Long Island Chefs Share Their Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a day to kick back with loved ones, give thanks and, of course, dig into hearty dishes. (Overeating isn’t frowned upon on this day!) But what about the ones doing the cooking? Three Long Island chefs reflected on their cherished Thanksgiving memories while offering one of their favorite dishes. They could be great additions to this year’s holiday party.

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David Ladner
Chef de cuisine at Sandbar in Cold Spring Harbor

“For more than half my life I’ve been cooking in professional kitchens on Thanksgiving. I always enjoy cooking for family and friends, but the best part of the day is when it’s over and the whole restaurant gets a chance to sit down together, drink wine and eat leftovers. It’s been a tradition that everyone goes around and shares something that he or she is thankful for.”

Savory Sausage Bread Pudding


1 loaf of crusty bread diced and dried the day ahead
4 eggs
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups cream
1 tbsp chopped sage
1 tbsp chopped thyme
2 garlic cloves minced
2 large Spanish onions diced
3 stalks celery diced
2 lbs Italian sausage cooked and crumbled (optional)


-Sweat onions celery and garlic, set aside.
-Mix cream, chicken stock and eggs.
-Pour liquids over bread.
-Add sausage, herbs and vegetables. Mix well and hold over night.
-Day of, take baking dish and butter sides and bottom.
-Put stuffing mix into pan and cover with tin foil.
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees and then bake for 30 minutes.
-Pull tin foil off and continue to bake until bread pudding is done.
*This recipe can be done the day ahead and just reheated. Just be sure to reheat with tin foil on top so not to dry out stuffing mix.

Oscar Martinez
Executive chef at DOMA Land + Sea in Cedarhurst

“Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and, of course, food! Who doesn’t love the smell of the roasting turkey and the chatter of family in the background? On Thanksgiving, my wife makes a particularly delicious dish that we refer to as pumpkin spoon bread. Basically, it’s a cornmeal pudding. It’s a recipe we did at Windows on the World when I was a sous chef under chef Michael Lomonaco. It’s bread you can eat with a spoon, so you know it’s delicious. Plus, canned pumpkin is 100 percent acceptable.”

Pumpkin Spoon Bread

Pumpkin Spoon bread Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk
½ cup sour cream
1 oz whole butter
1 cup coarse cornmeal
3 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cup pumpkin puree
1 ½ tsp salt


-Put corn meal and 1 cup milk in a heavy saucepan.
-Bring to boil, stirring in the rest of the milk in cupfuls as the mixture thickens.
-Stir in butter.
-Pour the mixture into another pan and refrigerate for a 1/2 hour or until lukewarm.
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Add the salt, pumpkin, sour cream and eggs. Beat thoroughly.
-Pour into a deep well-greased 2 quart dish.
-Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.
Optional: Add butter pecans to mixture, or serve with sour cream and chives on side.

Jesse Schenker
Chef at 2 Spring in Oyster Bay (opening in December)

“I’m usually working on Thanksgiving—it’s usually one of the busiest days of the year. After the last plate goes out, the best part is breaking bread with my staff and eating all the leftovers together. We would take the dark meat and fry it up with the stuffing and fried egg on top, put it between a baguette with fresh cranberry sauce—nothing better.”

Split Pea & Short Rib Soup


2 Spanish onions, chopped into 1″ sized pieces
1 head of celery, chopped into 1″ sized pieces
2 lbs carrots, chopped into 1″ sized pieces
5 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 lbs short ribs
2 lbs marrow bones
1 cup red wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 sachet (1 tbsp black peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, 1 bunch thyme—all tied in cheesecloth)
1 lb green split peas
1/2 lb barley
3 tbsp dill, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped


-Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large heavy bottom stockpot or dutch oven, place 1 tbsp grapeseed oil and marrow bones. Roast in oven for 30-45 minutes.
-Carefully remove pan from oven and place on stovetop. Remove marrow bones and set aside. Turn the heat on high and add 1 tbsp grapeseed.
-Season the shortribs with salt, and sear on all sides. Remove and set aside.
-Reduce heat to medium, add the vegetables and cook for 5-7 minutes until onions are translucent.
-Add tomato paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
-Return the marrow bones and short rib to the pan.
-Add the red wine to deglaze, scraping the bottom to release all of the browned bits.
-Add the sachet, green peas, barley and enough water or beef stock to cover and bring the pot to a boil.
-Turn the heat down to low, cover the pot and simmer for around 2 hours or until the meat is tender and falls off the bone.
-Remove all bones and the sachet. Season with salt to taste. Before serving, add the fresh dill and parsley.

anna halkidis

anna halkidis

Anna Halkidis is a senior web editor at Long Island Pulse. Feel free to reach out at anna@lipulse.com or on Twitter @annahalkidis.