Turkey Talk: 3 Delicious Summer Recipes From Canadian Celeb Chef Chuck Hughes

Chef Chuck Hughes

When it comes to meat, turkey is considered one of the healthier, lower-fat and higher-nutrient proteins. Photo: Courtesy of chef Chuck Hughes

Turkey may be the star of your Thanksgiving feast but it also pairs perfectly with the flavours of summer, including these recipes from Canuck chef and TV personality Chuck Hughes.

Hughes, the youngest Canadian to win on Iron Chef America, has hosted Food Network’s Chuck’s Day Off, Chuck’s Eat the Street and Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip, and is co-owner and executive chef of Montreal hot spot Garde Manger.

Here, we serve up some of his seasonal recipes, including baked barbecue turkey wings with carrot slaw, and turkey meatballs served in a pita topped with yogurt sauce and shredded romaine. But first, Hughes shares some of his culinary secrets with Zoomer.


Chuck Hughes
Celebrity chef Chuck Hughes. Photo: Marc-André Lavoie


Q&A With Chef Chuck Hughes


Insider Tips: Can you share your favourite flavour boosters —and any other secret weapons?

Plan ahead, season properly and don’t cut corners.

Sometimes you don’t need much for big flavour with the right ingredients, like olives, mustard or capers. But once in a while if you can plan ahead, you can really get some good flavour by letting meat sit overnight in a dry rub and cook it slow and low, or even smoke it.

Easy Entertaining: What is your go-to dish for cooking/entertaining without the stress?

I would say that I have different go-tos for each season, and most of them involve my guests.  Fondue in the winter, make your own pizza in the summer or my ultimate party trick, oysters! 

Must-Haves: What items/ingredients do you keep stocked in your pantry/fridge?

Hot sauce! I’m pretty big on hot sauces, not necessarily for the heat, but for the flavour. Any meal or snack can change with a little hot sauce. Also, fresh herbs like basil, chives, chervil and dill are all great to give a dish some freshness and life.

Finding Comfort: What is your go-to comfort food dish?

That’s a hard one. Most comfort food for me is pretty basic. Something like cream of wheat with butter and maple syrup feels like you’re doing something wrong it’s just that good. Other choices: French fries, warm chocolate chip cookies with a big pinch of sea salt … or the ultimate brown butter anything. Simply let your butter slowly cook on medium heat in a pan until the butter caramelizes and turns to golden brown. 

This Q&A. has been edited and condensed.



Baked BBQ Turkey Wings & Carrot Slaw


Chuck Hughes
Photo: Courtesy of chef Chuck Hughes


Serves: 2
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes


Baked BBQ Turkey wings

  • 2 turkey wings
  • 2 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper

Carrot Slaw

  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds


Baked BBQ Turkey Wings

  1. Separate each wing from the joint to make 2 pieces and pat dry.
  2. Combine dry rub ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Add wings and coat evenly.
  4. Place a wire rack on top of a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  5. Place wings on rack and let dry uncovered in fridge ideally overnight or for as long as you can (even 15 minutes will help!).
  6. Bake at 425 F covered with aluminum foil for about 45 minutes.
  7. Uncover, brush with olive oil and broil for 5 more minutes.

Carrot Slaw

  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients and pour over cabbage and carrots.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Sprinkle poppy seeds and mix well again.
  4. Cover and keep in fridge until ready to serve.

Nutri Table:

Calories: 780
Protein: 74 g
Carbs: 24 g
Fat: 42 g
Sodium: 2,094 mg

Turkey Meatballs Served in Pita Topped With Yogurt Sauce and Shredded Romaine


Chuck Hughes
Photo: Courtesy of chef Chuck Hughes


Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 tsp za’atar seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves grated
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 4 Pita breads
  • 2 cups shredded romaine
  • 1 small onion finely sliced

Yogurt Garlic Sauce

  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 grated garlic clove
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp water (or as needed to thin out)



  1. Combine all ingredients, do not overmix.
  2. Form into quenelles or meatballs (about 1 tbsp each).
  3. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes, turning halfway.
  5. Serve in warmed pita and top with shredded romaine lettuce and drizzle with yogurt garlic sauce.
  6. Top with a sprinkle of za’atar, sumac, sea salt and drizzle of olive oil.


Nutri Table:

Calories: 615
Protein: 29 g
Carbs: 42 g
Fat: 37 g
Sodium: 1,421 mg


Stewed Turkey Thighs With Tomatoes, Olives and Garlic 


Photo: Courtesy of chef Chuck Hughes


Serves: 2
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 65 minutes


  • 2 turkey thighs
  • 3 large heirloom tomatoes (quartered)
  • 10 whole green olives
  • 1 small head of garlic (peel and separate cloves)
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp olive oil (to drizzle)



  1. Pat dry turkey thighs with paper towel.
  2. Place in a bowl, lightly drizzle with olive oil and add seasoning.
  3. Place seasoned thighs in roasting pan.
  4. Add tomatoes, olives, garlic cloves and add water.
  5. Cover and bake at 375 F for 60 minutes, then remove cover and broil for 5.
  6. Garnish with flat leaf parsley and serve with crusty country bread.


Nutri Table:

Calories: 493
Protein: 65 g
Carbs: 19 g
Fat: 19 g
Sodium: 1,638 mg 

A version of this story was published on June 9, 2022.


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