What are you thankful for? Chefs share their stories of community, resilience and family recipes.

Chefs share their stories of community, resilience and family recipes.

Whether your bubble is one person or a dozen, there are ways to gather, connect and support safely this Thanksgiving. There will be things to be grateful for.

Doreen Prei
exec chef, Zinc at the AGA

When Covid hit and the restaurant closed, I had a hard time at first. My job was so busy, and, as a single mother, we would hustle through the days. But I would never have had this time with them without Covid. I’m thankful that I could spend another half maternity leave with my children. We are intently together. It’s not easy, it’s not like licking honey, but we have bonded in a completely different way. Now I get to spend quality time with my children. I am also thankful for my community—it’s been fun exploring the neighbourhood.

Maybe I’ll be back to work in November? Most likely we’re looking at January for Zinc to reopen.

Web Exclusive: Parsnip Puree

6 parsnips, peeled and roughly cut
400 ml cream
200 ml water
150 g butter, unsalted
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a pot and add salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium. Cook until the parsnips are soft. Strain the parsnips through a colander and keep the cooking liquid and puree the parsnips in a blender, adding the cooking liquid slowly until it develops a nice and smooth consistency. Season with salt.

German-inspired Bread Dumplings with Turkey Leg Confit and Wild Mushroom Sauce

1 turkey leg
salt the turkey leg and leave uncovered for at least 12 hours in your fridge.
2 bay leaves
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh sage
5 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
1 kg duck fat or any vegetable oil (you can reuse the fat after cooking)

Combine all ingredients (except oil and butter) and ensure the mix is not too wet or dry.

Fill a pot wide enough to poach the bread dumplings with water and bring to a simmer.

Put cling wrap on your counter and add some of the bread dumpling mixture and shape into a long roll, 1-1½ inches wide. Roll into the cling wrap like you would make a sushi roll. Try to roll as tight as possible so that you avoid air bubbles in the roll. Tie a knot on both ends.

Place the rolls in the simmering water (avoid rapid boiling) and place a kitchen towel over top to allow even cooking. Poach for about 10 minutes and cool down in your refrigerator for at least two hours. Ideally you hang the rolls to keep the shape.

Remove the cling wrap and cut the bread dumplings into about ½-inch slices. Heat a frying pan to a medium-high heat. Add olive and butter (about the same amount) and fry the bread dumplings on both sides until golden brown.

Turkey Leg Confit

1 turkey leg
salt the turkey leg and leave uncovered for at least 12 hours in your fridge.
2 bay leaves
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh sage
5 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
1 kg duck fat or any vegetable oil (you can reuse the fat after cooking)

Preheat your oven to 300ºF.

Season the turkey leg with pepper. No salt needed since it’s been added to cure beforehand. Melt the duck fat in a pot and add all the other ingredients and the turkey leg. Place parchment paper directly over the fat and cover the pot with tin foil. You can also use a casserole dish.
Cook for 3-4 hours or until fork tender.

Allow to cool down for at least 15 minutes and pull the meat when it’s still warm.

Wild Mushroom and Cassis Cream Sauce

100 g wild boar bacon or pancetta, small diced
extra virgin olive oil (needs a lot since mushrooms soak it up)
50 g butter, unsalted
80 g morel or shiitake mushrooms or both, dried or fresh, sliced (if dried, pour boiling water over the mushrooms and soak for a minimum of 15 minutes; keep the soaking liquid)
100 g oyster mushrooms, cleaned and cut in strips
80 g crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 shallots, finely chopped
100 ml crème de cassis
250 g whipping cream
mushroom soaking liquid
lemon juice, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Heat a frying pan to medium high heat. Once heated add 5 tablespoons of olive oil and add the bacon. Sear until caramelized. Then add the shallots and mushrooms (you might need to add more olive oil at this point) and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the mushrooms are caramelized. Add the crème de cassis. Reduce the heat to medium and allow it to cook for about 5 minutes. Add the mushroom soaking liquid and cream and reduce by half. It should be a creamy consistency. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and the parsley right before you serve with the bread dumplings.

Dylan Prins
exec chef, Red Ox Inn

I am thankful for the sense of community among farmers in the Edmonton area. My family are farmers and when our backs are up against the wall, the co-op and other farmers have jumped in to help. We grow potatoes (Yukon golds, Red Norlands, White Warba, Russian Blue) and the bulk of the crop is sold through the Edmonton Potato Growers for the seed market. We had mechanical failures last harvest and we were behind. Another farm sent out their equipment to get the crop out of the ground. Then, this spring with the rain—they sent their planting rig, so we were able to get the planting done in two days. Yes, we eat a lot of potatoes—when they are new, we roast; the rest of the year it’s mashed or baked.

We are on hold at Red Ox, it’s difficult to open there, so we are cooking at Canteen, developing new dishes and bringing back some old favourites.

My great-grandmother Vera McRorie’s Carrot Pie

At Thanksgiving we have my great grandmother’s carrot pie. They didn’t have pumpkin all the time in Saskatchewan, but they always had carrots. The vinegar keeps the gluten from forming long strands, so you are pretty much guaranteed a tender crust.

Never-fail pie crust

5½ c all-purpose flour
1 lb lard
2 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 egg
¾ c cold water
1 t vanilla
1 t vinegar

Sift dry ingredients. Cut in lard. Beat together egg, water, vanilla, and vinegar. Incorporate wet to dry until flour is just hydrated. Divide into 5 and wrap in cling film, let sit in fridge overnight.

Carrot pie filling

1 c boiled and mashed carrots
2 eggs
2/3 c brown sugar
½ t cinnamon
½ t ginger powder
1 c cereal cream (half and half, 10 per cent bf.)

If the mashed carrots are a little wet spread them on a tray and dry them in the oven a little bit. Roll 1 ball of dough and line a 9-inch pie pan. Beat together carrots, egg, sugar, and spices. Whisk in cream. Pour filling into the pie crust and bake at 325ºF for about 45 minutes until done.

Makes 1 pie. The other doughballs can be frozen.

Carla Alexander
chef de partie, RGE RD

I’m really thankful for my health and the health of my family and for the street that I live on. When we had to shut down, my husband started a group chat. Now there are messages like ‘I’m going to the store, does anybody’s child need chalk or bubbles?’ Or, ‘I have an extra pizza, anybody want it?’ We had all lost our childcare and removed ourselves from our jobs, and we have kids, so it was like we were banned from public places. We needed that support for mental health and juvenile anxiety. It’s awesome communal living down my street, with the kids playing together, having scavenger hunts outside. When I see other kid’s bikes on my lawn I feel as though we belong. Right now, in today’s world and with the global racial movement, I’m happy for my family and the neighbourhood. I am back to work at RGE RD and loving it.

My mother was introduced to tourtière through her best friend’s mother who lived in the Laurentians in Quebec. Okay, now, normally and traditionally, this tourtière would be made and served as a Christmas dish, but my mother and I have it on Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas as part of our ever-changing family occasion menu. Enjoy your French-Canadian savoury pie of love. And let’s be thankful for the people we love that will share it with us. This tourtière definitely tastes better when shared.


2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
½ t kosher salt
2/3 c butter or lard
6-7 T cold water (make sure butter or lard is very cold)
2 eggs (optional).

Mix in mixer until dough comes together. Do not over mix, it’s okay if you can still see small pieces of butter or lard. Place in dough in the fridge for 1-2 hours.


1 lb ground pork (beef if pork is not a desired option or half beef half pork)
2 c water
¼ c oatmeal
1 med onion, diced small
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ t dry thyme
¼ t dry oregano
¼ t ground allspice
¼ t ground cloves
¾ t sea salt or season to taste
1-2 red or golden potatoes

Sauté ingredients in large pan. Boil the potatoes until soft. Rice or mash and fold potato in with the meat mixture in your pan. Let mixture cool before placing in pie shell. Once the mixture is cool, place in pie shell and brush sides with egg wash. Add dough top. Use a fork to connect edges. Brush whole tourtière pie with egg yolk.

Bake at 400ºF until golden brown (about 45 minutes to an hour).

Allow tourtière to rest so the inside can set.

Makes 1 pie.

Rob Filipchuk
owner, The Glass Monkey

I feel thankful for my dedicated staff, and our clients who have supported us through all of this and thankful I have been able to provide stability and positivity to staff and customers. That’s the vibe that has kept me going. The business is a place of stability and consistency to our small group of nine people. Everyone has uncertainty in their lives and families to support —I’m thankful I have been able to go into work and be surrounded by like-minded people and thankful they can come to work. The biggest positive factor that keeps me jumping out of bed in the morning is making our work place a safe zone and a place of comfort.

“This is my mom, Baba Anne Filipchuk’s, recipe for nachynka, handed down from her mom.” –Rob Filipchuk, The Glass Monkey

1 lg onion, chopped
½ c butter
1 c cornmeal
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1½ t pepper
3½ c milk
½ c light cream (optional)
2 eggs, well-beaten

Fry onion in butter until tender. Add the cornmeal along with the salt, sugar and pepper. Mix cornmeal thoroughly with butter and onion. Gradually add milk and mix until no lumps remain. Cook until thickened. Remove from stove, blend in cream. Beat the eggs and fold into cornmeal mix. Spoon into buttered casserole. Bake uncovered at 360ºF for one hour or until golden.

Oscar Lopez, Pampa
When we closed down in March, it was as if you were going 120k down the highway, and then. You stopped. All of a sudden you are bowled over, you are stuck and you don’t know what happened. For the first couple of weeks I was lost—just kind of sat at home. That forced me to reflect where am I personally and professionally and to rejig priorities. We used to prepare for the year, then execute the plan. That’s all been shelved. Now we think maybe a week ahead? Who knows? Now, I am thankful for the time to slow down, stop and think, reevaluate life in general, for my family, my wife, myself, and Pampa. It’s time to reflect.

Salvadorean-style Thanksgiving Turkey
Family recipe by Miss Zaira Bolanos.

1 lg fresh turkey (8 kg)
1 c white vinegar
½ c fresh lime juice
2 med yellow onions
2 med green peppers
6 lg garlic cloves
6 chicken bouillon cubes
½ c dry red wine
3 med cans diced tomato
1 med can crushed tomato
6 T relajo (black peppercorns, cloves, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, roasted peanuts, bay leaves, dry oregano, dry thyme, and achiote powder)*
1 dry chile guajillo, chopped
1 dry chile ancho pasilla, seeded and chopped

Wash turkey in the vinegar and then the lime juice and rinse with water.

In food processor, add 1 onion, 1 green pepper, 3 garlic cloves and 3 chicken bouillon cubes to make a paste. Mix with red wine.

Place turkey in a large deep baking pan. Poke turkey and rub paste over the skin and stuff some of the paste inside the turkey. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 375º F.

In a frying pan, mix 7 tablespoons of water, 1 medium chopped onion, 1 chopped green pepper, 3 diced garlic cloves, the chopped chile guajillo and the chile pasilla and cover over low heat and stir occasionally. When the water has evaporated and the chile guajillo and chile pasilla are soft, then it is ready.

In a food processor, blend all the canned tomato, the sautéed chile and vegetables, 3 chicken bouillon cubes and the relajo. Place the turkey breast down and fully cover it with the salsa (the paste used on the turkey overnight stays on, do not remove.) and cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Flip to the rest of three sides, each time adding more salsa to ensure it is covered. Each side must be cooked for 1 hour.

*Relajo can be purchased ready to use at Latin supermarkets