I met Richard a couple years ago and have been a huge fan ever since! He is a successful chef, restauranteur and James Beard Award nominated cookbook author! Not to mention the only Top Chef contestant (and winner!) to ever return to the series as a permanent judge!
Needless to say, I was very excited to pick the brain of one of People Magazine’s Sexiest Chef’s in America! Here is how Richard Blais and his family like to get down on Thanksgiving.
What is on your Thanksgiving table every year, no exceptions…?
Mashed rutabaga with butter, salt & pepper. We call them mashed swedes which I heard a British guy say once. I’m pretty sure it’s because rutabagas are yellow and the Swedish flag has yellow in it, or because Swedes have yellow hair… It’s probably entirely inappropriate to call them mashed Swedes, but it builds my street cred! ha
Mashed potatoes, and they are just for me, because I’m the only one in the fam who likes Mashed potatoes! I like to briefly smoke the potatos, and then I’m
Not shy about the butter, cream and white pepper here. White pepper is the key! And lots of butter, I mentioned that right?
Also, we always have canned cranberry sauce. I’m just keeping it real. Don’t judge me!
Being the chef in the family, are you expected and/or feel pressure to bring the heat on Thanksgiving?
If you knew my family you’d know we have low expectations 😉 wait, Your not coming over are you? That would make me nervous…
But I truly love cooking on T Day, absolute labor of love!
Are you a dry brine or wet brine kind of guy? Are you brining at all??
I’m a wet brine type of guy, obviously. But I’m also a sous vide the legs and breasts and then fry them type of guy. So yes; I’m a nerd :/ We usually cook two birds, one traditional and one a bit more experimental.
If you could ban one dish from the Thanksgiving table, what would it be?
Grandma once served that cherry jello marshmallow salad. What’s it called?
Ambrosia? It should never be served. Any day. Anywhere. But it’s Grandma guys, so we all just kind of go with the flow, like when she cranks up the heat to 85 in the living room. In Florida…
What is the best tip you could give a beginner, tackling their first turkey?
Brine for the precision of seasoning and juicy-ness factor. Shove a compound butter of garlic and rosemary and sage all up in that bird, under the skin… Everywhere, and do a quick search on how long to cook your bird for its size, and then subtract 20 minutes from that time! All of those charts usually end up overcooking!
Remember the bird will still cook for 20 minutes after you pull it out of the oven!
And remember Haylie’s Twitter handle and send her pics of your bird on thanksgiving. She’s available for tech support! Actually don’t do that, it’s kind of creepy…
Favorite way to transform Thanksgiving leftovers?
Turkey Ramen! I love this because after the obligatory sandwich… ok, sandwiches, you’ll want something a little less traditional, and you might as well make the most of the bird and all its bits. If you want to take this to the next next level, you can even swirl in some roasted turkey drippings into your ramen broth.
Richard’s Leftover Turkey Ramen serves 2-4
2 quarts turkey stock
2 strips bacon ( or any pork product )
2 sheets nori seaweed
1 pound ramen noodles
4 eggs ( cooked in boiling water for exactly 6 minutes and then shocked in ice water )
3 tablespoons soy
2 bunch scallions sliced thin
Left over turkey ( preferably dark meat )
Left over ham
Chili oil or sriacha ( optional )
Roast Turkey drippings ( optional, but you should )
Cook your turkey stock with the bacon and nori for 30 minutes.
Cook the noodles until done and reserve for plating
Remove the seaweed and discard
Add the soy and taste for saltiness. You want it pretty savory!
In bowls, heap the noodles dead center
Peel the eggs and slice in half and place on noodle nest
Pour in ramen broth just so the noodles are a little delicious island inhabited by the egg.
Place the turkey pieces and ham on this island, which is now quite occupied :/
Garnish with a showering of the scallions and have some hot sauce at the table
To follow the culinary adventures of Richard Blais, you can find him on Instagram HERE