Chef Michael’s Thanksgiving Recipes: Traditional Turkey with Bacon, Fennel & Apple Bread Dressing & Cider Gravy

by Windstar Cruises Corporate Executive Chef Michael Sabourin

The holidays are a time to gather, take time out of busy schedules to enjoy the company of family and friends, and give thanks. There is no better place to relax and enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving meal than on board a Windstar yacht. The staff and crew are always welcoming and ready to offer gracious and personalized service. Each meal is prepared with care by the yacht’s Culinary Team using the finest ingredients and keen expertise to create for guests a delicious and memorable holiday meal. When you step aboard one of the Windstar yachts you immediately become family. For those celebrating at home our Corporate Executive Chef Michael Sabourin has shared his Thanksgiving recipe that cruisers will also enjoy. Wishing you a truly Happy Thanksgiving from our crew to  yours!


Chef Michael’s Thanksgiving Turkey



1 whole turkey – rubbed with poultry seasoning (12-13 lbs)

1 oz poultry seasoning, to taste

Bacon, Fennel & Apple Bread Dressing

1.1 lbs mirepoix (mixture of onions, carrots, and celery), diced

1/4 lbs onions, minced

1/2 lbs fennel, julienned

1/2 lbs bacon, chopped

1/4 cup bacon fat

1.65 lbs bread cubes

1/2 cup chicken stock, hot

1 egg, beaten

1 oz parsley, chopped

1/2 lbs frozen apple pieces


Cider Gravy: Traditional Turkey Gravy flavored with the following:

Apple Cider

Apple Cider Vinegar

25 russet potatoes, cut in half, seared on the flat top grill and roasted

one carrot, stick cut

Brussels sprouts


For the cooking process: Season the outside of the turkey with poultry seasoning. Place it on a rack in a roasting pan in the oven using the “cook and hold method”: cook at 250F degrees, probe at 135F degrees and hold at 150F degrees.

To make the stuffing: saute the onion, mirepoix, fennel and bacon in the bacon fat until tender. Combine the bread cubes, chicken stock, and eggs; add to the onion. Add the parsley, sage, and correct the seasoning. Place the stuffing in a butter hotel pan and cover it with parchment paper. Bake the stuffing at 350F/175C for 45 minutes.

From the turkey: Pour off most of the fat from the roasting pan and add to turkey juice.

To make the cider gravy: Follow a typical gravy recipe; however, you will need to deglaze the pan with apple cider instead of wine. The apple cider vinegar is used at the end to season the sauce. You can also reduce the apple cider into a syrup using a little sugar and mixing in a little apple cider vinegar for flavor. Then this can be added to the finished gravy for flavor.

For the roasted red bliss potatoes: Sear them on the flat top with clarified butter, season them and roast them in the oven. Garnish with fried sage.



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