It was Thanksgiving in the After Hours kitchen this week as Chopped judges Maneet and Chris, and host Ted, rolled up their sleeves to prepare a holiday feast in only 40 minutes, working with such classic fixings as giblet gravy, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin pie ice cream and, of course, a whole turkey. (Just like the show’s chefs, the judges were allowed an extra 10 minutes to cook on account of the whole turkey.) Thanksgiving is a holiday centered on tradition just as much as it is on food, so it’s no surprise that the judges took the timeless elements of a tried-and-true Turkey Day menu and opted to celebrate them rather than hide them.
For host-turned-competitor Ted, that meant “a very traditional Thanksgiving turkey and dressing,” he explained to Maneet, Chris and guest host Alex. To make sure he’d have time to cook such a large bird, Ted worked with only a segment of the meat and let the stuffing be a shining element on his plate. “My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is the stuffing or the dressing.” Ted said, noting that his offering was a “straight-up sage stuffing.” He added, “I tried to make it look a little nicer by putting it in a mold, which sort of worked.”
Maneet incorporated tradition, too, but did so by enhancing the ingredients for this all-American dinner with flavors that are important to her. “Already I can see you infusing your culture and your heritage by using ginger and fresh chile in a Thanksgiving stuffing,” Alex told Maneet as the latter worked on what would become tandoori-laced turkey roulade and a Brussels sprouts-apple salad.
Click the play button on the video above to find out how Chris featured elements of Thanksgiving tradition into his finished dish, then browse behind-the-scenes photos to see more action from the judges’ battle.
Tell FN Dish in the comments section below: What classic Thanksgiving dishes must be on your Turkey Day table every year, and how do you incorporate traditional favorites into new, creative recipes?