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Turkey Day Delights

Local chefs share favorite recipes for Thanksgiving

November 18, 2012
The Leader Herald

The Leader-Herald invited several local chefs and food purveyors to share some of their favorite fall recipes, just in time for those of us planning our Thanksgiving feasts. They responded with a cornucopia of ideas for savory side dishes and one sweet Turkey Day dessert. Bon appetit!

John Lomanto, proprietor of Chef Lomanto's Kitchen in Gloversville, stresses the importance of using fresh ingredients from local suppliers.

For hometown cooks preparing the following dish, Lomanto advises, "Get the celery and onion from Antonucci's Produce, the sausage from Bowman's Market and the bread from Rauch's Bakery."

Article Photos

Chef John Lomanto works the stovetop Thursday at his restaurant on South Main Street in Gloversville. He says fresh ingredients from local suppliers are one of the keys to his cooking, including his recipe for Pumpernickel Browned Butter Sage Sausage Stuffing. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Ackerbauer)


1 extra-large loaf of pumpernickel or marble rye bread

2 pounds lump sausage

2 cups celery, chopped

2 cups white onion, chopped

3/4 stick butter

2 cups chicken broth

5 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Cube and toast the bread with a quarter-stick of the butter.

In a medium skillet, brown the sausage, then add the chopped celery and onion to the skillet and cook till the vegetables are translucent. Take the skillet contents and add them to the toasted bread.

Add the chicken broth and the raw, scrambled eggs to the bread-and-sausage mixture, mixing it all in a buttered casserole dish. Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. The top of the stuffing should be brown and crusty.

In a separate pan, brown the remaining butter with the sage leaves, cooking till the butter reaches an "almond-brown, almost-bronze" color. Remove the sage leaves.

Pour the browned sage-infused butter evenly over the top of the baked stuffing. Serve.

(Optional variations: Add chopped chesnuts or add a bit of turkey gravy to the mixture before baking.)

Deena Sisco, owner of Chick & Hen Baking Company of Bleecker, offers another take on stuffing, this one replete with the flavors of fennel and roasted squash.

"Our family has always taken food very seriously," Sisco says. "Our Thanksgiving Holiday table always saw at least two types of stuffings, a sausage and an oyster (not my favorite). My mid-20s began my personal journey toward becoming more gourmand - using vegetables, herbs and flavors that were not part of our family repertoire. I experimented with the basic family recipe, and after trial and error, this tasty adaptation was born. It was Grandpa-approved, so it is now a staple on the table. I also love that it makes for a great standalone sandwich the next day with left-over gravy."


4 cups peeled, seeded butternut squash (from one 1 3/4-pound squash), cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

3 cups chopped onions (about 1 pound)

2 cups chopped celery (4 to 5 stalks)

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh fennel bulb (about 1 medium bulb)

1 pound pork sausage log

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram

12 cups (generous) 1-inch cubes of day-old rustic or ciabatta bread with crust (about1 1/4 pounds)

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 cup (or more) low-salt chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub baking sheet with olive oil. Scatter squash on sheet in single layer; toss with a little olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast squash until tender, stirring occasionally, about 55 minutes. Transfer to large bowl; cool.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and fennel. Saute until golden brown and then add sausage. Saute until vegetables are tender and sausage is cooked through, breaking up sausage with fork, about 10 minutes. Add all herbs; saute a bit longer. Add to bowl with squash.

With oven still at 350 degrees, divide bread between two rimmed baking sheets. Bake until bread is crusty but not hard, reversing sheets after five minutes, 10 to 12 minutes total. Transfer to very large bowl and cool.

Butter 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish. Add vegetable mixture to bread. Whisk salt and pepper into small bowl with 1 cup broth.

Add egg mixture to stuffing, tossing to combine evenly and adding more broth by 1/4 cup full if dry. Transfer stuffing to prepared dish.

Bake stuffing uncovered until cooked through and brown and crusty on top, 60 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.

Serves 10.

Heather Mattioni, chef at 391 South Main Restaurant in Gloversville, says the following dish is a "new tradition" that has started to catch on.

"It's delicious, sweet and creamy," she said. "It's a perfect side dish that everyone will love."


1/2 cup butter, melted

2 eggs, beaten

1 (8.5 ounce) package of honey cornbread and muffin mix

1 pound bag of frozen corn (cook before using)

1 (14-ounce) can of creamed corn

1 cup sour cream

1/2 white onion

1 clove garlic

1 small container of fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9-by-9-inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine butter, eggs, corn bread mix, whole and creamed corn, onion, garlic and sour cream. Spoon mixture into prepared dish. Top with fried onions.

Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown.

Crystal Stewart of Johnstown shared this recipe for roasted sweet potatoes. Stewart is the regional agriculture specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension's Capital District Vegetable and Small Fruit Program, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market in Gloversville.

"Local sweet potatoes offer more variety of color, texture and flavor than those found in a traditional grocery store," Stewart said. "Roasting caramelizes the sugars in the potatoes and the local maple syrup."


4 small sweet potatoes (or 2 large), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1/8 cup grade B maple syrup (which is darker and has more maple flavor), or more to taste

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, add the sweet potatoes, 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Mix to evenly coat the potatoes and arrange on a sheet tray.

Roast until caramelized, golden brown and soft, about 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure to check them after 15 minutes and stir, if needed. Serve warm.

Nita Predicce, deli manager at Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market, shares the following recipe for a sweet-yet-tart dish that might take the place of a traditional cranberry relish.

"This recipe is made with local apples, vinegar and honey," she said. "It's fat-free, vegan and gluten-free. I use a mandolin to slice the apples and cabbage - It makes even slices with less effort."


1 head red cabbage, thinly sliced

2 honeycrisp apples, thinly sliced

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

In large 3- or 4-quart pan, place cabbage, honey and vinegar.

Cook, stirring often, on low heat until cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes. Add cranberries and apples and cook for 5 to 10 more minutes. Serve.

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay doesn't own a local restaurant, but he does promote the Total brand of yogurt made in Johnstown by Fage USA. The company shared the following recipe with The Leader-Herald:?

Zucchini Fritters with FAGE Total Greek Yogurt

2/3 cup FAGE Total Classic

1 zucchini

1 1/2 small shallots, peeled and finely chopped

2 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 green chili, very finely chopped (use more if you like it hot)

1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup strong farmhouse cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 teaspoon cooking salt

Dash freshly milled black pepper to taste

Grate the zucchini and squeeze the moisture out by hand. Place in a large bowl.

Chop and fry the shallots and spring onions in hot oil until translucent. Add the green chili and remove from heat.

Add the shallots, spring onion and chili to the zucchini and then add the bread crumbs, beaten egg, cheddar cheese, cilantro, salt and pepper. Mix well with a fork. Form into patties with your hands, flattening slightly.

Fry patties in olive oil in a nonstick frying pan on medium heat, turning a couple of times until cooked through, golden and slightly crisp on the outside.

Top with yogurt. Makes two servings.

Megan Saltsman, pastry chef at Union Hall Inn in Johnstown, offers the following recipe for a pumpkin roll cake, a nice alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie for those who aren't crazy about the orange gourd.

"I don't love pumpkin," she said, "But I love this cake."

Saltsman said she learned the recipe from her high school home economics teacher, Darlene Holubetz, and she's been using it for years. In fact, it's on the menu at Union Hall this fall.


Cake ingredients:

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup pumpkin

3 eggs

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cloves

Mix the sugar and pumpkin until smooth, then mix in the eggs, followed by all the dry ingredients. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in 250-degree oven. Makes a half-sheet. While the cake is still warm, roll it in powdered sugar before applying the filling.

Filling ingredients:

8 ounces softened cream cheese

1 pound or (1/2 bag) powered sugar

1 stick butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cloves

Blend ingredients until smooth, then use filling to frost one side. Roll, slice and serve with fresh whipped cream.

Editor's note: These recipes were compiled by Features Editor Bill Ackerbauer. He can be reached at



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