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Three North Shore chefs offer inspiring riffs on the classic Thanksgiving lineup. 

With all of the effort that goes into picking and prepping the perfect bird, it’s understandable that whipping up the accompaniments is often brushed off to the, well, side. But side dishes can enhance the star of the day—and sometimes even steal the spotlight. So whether your well of Turkey Day creativity has run dry (corn from a can anyone?) or you’d like to give your tried-and-true recipes the year off, these ideas from local culinary pros will have guests gobbling up everything on their plates.

Meet Enx Dadulas, Executive Chef and Owner of Ohana

Having grown up in Hawaii, Enx Dadulas knows a thing or two about seafood—and it’s what inspires him in the kitchen of his own restaurant, Ohana, in Gloucester. “I love that there’s so much fresh fish here on the North Shore,” he says. Rather than mask those flavors with highfalutin reductions or aiolis, Chef Dadulas complements them with the Asian flavors (think miso, wasabi, and ginger) and preparations he mastered in his home state.

After training under Hawaiian fusion master chef Roy Yamaguchi, Dadulas, 38, moved to Boston to continue his “culinary adventure” at B&G Oysters and Brasserie JO. The Rockport resident opened Ohana in May 2012 and is now proud to call the area home. “My wife grew up here, and I just fell in love with the community,” he says. “Everyone is so supportive and generous.” 151 Main St., Gloucester, 978-283-3200,

Meet Joseph Deisley, Executive Chef and Co-owner of EJ Cabots

Who says the North Shore is only about seafood? Not Chef Joe Deisley, who updates stick-to-your-ribs American classics with Mexican, Italian, French, and Asian flavors at Beverly’s EJ Cabots. “We can get eclectic with our blackboard specials,” says Deisley, who opened Cabots in August 2012. “But in general,” he says, “I believe in simple preparations.”

Although he lives in Salem, Deisley, 55, is bullish about Beverly’s food scene. “It’s the newest dining destination to consider,” he says. “And we feel like we’ve created a culinary vibe like some of the other successful, eclectic restaurants in the area.” That’s not to say, though, that Cabots takes itself too seriously. “We have a relaxed, cozy atmosphere,” Deisley adds. “We want you to feel like family when you come in.” 282 Cabot St., Beverly, 978-969-3792,

Meet Dan Bitler, Executive Chef and Co-owner of Naumkeag Ordinary

Since opening its doors earlier this year, Naumkeag Ordinary (named after the Native American tribe that once inhabited the area) has been the neighborhood spot of note for Witch City’s discerning dining crowd. This, no doubt, has much to do with Chef Dan Bitler’s seasonal comfort food creations that incorporate fresh, local ingredients. “You should know where your food is coming from,” he insists.

Bitler and co-owner Matthew Brady cut their teeth at Coda Kitchen & Bar in Boston’s South End before opening Naumkeag last April. “It’s exciting to be part of a great food scene here,” the 27-year-old says. “It’s really becoming a foodie destination.” 118 Washington St., Salem, 978-744-4968,


Apple Cider-Glazed, Stuffed, and Roasted Kabocha (or Acorn) Squash with Spiced Pears

From Enx Dadulas

  • 3 Kabocha squash (or acorn), halved
  • 9 oz. D’anjou or Bosc spiced pears (about 3 pears), medium diced
  • 10.5 oz. button or portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 12 oz. onions, sliced (about 1 onion)
  • 6 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 6 tbsp. thyme, finely chopped
  • 6 oz. shredded smoked Gruyere cheese, plus 3 oz. more for topping
  • 6 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 1.5 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded
  • 7.5 oz.  1/5 in.-cubed focaccia or ciabatta bread, lightly toasted
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
For Mushroom Mixture
In medium-size saute pan, cook onion in a little oil on medium heat until translucent (about 8 minutes). Turn heat to high, add garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and a little more oil and continue cooking for another 3 minutes, tossing to keep from burning. Add chopped thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper and continue cooking for another minute. Take mixture off the heat and set aside to cool.

For Spiced Pears

  • 9 oz. medium pear, diced
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 5 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped of seeds
  • Zest of 1 lemon
In saute pan, cook pear in butter until lightly browned (about 2 minutes). Add brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, vanilla bean seeds, and lemon zest, then continue cooking until caramelized, about 2-3 minutes. (For a spicier dish, add more cayenne.) Set aside to cool.


For Apple Cider Glaze

  • 2 c. apple cider
  • 1 c. maple syrup
  • 2  c. chicken stock (homemade or store bought—if store bought, use low sodium)
  • 4 whole star anise pods
  • 4 oz. unsalted butter
Place all ingredients in a small pot over high heat and let mixture come to a boil. Turn to medium heat and let it simmer to reduce, until 1/3 of the liquid is left (about an hour). Should yield 1 1/2 cups of glazed apple cider.


For Squash

Preheat convection oven to 350º F. In a bowl, place mushroom mixture, toasted bread, spice pears, Gruyere, mascarpone cheese, and lemon zest and mix thoroughly. Place squash face up on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and  pepper onto each squash and stuff evenly with pear-mushroom mixture. Top with the rest of the smoked Gruyere cheese and Parmigiano Reggiano. Baste with apple cider glaze and bake for 1 hour, basting every 10 minutes until squash are cooked through. Baste with glaze again just before serving.


Sweet Potato Rosti

From Joseph Deisley

  • 4 b. sweet potatoes
  • 1 leek, washed and diced
  • 1 tbsp. butter, plus more for browning pancakes
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chive, finely chopped
  • 2 lb. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
Heat oven to 350º F. Boil potatoes until tender (about 15-20 minutes). Cool and peel, then roughly grate. Saute leek in butter for about 5 minutes. Mix with the rest of the ingredients. Press into approximately 10 pancakes. Melt 1 tbsp. butter over medium high heat and add 1 to 2 pancakes at a time. Brown and flip. Finish pancakes in the oven for 5 minutes.


Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce

From Dan Bitler

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. water
  • 16 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 1 c. apple, chopped
  • 1 c. walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1/4 c. Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 orange, juiced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. fresh nutmeg, grated
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer. Add apples, walnuts, raisins, Grand Marnier, orange and lemon juices, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook for 15 minutes.