Posted November 13, 2020

Holiday Helper — Thanksgiving Recipes


Part 2: Main Dishes

Save a turkey … grill a quail.

Our favorite big bird is an 8-foot-tall yellow Muppet, but coming in a close second is the humble turkey. It’s estimated that more than 45 million of those ornately feathered fowls will be cooked and eaten at Thanksgiving, so we decided to give the turkeys a break this year.

In the second installment of our four-part series of Thanksgiving recipes from our Kimpton chefs, we’ve decided to go non-traditional (that’s just so like us). So if you really need help with your turkey, give Butterball a call … they’ll even have men working the hotline for the first time. If you want some creative, out-of-the-box ideas for your holiday dinner — like grilled quail, braised lamb bellies or lemon-poached salmon — keep reading. Gobble gobble.

Grilled Quail

Kyle Rourke, Red Star Tavern and Roast House, Portland OR


3 semi-boneless quail

3 tablespoons kosher salt


Kyle Rourke


½ cup rice wine vinegar

¼ cup honey

3 tablespoons sesame oil

3 scallions, sliced thin

2 tablespoons toasted chili powder


2 cups chickpeas

4 cups water

4 cups olive oil

3 tablespoons togarashi spice

2 tablespoons salt

Parsnip purée:

4 each parsnips, peeled and chopped

4 cups water

½ cup whole milk

2 tablespoons cold butter

1 vanilla bean, split

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon white pepper

Lightly cure both sides of quail with salt and set aside for 15 minutes. Take ingredients for marinade and mix together well. Blot excess moisture off quail with a paper towel. Place quail in a re-sealable storage bag and pour marinade over. Seal and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes and move onto chickpeas.

Place chickpeas in a pot with water and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer until soft. Strain and let cool. Place oil in another pot and bring up to 350 degrees. Fry chickpeas in batches and toss with togarashi spice and salt.

Place parsnip, vanilla, milk, and water in a pot and simmer until tender. Strain and place in blender, reserving ¼ cup of cooking liquid. Turn blender on and slowly add cooking liquid to help purée. Once vortex has formed, add cold butter one cube at a time. Season with salt and white pepper and set aside.

To complete:
Place quail on pre-heated grill for 3-5 minutes per side until done. Let rest for 5 minutes then cut each quail in half. Spoon parsnip purée on plate. Place ½ quail on each plate. Toss mizuna with olive oil, salt and pepper, and garnish plate with mizuna and chickpeas.

Lamb Belly

Derek Simcik

Derek Simcik, Atwood Cafe, Chicago

3–4 lamb bellies


½ cup ground coffee

½ cup ground coriander

½ cup fresh or dried oregano

2 cups salt

1 cup sugar


3 quarts lamb stock or any other stock you have on hand

1 orange, sliced

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

2 whole garlic cloves

2 whole shallots

Mix the entire cure in a bowl and rub it on the lamb bellies and allow to sit overnight. Take lamb bellies out and rinse off the cure, then pat dry. In a large pot or pan, sear the lamb on both sides and place in a deep pan. Add the stock, orange, garlic, shallots, bay leaves and peppercorn. Wrap in foil and braise for 2½–3 hours at 275 degrees. When done, allow to cool in the liquid for 2 hours then take out the bellies and place on a large sheet pan. Place another sheet pan on top of the lamb and press down. Place something heavy on top of the sheet pan — like canned goods — to keep the weight on and let sit for another 4–5 hours. Then remove pans, portion to desired size and reheat.

Lemon-Poached Salmon

Christian Graves

Christian Graves, JSix, San Diego

6 ounces wild salmon

2 cups poaching liquid (see below)

¼ cup risotto

¼ cup raw grated squash

2 tablespoons cherry tomato purée (see below)

¼ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Poaching liquid:

1 teaspoon salt

Zest of two lemons

2 cups water

1 bay leaf

1 leek

1 celery stalk

2 shallots

All rough cut and steeped for 20 minutes

Cherry tomato purée:

1 tablespoon cherry tomatoes

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Dash of salt

Add the juice of half a lemon and 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil with a pinch of salt to the squash. Bring poaching liquid to a boil in a pot that will hold the fish and the liquid. Add fish and turn heat down to a simmer for two minutes. Cover and set aside. This will cook the fish to a perfect medium without turning it to rubber.

Warm the risotto by constantly stirring. The more you stir, the creamier it will get. Add the raw grated squash into the hot risotto. It will melt inside the rice. Let rest until you are ready to plate. Makes one serving.


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