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Chef Bernard Shares His Thanksgiving Secrets

Chef Bernard Guillas.
Courtesy photo
Chef Bernard Guillas.
Chef Bernard Shares His Thanksgiving Secrets
GUESTChef Bernard Guillas, executive chef of the Marine Room in La Jolla.

For many people, Thanksgiving dinner is the biggest meal they prepare all year. But a big, elaborate meal is all in a day's work for Chef Bernard Guillas, executive chef of the Marine Room in La Jolla.

If you haven't purchased your bird yet, fret not. Chef Bernard chats with KPBS Midday Edition to share his last-minute tips on preparing a fabulous feast.

We're taking listeners' questions about roasting, brining and even frying your turkey. Or perhaps you've got a question about side dishes, desserts or vegetarian alternatives? Whatever your Thanksgiving question or comment, Chef Bernard has the answer.


Looking for further culinary inspiration? Here are some of Chef Bernard's favorite Thanksgiving recipes:

Kumquat Cranberry Relish

Serves 8

1 2/3 cups ruby port

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed


16 kumquats, stemmed, rinsed, chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 stalk lemongrass, split

3/4 cup sugar

1-12 ounce bag fresh cranberries

Combine first 6 ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Stir until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low. Simmer 15 minutes. Remove lemongrass. Add cranberries. Cook over medium heat until liquid is slightly reduced and berries burst. Stir occasionally, about 6 minutes. Cool. Transfer sauce to bowl. Chill until cold. Cover. Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Cajun Butter Basted Turkey

16-18 pound fresh, free-range tom turkey

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

3 tablespoons Cajun spice blend

1 bunch fresh herbs sprigs (thyme, rosemary, sage)

Pre-heat oven to 325°F. Remove neck and giblets from cavity. Rinse cavity, giblets and neck thoroughly. Pat dry. Fold and secure wings under body. In a small bowl, combine butter and Cajun spices. Rub Cajun butter over entire surface of turkey. Insert herbs in cavity of turkey. Place in roasting pan. Add giblets and neck. Whole turkeys should cook 20 minutes per pound at 325°F until internal temperature at thickest part of thigh reaches 160°F when tested with meat thermometer. Baste turkey every 20 minutes. Transfer turkey to ovenproof ceramic serving platter. Tent with foil. Let rest 15 minutes. Carve table-side.

Bourbon Anise Sauce

1 red onion, chopped

1 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped celery

4 sprigs thyme

2 star anise

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/3 cup flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 cups chicken stock

1 cup bourbon

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place roasting pan on stove top over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, thyme, star anise and black peppercorns to neck and giblets. Cook 10 minutes stirring often. Sift flour atop with butter. Cook 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add chicken stock and bourbon. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Cook 20 minutes or until sauce consistency. Strain through fine sieve. Season as needed with salt and pepper.

Chestnut Andouille Brioche Stuffing

Serves 8

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound Andouille sausages, diced

1 cup diced fennel

1 cup sliced celery

1 1/2 cups sliced leeks, white part only

1 cup chopped chestnut meat

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 cup diced sun-dried apricots

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves

1/2 cup minced parsley

1/2 tablespoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 egg, beaten

1 loaf (1/2 pound) brioche, crust removed, cubed

Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add Andouille sausages. Cook 1 minute. Add fennel and celery. Cook 30 seconds. Add leeks and chestnuts. Cook 2 minutes without browning. Add maple syrup. Cook 1 minute. Add sun-dried apricots and chicken stock. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in cream, sage, parsley, salt and pepper. Let cool. Stir in eggs. Fold in brioche. Place two-thirds of stuffing into baking dish. Cover. Bake 30 minutes.

Farmers Market Root Vegetables

Serves 8

1 cup pearl onions, peeled

24 small Brussels sprouts, trimmed

16 young carrots, peeled

16 yellow baby beets, peeled

1 pound baby red bliss potatoes

3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 cups Japanese eggplant, diced

4 Roma tomatoes, quartered

8 cloves garlic, whole, peeled

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 sprigs thyme

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 375°F. Toss all ingredients in mixing bowl with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to roasting pan. Cook 20 minutes. Rotate vegetables to cook evenly. Cook additional 20 minutes or until al dente.