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Your Thanksgiving Cooking Questions Answered, Maintaining Tradition During An Unusual Year

Chef Bernard Guillas cooks a Thanksgiving meal at the Marine Room restaurant ...

Photo by Elma Gonzalez Lima Brandao

Above: Chef Bernard Guillas cooks a Thanksgiving meal at the Marine Room restaurant on Nov. 21, 2017.

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So many things are different about this Thanksgiving holiday. Because of the Pandemic, we’re advised not to travel, not to have large gatherings and to avoid the usual family holiday ... Read more →

Aired: November 25, 2020 | Transcript

So many things are different about this Thanksgiving holiday.

Because of the pandemic, we’re advised not to travel, not to have large gatherings and to avoid the usual family holiday reunions. But it is Thanksgiving, and we still have things to be thankful for.

One of the things we’re thankful for at KPBS is that we’re able to bring you our annual Thanksgiving tradition: Chef Bernard Guillas, the executive chef of the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club's The Shores restaurant and the Marine Room restaurant, joined us for some turkey talk.

Many people are choosing to celebrate Thanksgiving without attending large gatherings of family and friends, so we asked Guillas to share a menu for just a few people. The recipes below are reprinted with permission.

Photo credit: Chef Bernard Guillas

Sylvie’s Turkey Breast Ballotine in an undated photo.

My sister, Sylvie, lives in a remote village close to the Mont St. Michel castle. Her historic stone manor is a treasure, with walls so thick that they trap all the aromas of the food being prepared in the kitchen. She grows her own vegetables and raises chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits and sheep. There is no need to go to the market when you have such a boon in your backyard! Harvesting turkeys at during the holiday season is a family tradition, and what grows in the garden determines what goes in the stuffing. Her tip for keeping this dish moist is to baste the turkey with a lot of butter during roasting.

Sylvie’s Turkey Breast Ballotine, Croissant Sausage Stuffing, Glazed Carrots, Cipollini, Apple Cider Gravy

Serves 6


1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup stemmed, diced oyster mushrooms

2 cups minced leeks, white part only

1/4 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts

1/2 cup diced sun-dried tart cherries

1 teaspoon chopped sage

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 cup chicken stock

6 links hot Italian sausages, casings removed

8 large croissants, cubed

to taste sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 4-pound boneless free range turkey breast

1 stick butter, diced

2 teaspoons chopped thyme

Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, leeks, hazelnuts, cherries, sage and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes without browning, stirring often. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add chicken stock. Fold in sausage and croissants. Place turkey breast on cutting board. Butterfly-cut breast lengthwise to create a pocket. Place two-thirds of stuffing in the center. Roll. Tie with butcher twine. Transfer remaining stuffing to baking dish. Cover. Place turkey in roasting pan skin side up. Dot with butter. Season with thyme, salt and pepper. Bake 1 hour or until the center of stuffing reaches 160 degrees, basting often. Bake reserved stuffing during the last 30 minutes of cooking the turkey. Transfer turkey to cutting board. Place roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat to make the sauce.

Apple Cider Sauce

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup chopped shallots

2 green apples, cored, chopped

4 leaves sage

2 tablespoons sifted flour

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 cup sparkling apple cider

2 cups chicken stock

to taste sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Add butter, shallots, apples and sage to the roasting pan. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in flour. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add balsamic and apple cider. Bring to boil. Add chicken stock. Bring to simmer. Reduce to sauce consistency. Strain through a fine sieve. Season with salt and pepper.

Cranberry Relish

1 cup sun-dried cranberries

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1/2 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 stick cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 sprigs mint

Place all ingredients except mint in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until reduced to relish consistency. Transfer to serving ramekins. Garnish with a mint sprig.


1/2 cup verjus

1/2 pound young carrots, peeled, trimmed

1/2 pound cipollinis, peeled

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon minced mint

to taste sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Add butter, verjus, honey, cipollinis and carrots to a large skillet over medium heat. Bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cover. Cook 2 minutes. Uncover. Cook until the liquid is syrupy. Add mint. Toss. Adjust seasoning. Set aside. Cut turkey breast into 1-inch thick slices. Place in center of a warm serving plate. Garnish with carrots and cipollinis. Spoon sauce onto the plate. Serve with cranberry relish.

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