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Chef’s Corner: Holiday turkey favorites

By Staff | Nov 16, 2012

Host Andrea and Chef Aziz with a Thanksgiving bird.

Chef Aziz and Traditions on the Beach wish you a Happy Thanksgiving from our kitchen to yours. I have shared with you some of my personal Thanksgiving favorites that will be sure to be enjoyed by the entire family.

Don’t feel like cooking for Thanksgiving? Traditions on the Beach will be open at 4 p.m. serving a traditional Thanksgiving meal from the golden turkey right down to the mashed potatoes in addition to the regular menu.

Call 472-4559 for reservations.

Roast Turkey with Sausage-Apple Dressing

Roast Turkey:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 lemon zested and juiced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 fresh turkey (10-12 pounds)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large bunch fresh thyme

1 whole lemon halved

1 Spanish onion quartered

1 head garlic, halved crosswise


1 cup white wine

3 cups store-bought chicken stock

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoon cornstarch


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl mix butter, paprika, zest and juice of the lemon and 1 teaspoon of chopped thyme leaves and set aside. Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and pat the outside dry with paper towel.

Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Season, with salt and pepper, the inside of the turkey cavity and stuff with the bunch of thyme, halves lemon, quartered onion, and garlic. Separate the skin from the breast meat and massage some of the butter mixture under the skin, then the outside of the turkey and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey. Cover with foil and roast the turkey about two hours. Then increase the temperature to 400 F, remove foil, baste with remaining butter and continue cooking until an instant read thermometer registers 165, and the juices run clear when you cut between the legs and the thighs.

Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with aluminum and allow to rest 20 minutes. Place the roasting pan over low heat on the stovetop. Add white wine and deglaze the pan scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour in chicken stock, whisk the cornstarch into it. Add the tablespoon butter and whisk well to combine. Strain the gravy into a small sauce pan and simmer over low heat until thick and smooth, about eight minutes.

Tips: I like to use the neck and giblets as a platform for the bird, it stops the bottom of the turkey from burning and adds flavor to the pan juices. A good rule for roasting times are about 15 minutes per pound.


15 cups white bread cubes, lightly toasted

2 cups sauted loose Italian sausage

2 eggs, beaten

4 cups apple cubes

1 teaspoon chopped sage

1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme

4 cups store-bought chicken stock

1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup sauteed diced onion

1 cup toasted walnut

1 cup sauteed diced celery

In a bowl combine sauteed sausage, onion, celery, bread cubes, apple cubes, walnut, thyme and sage. Pour beaten egg and chicken stock over and mit well. Transfer to a baking dish, dot with melted butter, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes at 375 F. Then uncover and bake until golden for 20 more minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread Pudding


2 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

15 ounce can pure pumpkin

6 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 cups fresh cranberries

12 cups 1 inch cubed cinnamon raisin bread

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350F. Mix the bread cubes, fresh cranberries and pecans in a bowl and transfer to a buttered baking dish. Wisk milk, heavy cream, eggs, pumpkin spice, vanilla extract, brown sugar and maple syrup to blend. Pour the custard mixture over the bread and let sit for 15 minutes. Bake pumpkin bread pudding until a knife inserted into center comes out clean, which will be about an hour. Serving suggestion, cinnamon ice cream.