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Foodie Corner

3 Broward County Chefs Share Their Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes And Traditions

Thanksgiving is one of America’s favorite times of the year. It involves family, friends, great food and traditions passed down from generation to generation.

We were curious to see how local chefs in the Fort Lauderdale area like to celebrate the holiday, and asked them to give us their favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Keep reading to find out how to cook a turkey like Paula DaSilva, Geoffrey Zakarian’s favorite tradition and why Angelo Elia eats pistachio tiramisu on Thanksgiving.

Main Course: Turkey Roulade With Deep-Fried Legs And Thyme Sauce

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Courtesy of Paula DaSilva, Burlock Coast

“My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is pretty simple: Thanking and cheering to all my friends and family who are around the table. In addition, celebrating others who are no longer here with us. Every time we pop a bottle we raise our glasses and cheers,” says DaSilva.

Turkey Legs
Photo courtesy of Burlock Coast

10-pound turkey, de-boned (use the breast for stuffing)

3 tablespoons butter

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 yellow onions, finely chopped 

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

4 ribs of celery

2 apples, peeled and sliced

1 pound wild mushrooms, chopped

1/2 pound apple wood-smoked bacon, cut in batons

2 cups chicken stock

4 cups old bread, crusts removed and chopped

2 eggs

1/4 cup chives, finely chopped

1 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped

3 carrots, roughly chopped

3 onions, roughly chopped

4 celery ribs, roughly chopped

1 bunch thyme

1 bulb garlic, halved

Turkey Legs

Place the turkey legs in a brine mixture of 2 tablespoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of garlic for each cup of water needed to cover the legs.  Marinate the legs for 24 hours, then remove and pat them dry with a cloth. Fry them in a deep fryer with canola oil at 350 F until completely cooked through.


Sauté the bacon in a large skillet pan until it is halfway to crisp. Drain some of the fat from the pan and sauté the onions, apple, mushrooms, celery, garlic and shallots in the butter.  Add in 2 cups of chicken stock and simmer until reduced by half. Take off the heat and let the mixture cool. In a bowl, mix with the bread, eggs and the herbs. Combine the cooled mushroom mixture with bread mixture and season with salt and pepper. Lay the turkey breast on a work surface and pound to flatten, and then place the stuffing in the center of the breast. Roll the turkey into a roulade and tie it with kitchen string. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the turkey on a bed of the carrots, onions, celery, thyme and garlic. Add 3 cups of water to the pan and roast the bird at 350 F for 45 minutes.

Thyme Sauce

Remove the turkey roulade when done and let it rest in a warm area.  Add 6 cups rich chicken stock to the vegetables in the pan. Bring the sauce to a boil while skimming off any fat on the surface.  Reduce the mixture by half.  Press the sauce through a strainer, while mashing the vegetables to push some of them through. Put the sauce in a blender and carefully puree on high while adding 2 tablespoons cold butter. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Side Dish: Sweet Potato Puree With Roasted Orange And Bananas

Courtesy of Geoffrey Zakarian, Point Royal

“My favorite side is always this sweet potato dish. I can’t wait for Thanksgiving because it’s such a favorite for my entire family. My family always loves to invite someone who can’t be with their own family to our Thanksgiving dinner,” says Zakarian.

Sweet Potato Puree With Roasted Orange And Bananas
Photo courtesy of Point Royal

2 to 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thick

1 orange, quartered

1 fresh vanilla bean

1 banana, peeled and sliced

2 all-spice berries

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

1/3 pound sweet butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/8 cup pure maple syrup

Cook the sweet potatoes in slated boiling water until very soft. Drain all excess water and keep in a warm place. While the potatoes are cooking, sweat in a little butter in a small saucepot over medium heat, and add all spice berries, star anise and vanilla bean. Cook for about five minutes. Add in the quartered orange and banana slices, increase heat and brown slightly the orange and banana, then add in the maple syrup. Bring to simmer, remove from heat. Let stand at least for 30 minutes to infuse flavors. Place the cooked sweet potatoes in a food processor, puree on high and slowly add in the heavy cream, the remaining butter and the strained maple syrup. To finish, squeeze the juice of the cooked orange into the puree and sautéed bananas. Season to taste and serve warm.

Dessert: Tiramisu Al Pistachio

Courtesy of Angelo Elia, Casa D’Angelo, Angelo Elia Pizza Bar Tapas and Angelo Elia Bakery

“Since I was a small child, I always loved the USA. I loved everything about it, including watching football, having the passion for American muscle cars and definitely following all American holidays—especially Thanksgiving,” says Elia. “For dessert, my family has always enjoyed my tiramisu. Over time, and with more culinary influence, I have always added a special touch or tweaked my recipe. It has since evolved into a pistachio tiramisu, which has become a Thanksgiving tradition in my South Florida home.”

Tiramisu Al Pistachio
Photo courtesy of Angelo Elia

8.8 pounds mascarpone

1/2 pounds pistachio paste

2 pounds egg whites

1/2 pound sugar

1 pound egg yolks

1.3 pounds sugar sponge

Caffe espresso

Whip the egg yolks with the sugar sponge. Whip the egg whites with the sugar. Mix the mascarpone together with the pistachio paste. Put the whipped egg yolks inside the mascarpone/pistachio in two separate stages and mix a little bit. Add the whipped egg whites in two separate stages and mix very slowly. Put the first layer of tiramisu al pistachio in a bowl. Add a layer of sponge cake soaked with espresso coffee. Add a second layer of tiramisu al pistachio. Decorate with pistachio nuts and shredded dark chocolate.

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