Classic Thanksgiving Recipes with a Twist
The holiday frenzy has begun. With Thanksgiving fast approaching it’s time to start planning what’s on the menu. This year, why not step beyond the Thanksgiving classics into something new?
Take a break from your standard gravy and put a little booze into your bird with our red wine barbecue sauce—great for a glaze your turkey with it, and also tasty to dress up sides. Next, upgrade your sweet potato casserole (and give vegetarians something to be thankful for) with a grain salad featuring butternut squash, cherries, toasted pecans and a pomegranate molasses dressing.
Speaking of casseroles, there’s no doubt green beans are a holiday classic. This green-bean-minus-casserole variation keeps beans crisp with a quick blanch, add the tang of pickled shallots and mellow it all out with a Fontina cheese fondue.
Of course, we haven’t forgotten dessert. Let us show you how to make an easy homemade pie crust, then turn it into a pecan pie spiked with Bourbon and almonds.
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Courtesy D. Brandon Walker, The Mar Vista, Los Angeles
Trade your gravy for this wine lover’s barbecue sauce, which D. Brandon Walker developed for his new restaurant, The Mar Vista. It’s almost like gravy and cranberry sauce in one, and it also makes a great dip for easy next-day meatballs.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup minced shallots
- ½ cup minced garlic
- 2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
- ½ cup Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika or chipotle powder
- 1½ cups red wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup apricot preserves
- ½ cup light agave syrup or light brown sugar
- 1 turkey (any size)
- Kosher salt to taste
Heat oil in large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic. Cook until translucent and sweet, about 8 minutes. Add tomato paste, mustard and paprika. Cook, stirring often, until very thick, about 5 minutes. Add red wine, chicken stock and vinegar, scraping up anything stuck to bottom of pan. Reduce mixture by half, about 15 minutes. Add apricot preserves and agave syrup. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until thick. Add salt, to taste.
Cook turkey by your desired method. During last half-hour, baste with barbecue sauce, cooking uncovered so it develops a rich color. Let turkey rest 20–40 minutes before carving. Serve with barbecue sauce on side. Serves 8–10.
Walker suggests this Beaujolais with both the main dish and leftovers. “The lush fruit and the floral notes of the Morgon help uplift any dryness of the turkey and also bring out the depth of flavor in this wonder sauce,” he says.
Of all the phenomena associated with fall, like twee sweaters or an obsession for all things “pumpkin spice,” there’s one affliction that’s met with shameful silence. It might be some sort of survival mechanism left over from our cave-dwelling days, one that forces us to put on weight for the harsh winter ahead. But the moment the temperature falls a switch seems to flip in our minds telling us to eat everything in sight.
However, rather than eating an entire box of doughnuts next time you’re feeling an insatiable autumn hunger, stay healthy by trying this fresh and filling, fall-inspired butternut and barley salad.
Unlike most produce-based salads, grain salads can be kept for days and many even taste better with time. As the roasted butternut squash, cherries, toasted pecans and nutty barley sit in the pomegranate dressing, the flavors meld into something far greater than the sum of its parts. This dish is light enough that you won’t feel sluggish, yet it’s hearty enough to satiate your cravings.
Another wonderful thing about grain salads: there’s no wrong way to eat them. Warm one up when you’re in the mood to get cozy. Let a bowl sit out at room temperature for intermittent grazing throughout the day. Eat straight from the fridge for a refreshing snack.
Also, don’t be afraid to double or triple this recipe to ensure leftovers. That way you’ll always have some on hand as you prepare to hibernate through the long, cold winter.
- 1 medium butternut squash
- ½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1½ cups pearl barley, rinsed
- 1 cup lightly toasted chopped pecans
- ¾ cup dried cherries
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 5 large sage leaves, cut into thin strips
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 400°F.
Peel and seed squash, then dice into ¾-inch cubes. Add 2 tablespoons each of oil and honey, and toss. Spread onto foil-lined sheet pan, and roast 20 minutes. Gently flip squash with spatula. Roast additional 20 minutes, or until tender and caramelized.
Fill 4-quart saucepan two-thirds with water. Add heavy pinch of salt, cover and bring to boil. Add barley and cook until al dente, about 25 minutes. Drain and rinse well with cold water until it runs clear.
Place barley in large bowl along with toasted pecans, dried cherries, red onion, sage and roasted squash.
In small bowl, whisk together pomegranate molasses and apple cider vinegar. Slowly stream in remaining grapeseed oil. Pour over salad, season with salt and pepper, and toss gently to combine. Set aside 2 hours at room temperature to marinate before serving. Serves 6–8.
Delgado 2014 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast); $30, 92 points. This warm, creamy Chardonnay perfectly falls in line with this autumnal salad. The wine has the acidity to match the dressing, while its baked-fruit flavors complement the squash.
Recipe courtesy Erin Clarke, executive chef, Casa Luca, Washington DC
Erin Clarke created this fresh interpretation of the classic Thanksgiving green bean casserole. Shallots can be done a week ahead of time, and beans can be blanched the day before. Make the fonduta as the last step before serving.
- 2 pounds fresh green beans
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Bowl of ice water (to shock green beans)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 3 raw shallots, sliced crosswise in ⅛-inch rings
- ¼ pound diced Fontina cheese
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 large egg yolks
- Black pepper, to taste
In large pot, boil water. Add 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil, and stir to dissolve. Add green beans. Cook until just tender. Remove green beans, and shock them in ice water. Drain and set aside. Beans may be blanched 1 day in advance and stored, uncovered, in refrigerator.
For the pickled shallots, in saucepan, boil water. Add sugar and 1 tablespoon salt, and stir until dissolved. Add vinegar. Place shallots in bowl. Pour mixture over shallots and stir. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer shallots and liquid to container, cover and refrigerate. Pickled shallots may be made up to 1 week ahead.
For the fondue, in a heatproof bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, add Fontina cheese and milk. Stir until cheese begins to melt. Add flour and incorporate well, then add butter. Whisk in yolks. Stirring constantly with whisk, cook until smooth and thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove pan and bowl from heat.
In 12-inch heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil until hot, but not smoking. Sauté beans until just tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Place fonduta in shallow serving bowl, add green beans and top with pickled shallots. Or, alternatively, drizzle fonduta over green beans and top with shallots. Serves 4.
This no-frills rustic pie crust comes out buttery, light and delicious with little effort. Roll the crust up around the rolling pin (pictured) to transport to the pie tin for a nice even crust.
When the dough is ready, use it for this nutty, Bourbon-soaked pie.
- 1¼ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter
- 1 egg
To make the dough, combine the flour and salt in a glass mixing bowl. Using your fingers, rub in the butter until the mixture looks like small breadcrumbs. Make a well in the center and add the egg. Hand mix well and add ice water as necessary until the dough holds together, approximately 2–3 teaspoons. Remove the dough and shape into a ball. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before use.
When ready to use, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Using the rolling pin, place the dough into a buttered metal pie pan. Pierce the bottom with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Makes one pie crust.
Almonds and pecans are baking staples, and Bourbon has long been revered for its warming qualities. These ingredients come together in a pie that will fill your home with that quintessential baking-and-holiday-spice aroma.
- 1 pie dough
- 2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 4 large eggs, whisked
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 teaspoons Bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup almond halves
- 1 cup pecan halves
Roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured surface. Place the dough into a buttered metal pie pan. Pierce the bottom with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Combine the brown sugar, eggs, butter, Bourbon, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Toss in the almonds and pecans until well combined. Pour the filling into the pie pan, and bake until crust is golden, approximately 45 minutes. Allow the pie to cool before slicing, then plate with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serves 8.
- 1Turkey with Red Wine Barbecue Sauce
- 2The Perfect Barley and Butternut Squash Salad
- 3Green Beans with Pickled Shallots and Fonduta
- 4No-Frills Pie Dough
- 5Bourbon, Almond and Pecan Pie