This blog post was updated on November 8, 2018.


One of my favorite parts of traveling is tasting local flavors of some of the world’s most renowned chefs. One of our family traditions is to collect recipes as we travel so that when my family returns home, we can incorporate the things we find along our journeys. You may be surprised that chefs are often flattered to give you the recipe.  All you have to do is ask!

On a recent trip to New York, I dined with friends at the Ritz-Carlton, Central Park’s BLT Market.  I was blown away by the special fall menu and thought I would share some of Chef Ed Cotton’s “secret recipes” to add to your Thanksgiving tables.  Bon appétit!

Chestnut-Sausage Stuffing

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound pork sausage, casings removed
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 -1/2 cups country-style bread, crusts removed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons roughly chopped thyme leaves,
2 tablespoons roughly chopped marjoram leaves
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon roughly chopped rosemary leaves
9 ounces roasted chestnuts, peeled and sliced
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup chicken stock


While the turkey is roasting, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the oil and sauté the sausage meat breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes or until cooked through.  In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat until foaming. Add the onions and celery.

Cover and cook until soft, but not browned, about 12 to 15 minutes.  In a large bowl, mix the cooked vegetables, bread cubes, herbs, chestnuts, and eggs. Warm the chicken stock and pour into the stuffing. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to the bowl with the stuffing and mix well. Season to taste.

Transfer stuffing to a buttered 11-x 8-inch ovenproof baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil. Turn on the broiler and slide the dish under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes or until the top is browned.

Here is another must-have recipe to add to your holiday buffet.  This one was given to me by Boston Pastry Chef Sterling Jackson-Brown from The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common.


Delectable Maple Bread Pudding

2 Cups Whole Milk
8 Whole Eggs
2 Cups Heavy Cream
½ Cup Sugar
¾ Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1 Teaspoon Maple Extract
1 Vanilla Bean Split and Scraped
1 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Cinnamon
½ Teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg
6 Cups Torn Stale Croissants or Bread (crust removed from Bread)


Place the stale croissants or bread in desired baking dish, spreading the bread evenly throughout. In a stainless steel pot, bring the milk, cream, vanilla bean, maple extract, cinnamon and nutmeg to a slight simmer. Meanwhile, combine the eggs, sugar, and maple syrup in a bowl and whisk to combine, not incorporating too much air.

When the milk mixture has come to a simmer, gently pour 1/3 of the amount over the eggs while whisking.  When the first addition is completely incorporated, continue to add the hot milk mixture while stirring gently.  Strain this mixture over the croissants or bread and chill overnight, to allow the custard to soak into the bread.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the bread pudding dish in a larger baking dish with one half inch of water in the bottom.  This will create a water bath and allow the bread pudding to bake more evenly throughout.  Bake the bread pudding until the custard is slightly firm in the middle, and no liquid rises to the top when gently pressed down.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature.  Serve the bread pudding when slightly warm or at room temperature.

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