7 festive family recipes from top Seattle chefs to help make the 2020 holidays bright

NO ONE’S GETTING what we all want this holiday season — just the bustle of yesteryear, too much to do while time goes too fast, the sparkle-lit parties, the shrugging out of winter coats in crowded restaurants, the hugs. It hurts, what we can’t have this year.

But in light of unspeakably bigger losses, maybe a more profound gratitude might be found for what we’ve still got: good health (knock very hard on wood); the love of family, whether up close or from afar; warm beds; good food, and plenty of it.

Sharing that food looks different, yes — the smallest gatherings, the missing parts. But the soup still simmers, the heat whooshes when the oven’s pulled open, the rooms fill with promising smells. Then there are the tastes.

With these seven recipes, a group of Seattle’s shining-star chefs invites you home to try their family-favorite, most festive dishes — from Melissa Miranda’s grandma’s roast beef, made with cream of mushroom soup, to Trey Lamont’s prawns with mango salsa, ready to take your New Year’s Eve to the Caribbean. Some are perfect projects for dark afternoons, like a dumpling-making party held via Zoom; some extend the turkey happiness with a thrown-together tamale pie or a big pot of orzo soup. Yes, please, all of it — merry and bright and more precious than ever.

Maybe there’ll be snow!

Click below or scroll to read more about each chef and recipe.

Bill Jeong and Chunghoon Jeong’s Holiday Pork Dumplings

Paju’s chef-owners Bill Jeong and Chunghoon Jeong — no relation; they met working at Michelin-starred Jungsik in New York. (Courtesy Paju)
Paju’s chef-owners Bill Jeong and Chunghoon Jeong — no relation; they met working at Michelin-starred Jungsik in New York. (Courtesy Paju)

These two chefs — no relation; they met working at Michelin-starred Jungsik in New York — make big modern Korean flavors in their small, shoebox-shaped place Paju in Lower Queen Anne, earning myriad fans in just a year in business so far.

“Usually during the holiday season, on Thanksgiving Day, our family and friends will gather around the table and make a lot of pork dumplings and fresh hand-cut noodles. The tradition commemorates the end of the harvest season — the feast is to acknowledge, with gratitude, the harvest we just had and to collectively hope for a fruitful season next year. This year will be much smaller than our typical gathering — it will just be our family. We’ll try to honor the tradition, though, by making extra dumplings, which we will distribute to our friends and other loved ones. Our biggest wish for this year is that everyone stays healthy. There’s going to be a monumental rebuilding effort on the other side of this pandemic, and we’ll all need each other to get through it.” — Bill Jeong

Makes about 30 dumplings

100g (about ½ cup) onion, minced
100g (about ½ cup) scallion, minced
100g (about ½ cup) firm tofu, crumbled with your hand (any size will be fine)
225 g (about 1 cup) sesame oil
50g (about 3 tablespoons) garlic, minced
25g (about 1½ tablespoons) ginger, minced
500g (about 2 cups) ground pork
Store-bought wonton wrappers*
Soy sauce
Rice wine vinegar
Red pepper flakes

1. Put onion, scallion and tofu in a pan with sesame oil over low heat — we are basically making a scallion oil here — and cook them until the tofu is a little brown. Add garlic and ginger, then cook for another minute or two. Let cool, and fold into ground pork. 

2. Drop about 2 tablespoons of filling onto the middle of a wonton wrapper, fold in half and press edges together; then bring the corners together and press them into each other, creating a rosebud shape like a tortellini (these dumplings and tortellini are like identical twins from different countries). Repeat until filling or wrappers are gone.

3. Steam dumplings for about 5 minutes, or throw them in boiling beef broth for about 3 minutes.

4. Serve with dipping soy sauce: 2 parts soy sauce to 1 part rice wine vinegar, plus a dash of sesame oil and a sprinkle of dried pepper flakes.

*We always use Twin Marquis Wonton Wrapper (Extra Thin), but their regular ones are fine, too, or another brand. Any supermarket will have some — try Uwajimaya, Viet-Wah or 99 Ranch for Twin Marquis.

Melissa Miranda’s Lola’s Roast Beef

At Musang on Beacon Hill — new this year, already beloved chef Melissa Miranda operates with the stated mission “of bringing folks together in the spirit of community, with Filipinx-inspired food and experience as the mainstay.” Meanwhile, her Musang Community Kitchen helps those facing food insecurity during COVID-19.

“’Lola’ in Tagalog means grandmother. My Lola is one of my inspirations — she would always cook for us and take care of us when we were younger. She would always have freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, lasagna and our favorite: her roast beef. She always made this for us for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is my best re-creation of her dish, and whenever I’m feeling sad or super-nostalgic, I’ll make it.” — Melissa Miranda 

Serves 4-6

3-5 pound beef chuck roast 
Johnny’s Seasoning Salt
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
½ quart beef stock
2 10.5-ounce cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
5 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and cut into large dice
10 button mushrooms, cut in half

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Generously season the chuck roast with Johnny’s Seasoning Salt.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven on medium-high heat, and place the seasoned chuck roast in it, cooking for a few minutes and turning until all sides are nice and browned. Remove the roast to a plate.

4. Deglaze the pot with the beef stock, and add the 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup. Place the roast back into the pot, and make sure there’s enough liquid to cover it. Cover the pot, and place in the oven for 2 hours.

5. Add the celery, carrots, potatoes and mushrooms on top of the meat in the pot, and cover. Cook again for 1-1½ hours. If the veggies are not fully cooked, add 10 more minutes. 

6. Enjoy with a plate of steamed rice, ’cause that’s how Lola would want you to eat it.

Trey Lamont’s Caribbean Prawns with Cilantro Rice and Mango Salsa

At Jerk Shack in Belltown, chef Trey Lamont makes superlative tributes to “classic Caribbean food thoughtfully cooked with care and modern technique,” as the website puts it. Meanwhile, his Jerk Shack Land Fund seeks to create “entrepreneurship, community and social economic stability in the neighborhoods that don’t benefit from the current system,” bringing more opportunity to South Seattle and beyond.

“I made this recipe for a date when I was about 19 years old — I didn’t have any money, so it was cheaper to make food than to take my date out … We went to Safeway in the U-District, and we just walked around, and I grabbed a few things and put it together. It’s been a staple ever since. I’ve done it for Thanksgiving and holidays — you don’t have to just have turkey and ham and stuff like that. It’d be an awesome New Year’s Eve date meal — if you’re hungry, you can just keep digging in, and you can eat it cold for lunch the next day without the rice as a salad.” — Trey Lamont

Serves 3-4

For the mango salsa:
2 large mangos, cubed
½ white onion, minced
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
⅓ cup white vinegar
1 oz. lime juice (from the zested lime)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ jalapeño, minced
About 2 tablespoons sugar

Place mango in a bowl, then add onion, cilantro, white vinegar, lime juice, garlic, jalapeño and sugar (to taste). Combine, and let chill in fridge.

For the cilantro rice:
1 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed
½ bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 oz. lime juice (from the zested lime)
1 teaspoon salt

1. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a soft boil; add washed rice, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed and rice is tender, 15-20 minutes. 

2. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine cilantro, garlic, olive oil, lime juice and salt. 

3. Once rice is finished, combine with cilantro mixture and fluff thoroughly with a fork. 

For the prawns: 
2 lbs. tiger prawns (shelled and deveined)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup flour
1 oz. olive oil
1 oz. unsalted butter
1 oz. ginger root, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, zested
1 lime, zested

1. In a large bowl, season prawns with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Mix with hands to make sure that prawns are evenly coated.

2. In a medium bowl, lightly coat prawns with flour on each side.

3. In a large saucepan, add olive oil and butter; heat to medium-high. Once it starts to foam, add ginger, garlic, lemon and lime zest, then lay shrimp down flat all facing one direction. Turn after 3 minutes on each side or until done.

To serve: Scoop rice onto the middle of the plate, then spoon salsa on the left side of the rice, and add prawns to the right side of the rice in a row of 4 to 5. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Sun Hong’s Turkey Tamale Pie

Sun Hong, chef/owner of By Tae in Chophouse Row, back when a spot at his tiny counter was still a lovely possibility.  (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times, 2019)
Sun Hong, chef/owner of By Tae in Chophouse Row, back when a spot at his tiny counter was still a lovely possibility. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times, 2019)

By Tae, hidden in Capitol Hill’s Chophouse Row in a back hallway, is chef Sun Hong’s tiny spot for sushi and all manner of beautiful culinary beyond. In better days, it functions as his stage, an impromptu classroom, a temple and a party. During the coronavirus, it’s takeout only.

“Turkey Tamale Pie is a dish that is really neither tamales nor a pie, but it packs all the classic Thanksgiving feeling into a satisfying casserole. It’s easy to put together with just all the usual canned and boxed ingredients from a Thanksgiving grocery list. My picky brother demands 3-to-2 tamale-filling-to-cornbread ratio for the right texture. The comfort factor for us is in its comical rejection of ‘authenticity’ — an American holiday dish, enjoyed by my makeshift family of second-generation Koreans.” — Sun Hong

Serves as many as it serves.

Directions: Cook intuitively. Eyeball it. Season to taste. Make it your own. It’s supposed to be fun.

For the tamale filling:
Turkey: leftover or ground (or, if you want, tofu)
Chopped garlic/onion/green chilies
Creamed corn or frozen corn
Enchilada sauce
Shredded cheese
Oregano/cumin/chili powder

For the cornbread crust: 
Boxed cornbread — follow recipe on box.

Garnishes, usual suspects:
Cilantro and onions
Sour cream
Hot sauce/salsa

Always have rice ready. Just because.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

2. Mix filling together. Season to taste.

3. Oil up a casserole dish or pie tin. Place filling in it, then spread cornbread mix over it in a 3:2 tamale-filling-to-cornbread ratio. You can adorn it with black olives, etc.

4. You’ll know it’s done when it looks and smells and sounds and feels like it.

Kristi Brown’s Roasted Salmon Croquettes with Tangy Capered Remoulade

Chef Kristi Brown of That Brown Girl Cooks! and Communion holds up a salmon that was gifted from a friend who’s a fisherwoman. 
Brown shares a roasted salmon croquettes recipe with tangy remoulade. “My mom… used canned salmon, but since we’re in the Great Northwest and it’s salmon season — issa upgrade!” says Brown.  (Amanda Snyder / The Seattle Times)
Chef Kristi Brown of That Brown Girl Cooks! and Communion holds up a salmon that was gifted from a friend who’s a fisherwoman.
Brown shares a roasted salmon croquettes recipe with tangy remoulade. “My mom… used canned salmon, but since we’re in the Great Northwest and it’s salmon season — issa upgrade!” says Brown. (Amanda Snyder / The Seattle Times)

Kristi Brown is the chef/hero behind That Brown Girl Cooks!, bringing “food magic to the tables of the Pacific Northwest through catering, original events, a line of fresh specialty food products and a wealth of personality,” as her website says. By the time you read this, she expects her new Central District restaurant, Communion, to be open for more “love … always served fresh.”

“My mom was good at making up her own recipes, not a cookbook girl at all! She used canned salmon, but since we’re in the Great Northwest and it’s salmon season — issa upgrade! This is definitely a breakfast meal — something you could only do when you have time, so that definitely means when you make it, you care. Hand-crafting croquettes makes a meal that brings the family to the table! Typically, we’d serve this with fried potatoes, or grits and eggs, as you like, and toast. Brunch was for special occasions, so we ate like royalty!” — Kristi Brown

Makes 6-7 dinner-size or 16-18 appetizer-size croquettes

For the Tangy Capered Remoulade:
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons horseradish sauce
2 tablespoons capers
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ cup scallion, finely chopped
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons hot sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Add together all ingredients in food processor or blender. Blend, cover and chill for one hour.

For the Roasted Salmon Croquettes:
2 pounds salmon fillets, skin on 
1 tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning mix, no salt
About 1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
½ cup red onion, small diced
½ cup bell pepper, multicolored, small diced
¼ cup parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or pomace olive oil
1 cup breadcrumbs (use anything available — panko, old toasted bread ends …)
1 large egg

1. Season the raw salmon with the Montreal Steak Seasoning, and place under broiler until just cooked through. Allow to cool down.

2. Turn on oven to 350 degrees F.

3. In a bowl, add 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning mix to the flour, combine and set to the side.

4. In yet another bowl, crumble the cooled salmon (with your hands — it transfers the love to your food), then gently mix in the other tablespoon of Cajun seasoning mix and all of the other remaining ingredients. Before you add the raw egg, taste to make sure the seasonings are balanced. Add more breadcrumbs if mixture is not holding together.

5. Form salmon cakes into your desirable size (you can do minis or as large as a hamburger patty), dredge cakes with seasoned flour and place on an oiled baking sheet.

6. Place in the oven. About 10 minutes into the roasting process, when salmon cakes are golden brown, turn them over. Give another 8-10 minutes so they are cooked all the way through. Remove from the sheet, and transfer to paper towels to drain.

7. Place on a platter, top with a dollop of rémoulade and serve hot or room temperature! Enjoy!

Paolo Campbell’s Dad’s Turkey Orzo Soup

Paolo Campbell, of Opus Co., studied with the masters of Revel and Trove. He offers up a recipe for his father’s Thanksgiving-leftover orzo soup. (Stacy Jacobsen)
Paolo Campbell, of Opus Co., studied with the masters of Revel and Trove. He offers up a recipe for his father’s Thanksgiving-leftover orzo soup. (Stacy Jacobsen)

Chef Paolo Campbell absorbed greatness from Seattle’s Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, cooking at Revel and Trove, before taking on the wood-fired-only challenge at tiny but mighty Opus Co. in Phinney Ridge — now, in its also acclaimed takeout incarnation, known as Opus Go!

“Here’s my dad’s Thanksgiving-leftover orzo soup, which is my grandma’s orzo soup, which I guess is now my orzo soup, because this is just off the top of the memory-dome with some extras and probably not anything like the original. But my dad made it every year — literally just tossing the roasted turkey carcass in a pot with orzo and some leftover vegetables and more tomatoes and onions and cooking it so that the unpicked meat falls off and doesn’t go to waste — and it was pretty tight. Funniest part is that it used up the rest of the leftover bits but in turn made more leftovers because it was always a big batch, and there were only three of us.” — Paolo Campbell

Serves more than 3

1 leftover turkey carcass
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups yellow onion, diced
¼ cup olive oil
1½ cups carrots, diced
1½ cups celery, diced
1 cup tomato, diced
2-3 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
1 gallon of water
2 cups orzo
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Break down leftover carcass into pieces that’ll fit in a large pot.

2. In the large pot, sweat garlic and onion in oil for 5-7 minutes — low and slow to soften the veggies and season the oil — then add carrot and celery, and sweat for another 5-7 minutes. Then add tomato and thyme and cook until tomatoes have broken down. 

3. Add turkey bones, bay leaves and water; bring to a boil; and then turn down to simmer for 30-45 minutes — if you have patience, an hour. 

4. Add orzo, and cook for 20 minutes or until the orzo is to your liking. 

5. Pull out the bones, scrape off the leftover meaty bits and put them back into the soup. 

6. Season with salt and pepper. From here, it’s good to go — or you can get wild and toss in whatever leftover veggies or meats to add more flair.

Tom Siegel’s Teiglach

The chef-collaborative trio Joe Heffernan, Tora B. Hennessey and Tom Siegel runs both Capitol Hill’s Dacha Diner, making Eastern European and Jewish cuisine so good it might make you cry, and Madison Park’s The Independent Pizzeria, making some of the city’s very best pie.

“Before opening Dacha, I tried digging up lesser-known Eastern European/Jewish dishes I had not heard of. My mom, Vicky Siegel, effusively spoke of a treat that her grandmother made by boiling small dough balls in a dark, very gingery syrup. Typically, this is presented at Rosh Hashana, but they can be eaten anytime. My mom’s-mom’s-mother is Litvak — Lithuanian Jew — which is arguably where teiglach originated. I’ve read that the Romans did, however, produce a fried bread cooked in honey. This has become a sticky, gingery, honeyed staff favorite at Dacha and will most likely show up on the menu as a special in the future. We hope it makes your holidays sweeter.” — Tom Siegel

For the dough:
4 eggs
5 tablespoons oil 
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 cups unbleached flour (or more)

For the syrup:
1½ cups honey
2 cups brown sugar 
1 tablespoon ground ginger
½ cup water
1 lemon, sliced
Almonds, roasted

1. For the dough, gently beat eggs, oil, sugar, baking powder and ginger together. Add 2 cups of the flour and incorporate, then add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Form dough by gently kneading into a ball. Wrap ball in plastic, and let sit at room temperature for a few hours.

2. For the syrup, simmer honey, brown sugar and ginger in a large pot for 15 minutes.

3. Cut dough into four pieces. Roll out each piece into a long rope ¾-inch in diameter. Cut rope into ¾-inch pieces, and gently roll them into balls. They do not have to look like spheres!

4. Add water and lemon slices to syrup, and cook for 5 minutes.

5. Drop the balls into the boiling syrup — I recommend cooking balls in two batches, so they don’t overcrowd the pot and can boil evenly — and cook covered for 7-10 minutes. Make sure heat is not too high. The balls should have increased in size; boil for a few more minutes uncovered if they have not browned enough.

6. Optional — and not traditional, but I like the texture: Add whole roasted almonds or other roasted nuts to the pot after the teiglach are done cooking, so the nuts cling to them in the syrup.

7. Turn out caramelized balls onto a plate or parchment. After they cool off, you can form them into clusters to serve.

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