temperature reaches 160 degrees fahrenheit (this will take around 1-1.5 hours depending on your grill). Let rest for 10 minutes before presenting.

Chestnut Stuffing with dried cranberries and fresh sage, Courtesy chef Neal Fraser

Serves 10 people

1 pound frozen peeled chestnuts, diced
4 oz dried cranberries,
1 loaf of old white bread, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 white onions, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 oz honey
6 oz butter
3 oz diced and rendered smoked bacon
1 oz chopped fresh sage
2 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt


Mix the honey with the diced chestnuts and 3 oz of butter. Bake in 300 degree oven until golden brown. About 20 minutes.

In a sauté pan, add butter and diced onion, celery and carrot. Season with salt and cook over medium flame till tender. Cool.

Mix all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Place in buttered dish and cover with foil. Bake in 325 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and allow to brown on the top. Serve.

Chef Brandon Boudet preparing Thanksgiving dinner at his home in Ojai; Credit: Rachel Ayotte

Chef Brandon Boudet preparing Thanksgiving dinner at his home in Ojai; Credit: Rachel Ayotte

Escarole, Citrus & Fennel Salad, Courtesy of Chef Brandon Boudet

Serves 8


4 clementines
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 large head escarole, torn into bite-sized pieces (8–10 cups)
2 avocados, coarsely chopped
1 small bulb fennel, shaved, plus 1 tablespoon fronds


1. Cut off top and bottom of each clementine to reveal flesh. Following the fruit’s contours, cut away the pith and peel. Slide a knife between the segments and membrane to release the flesh into a small bowl. Set aside.2. Squeeze juice from membrane into another small bowl. Whisk in oil, vinegar, honey, red pepper, and salt. Chill 1 hour; let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before using.3. In a serving bowl, toss escarole, avocados, and fennel bulb with vinaigrette to coat; season with salt. Top with citrus and fennel fronds.

La Familia Vela Pozole Rojo, courtesy chef Adrian Vela

Serves 6-8


¾ cup of Dried Chile de Arbol
7 Dried Ancho Chile
2 Dried Pasilla Chile
3 Dried Mulato Chile
11.5 Garlic Cloves (4 smashed, 8 finely chopped)
5 Gallons of cold water
3 tablespoons of Kosher Salt
2 pounds Pork Shoulder or Pork Neck
2 teaspoon of Ground Cumin
2 Tablespoon of shortening
4 large white onions
1-10# can of hominy, drained
4 bay leafs

½ head of savoy cabbage finely shaved
Diced onions
Sliced radishes
Chopped Cilantro
Chili flakes
Tapatio Sauce
Dried Mexican Oregano


Break the steams of the all the chills and shake out as many seeds as possible. Put chilies in a bowl and cover with boiling water; weigh down the chilies with a plate to keep them submerged and soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Transfer chiles and 1 ½ cup of the soaking liquid to a blender. Add smashed garlic and ½ teaspoon of salt and puree until smooth. (Before you remove the chiles from the blender make sure you have plenty of liquid so there will not be any large pieces of chili left. Make sure all the chiles are well blended).

Rub Pork with cumin and 2 tablespoons of salt; set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high heat. Push the onion and garlic to one side of the pot; add the pork to the other side and sear, turning, until heavily browned on all sides, about 20 minutes (10 each side). Add in water, oregano, bay leaf, remaining salt and all the pureed chili sauce. On a light simmer cook pork for about 4 hours; stir regularly to prevent any sticking to the bottom.

Stir in the hominy and continue to simmer, uncovered, until the pork pulls apart. Once pork begins to pull apart, with a large spoon and fork pull the large piece of pork apart to ensure enough pork is evenly distributed. Allow the soup to slightly cool, check seasoning.

Once you have poured the soup into a bowl, immediately add oregano and cabbage, with the heat of the soup it will slightly wilt down the cabbage. Add your diced onion and sliced radishes; top with fresh cilantro and a pinch of chili flakes. If you’re like me, you’re going to add about half the bottle of tapatio. For full enjoyment; serve with fresh tortillas, tostadas or bolios. Always enjoy with tequila shots of Corralejo Tequilla or a nice cold Pacifico.

Quixotic Dijestif, Courtesy Chef Lydia Shayne

Serves 1


1.5 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Kahlua
3/4 oz Bourbon of choice (we prefer Bulliet )
Lemon twist


In a mixing glass with ice, combine all the ingredients. Stir until very well chilled, at least 30 seconds. Strain into a glass with one large ice cube. Garnish with a lemon peel, twisting it over the surface of the drink first to release its citrus oils.

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