‘Give Up On Hot Food.’ Thanksgiving Tips And A Recipe From Denver Chef Frank Bonanno

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Photo: Denver chef Frank Bonanno_portrait
Frank Bonanno at his Denver restaurant French 75 on Nov. 14, 2017.

For celebrated Denver chef Frank Bonanno, Thanksgiving is a time to gather his family and all of his employees for a meal. He closes his 10 restaurants for Thanksgiving and says he has no intentions of every changing that.

Any employee "who doesn't have family in town or can't travel, we've always invited them," Bonanno says. "One year, we had a 23-person Uno game going on.'"

With such a large yearly gathering, Bonanno has learned a thing or two about hosting a Thanksgiving meal. He shared some advice with Colorado Matters, including not putting so much pressure on yourself when hosting a lot of people. Bonanno also discussed his next project, a large food hall near downtown called Milk Market.

Interview Highlights:

On preparing a Thanksgiving feast for a large party:

"Do as much as you can in advance, like stuffing can be done the day before and just thrown in the oven to reheat it. You have to give up on having food hot. You just have to concede on having hot food. If you can get it to the table warm, you're way ahead of the curve ... I try to keep my mashed potatoes hot and the gravy. [Gravy] is the easiest one to keep hot. So that's my secret, having really hot gravy."

Photo: Frank Bonanno_French 75_goat cheese creamed spinach
Bonanno's goat cheese creamed spinach.

On making a turkey:

"You need to let it rest for about an hour [after you take it out of the oven]. Otherwise it gets really dry when you start cutting it."

Bonanno shares an "easy" Thanksgiving recipe:

Bonanno also enjoys teaching others what he's learned in the kitchen. He says his French 75 dish goat cheese creamed spinach makes a great Thanksgiving appetizer because "it's easy to make."

You can watch a Facebook Live video below of Bonanno and CPR's Ryan Warner prepare the dish. The full recipe is below.

Goat Cheese Creamed Spinach
2 lbs spinach 
1 shallots, minced
1/4 lb butter
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups cream
1 cup chevre
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Melt butter in medium saucepan over high heat.
2. Mince shallots and add them to the saucepan. Sweat until shallots are fragrant and translucent.
3. Deglaze with white wine and let simmer until reduced by 1/4
4. Add cream and bring to a boil.
5. Remove the pan from heat and transfer  contents to a blender
6. Add 1 1/2 cups of goat cheese to hot liquid in blender.
7. With the top on the blender, pulse the power on and off 5 to 10 times to.
8. After pulsing the blender, turn the blender on to high to puree shallots and emulsify the cheese. set cheese mixture aside 
1. Bring 1 gallon of salted water to a boil.
2. Once water is boiling, add spinach and cook for 1 minute. Strain the spinach and transfer to medium sauce pan.
3. Add the goat cheese mixture to the spinach 
4. Add salt and pepper to taste and Cook until hot. 
5. Transfer and serve in casserole dish 

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