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Your Holiday Menu Needs These Recipes From Delaware Chefs

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Photo by Christina Peters

Three Delaware chefs share beloved holiday recipes, from casseroles to mac and cheese, to serve at your own gathering this year.

Looking for a fresh dish to add to your holiday menu? These three chefs make it easy. 

Roasted Butternut Wild Mushroom Moody Blue Mac & Cheese 

Mac-and-cheese

Craving a new kind of mac ‘n’ cheese? Say goodbye to traditional cheddar and opt for smoked blue cheese. Here, a creamy, smooth dish with puréed butternut squash and chopped wild mushrooms./Photo by Christina Peters

At Booth House Tavern in historic New Castle, Chef Samuel Wall creates dishes all his own. During the fall holiday, rich macaroni and cheese gets an upgrade with smooth butternut squash and creamy blue cheese. Wall’s dish is so delicious, he says many a guest has returned for a third and even fourth helping.

Ingredients:
• 1 large butternut squash, diced
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 6 tablespoons butter
• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 cups wild mushrooms
• 7 cups milk
• 2 cups Moody Blue cheese or smoked blue cheese
• 1 pound cooked pasta (Cavatappi is recommended)
• Salt and black pepper, to taste 

Roast the butternut squash. Heat oven to 375 F, place diced squash with a drizzle of olive oil. Roast for about 30 minutes or until tender. Set aside until cool. 

Prepare the cheese sauce by first melting butter in a saucepan. Add flour to make a roux, then stir while it cooks for 3 minutes. Add around 3 cups of milk and stir until thick. Pour in the rest of the milk and bring to a boil, still stirring. Add 2 cups of blue cheese until melted. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Melt butter in a saucepan and add chopped mushrooms. Cook until tender. Add to cheese sauce with the butternut squash. 

To combine, lace the cooked pasta into a bowl, pour half of the cheese sauce over pasta and fold together. If it seems too dry, add more cheese sauce. Place into ovenproof dish and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes at 325 F. 

Chef Modesto’s Turkey

At BBC Tavern and Grill in Greenville, Chef Esteban Modesto knows how to create a menu that everyone will love. The holidays are no different. For the table centerpiece, a well-seasoned, moist turkey takes center stage. And to pair, fresh greens beans with garlic and pecans are the perfect complement. 

chef-modesto-bbc-tavern

Spice up a bland Thanksgiving turkey with this flavorful seasoning. Pair with green beans prepared with garlic and pecans./Photo by Christina Peters

Serves: 10
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes per pound, until internal temperature of 180 F

Ingredients:
• One 13- or 14-pound whole turkey
• 2 tablespoons garlic powder
• 2 tablespoons onion powder
• 1 tablespoon ground dry paprika
• 2 tablespoons ground dry oregano
• 2 tablespoons salt and black pepper
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, ground

(If you enjoy spice as Chef Modesto does, add 1 tablespoon of chili powder, cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes to the mixture.) 

Tip: Before seasoning the turkey, place it in the refrigerator, uncovered, for two hours to dry out the skin, and then let it sit on the counter for about an hour until it reaches room temperature. This ensures a crispy skin.

Rinse turkey in sink, remove giblets from cavity and discard.

Pat turkey dry and tie the legs closed with kitchen string.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine all seasonings and thyme in a bowl. 

Dust entire turkey, inside and out, with mixture. Place in the oven and cook until done.

BBC Holiday Green Beans

Serves: 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
• 1 pound green beans
• 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 1/4 cup slivered pecans
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon salt

In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the pecans and toast until golden brown, about 2 minutes, then set aside. Over medium heat, add the rest of the olive oil, along with green beans, and cook until the green beans turn bright green and begin to soften (approximately 6 to 8 minutes). Add in garlic and stir until fragrant (1 to 2 minutes.)  Sprinkle in pecans, then salt and stir over medium heat for approximately 1 minute.

comfort-food

Free up your holidays for family time by cooking a one-pot dish. This potato casserole is rich with butter, cheddar and sour cream. Topped with potato chips, it’s the perfect blend of smooth and crunchy./Adobe Stock | Brent Hofacker

Patty’s Cheese Potato Casserole

Charlie Moronski never forgets the cheesy potatoes around the holidays, a family staple passed down from his grandmother. The executive chef of Crust & Craft in Rehoboth Beach says he can’t remember a year when they weren’t at the family table. The best part? The crunchy potato chip topping, he says.  

Ingredients:
• 2 pounds Idaho potatoes, diced
• 1/2 a bag of regular potato chips
• 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
• 1 can cream of chicken soup
• 1 cup sour cream
• 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
• 1 large sweet onion, diced
• Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. Thoroughly combine all ingredients together, except potato chips, in a large mixing bowl. Add mixture to a 9-by-13 baking dish and cook for 45 minutes. Crush potato chips and sprinkle on top of the casserole. Bake in the oven for another 15 minutes. 

Classic Green Bean Casserole 

Chef Moronski also whips up this classic side dish for his guests. No holiday is complete without a green bean casserole, he says. This traditional dish is a fun one to create from scratch including frying the onions yourself. 

Ingredients: 

For the Fried Onions:
• 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 1 cup flour
• Salt and black pepper to taste 

For the Casserole:
• 1 large sweet onion, diced
• 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and halved
• 4 cloves garlic
• 6 ounces unsalted butter
• 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup chicken stock
• 1 1/4 cup heavy cream 

chef

Charlie Moronski, executive chef of Crust & Craft in Rehoboth Beach, recreates two dishes he loves from his family’s holiday celebrations: cheese potato and green bean casseroles./Photo courtesy of Sodel Concepts

Soak thinly sliced onions in buttermilk. Place flour seasoned with salt and pepper in a separate bowl.  Drain onions from buttermilk, then dredge in the seasoned flour. In a large skillet, heat about 1 inch of oil over medium heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer, add onions and fry until golden brown.  Remove from oil and place on a plate with a paper towel to dry. 

To make the casserole, preheat oven to 400 F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add green beans once boiling. Cook for 3 minutes and then place in an ice bath. 

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and diced onions, and cook halfway.  Add garlic and salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Add flour. Once the flour has absorbed any moisture, add the chicken broth and stir occasionally. Once the sauce thickens, add green beans and half of the fried onions. Pour mixture into a casserole dish and top with fried onions. Bake for 15 minutes and serve warm.

Related: 4 Scrumptious Recipes for Back-to-School Season in Delaware

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