When a chef as successful as Executive Chef Scott Thomas Dolbee says that a dish is the best you will ever have, you better believe it. Dolbee’s impressive track record led him to become Executive Chef of L’Auberge Del Mar’s Kitchen 1540 earlier this year.
Before the move, he was executive chef at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler since 2008, where he was instrumental in helping it earn Canada’s only Five Diamond distinction. The Los Angeles native began his career at the age of 18 as a chef tournant for the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Laguna Beach. Since then, he has cooked in prestigious kitchens around the country including in Los Angeles, Orange County, Hawaii and New York.
Sharing some of his culinary wisdom this Thanksgiving, Dolbee gives a few simple tips to help make your holiday dinner a success. He says the key to any successful meal is to plan in advance. Writing out your menu and prepping parts of the dinner ahead of time will help your cooking run smoothly and give you more time to enjoy with your friends and family.
His secret to creating great holiday meals is to start with the freshest quality ingredients and to buy local products, saying you can always taste the difference in quality.
This Thanksgiving, Dolbee shares recipes for two of his favorite dishes. “I always looked forward to pecan pie for Thanksgiving so I am always re-inventing and exploring new possibilities,” said Dolbee. “My all time favorite is this cornbread stuffing. It is the best stuffing you will ever have.”
Pecan Pie with Maple Bourbon Ice Cream and Candied Bacon
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup cold, unsalted butter, cubed
- ½ cup ice water
- 5 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cups packed light brown sugar
- 6 tbsp. melted, unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. bourbon
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 2/3 cup chopped pecans
Method: Begin to make the piecrust by combining flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine ingredients. Next, add butter and pulse until mixture is coarse and crumbly. With the food processor running, add water and mix just until dough holds together. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for 1 hour. Grease and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Roll dough to approximately 4 mm and line bottom and sides of pan, dock and chill again. Line chilled pie shell with parchment and fill with pie weights. Bake at 375 F for approximately 20 minutes, until edges turn golden brown. Remove pie weights and cool completely. If the shell has any cracks fill them with a bit of leftover dough.
For the filling, whisk together eggs, sugar, butter, corn syrup, maple syrup, bourbon, vanilla and salt. Stir in chopped pecans and pour into chilled pie shell. Bake at 350 F until set, approximately 40 minutes.
Maple Bourbon Ice Cream
- ½ cup sugar
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup water
- 7 tbsp. heavy cream
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- Pinch sea salt
- Desired amount of thick bacon slices for topping
Ice cream base:
- 750 mL Creamo (10%)
- 190 g light brown sugar
- 190 g egg yolk
- 10 mL molasses
- ½ vanilla bean
- 60 mL Makers Mark Bourbon
Method: Cook water, sugar and syrup until golden. Add cream and bring back to boil. Remove from heat, then stir in vanilla and salt and let it cool.
For the ice cream, first heat Creamo to just below boiling. Whisk together yolks, sugar and molasses and temper in creamo. Cook mixture like anglaise to 84 C, cool in ice bath. Once mixture is cool, stir in bourbon. To finish, spin ice cream in machine, alternate layers of ice cream and caramel swirl into container and freeze until set.
Cut thick slices of good, smoked bacon into 1 cm pieces. Fry until crisp and drain on paper towel. In a clean pan cook a few tablespoons of sugar to caramel, stir in bacon bits to coat. Transfer parchment lined baking sheet, separate pieces and let cool.
To serve: Smear caramel sauce on plate and put piece of pie on top. Put quenelle of ice cream on top of pie and garnish with candied bacon. Enjoy!
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup cornmeal
- 1 tbsp. honey
- ½ cup corn flour
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- 1 1/3 cups milk
- 5 tbsp. unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 egg (beaten)
- ¼ cup small diced yellow onions
- ¼ cup carrots (small dice)
- ¼ cup celery (small dice)
- 1 ½ large cubed brioche bread
- 1 cup cooked dark turkey meat (thigh, drums)
- ½ cup cooked white turkey meat (breast)
- 1 ¾ cup chicken demi or turkey drippings
- ½ tsp. ground sage
- Sea salt (to taste)
- Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
- ¼ tsp. dried thyme
Procedure: Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. In a large bowl combine cornbread dry ingredients: sifted all-purpose flour, cornmeal, corn flour, baking powder and sea salt. In another bowl combine wet ingredients: warmed milk, honey, melted butter and beaten egg. Combine the wet ingredients to the dry. Stir constantly to avoid lumps. Allow the cornbread mix to set for 10 minutes at room temp. Pour your corn bread mix into a pre-heated loaf pan or cask iron skillet. Spray whatever pan you chose to bake in with non-stick spray. Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350 F or until nice and golden brown. While your cornbread is baking, take carrots, onions, and celery and sweat them in a tablespoon of butter, then set it to the side and allow it to cool. Once your cornbread is done and cooled, in a large bowl crumble up cornbread. To your cornbread add sweated onions, carrots and celery, turkey meat, chicken demi, seasoning, and brioche. Adjust to taste with salt and pepper. Place stuffing in a baking pan, cover with aluminum foil. Allow to bake for 25 minutes at 350 F. Remove aluminum foil; adjust over temp to 360 F and allow to bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and grab the gravy, because it’s “ON”. “Enjoy.”