The Best Thanksgiving Recipes to Pair with Skin-Contact Wine
Disputes over “stuffing” versus “dressing,” or whether to casserole the green beans set aside, the traditional Thanksgiving dinner tends to follow a scripted menu. Just as predictable? The argument over whether to serve red or white wine alongside it.
But the turkey, which is really the linchpin of the holiday, lends both sides near equal support. So, this year, skip the bickering and instead opt for a lineup of skin-contact pours.
Sometimes referred to as orange wines, these are made from white wine grapes that are left to soak and ferment with their skins. Ranging in color from amber to Crayola’s Atomic Tangerine, they can take on characteristics of both red and white wines. This means they can also match your meal from hors d’oeuvres to dessert.
If you’re intimidated, don’t be. The following traditional-ish recipes are built to pair with pleasantly surprising, wildly delicious skin-contact bottlings.
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Courtesy Andrew Brady, chef/owner, Field & Vine, Somerville, MA
In Somerville, Massachusetts, sustainably sourced, produce-driven Field & Vine changes its menu to fit every season and features wines that adhere to a natural perspective. The following recipes showcase an array of November’s proudest ingredients and create a bright greeting for the meal to come.
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3 bags chamomile tea
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Honeycrisp apples, cored and small diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 small shallot
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 2-pound green kohlrabi, peeled and julienned
- 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 2 sprigs of tarragon, leaves only
- 4 sprigs of dill, leaves only
- Black pepper, to taste
In small pot, bring vinegar and honey to boil. Turn off heat, add tea bags and steep 5 minutes. Discard tea bags, and let cool.
Meanwhile, in skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, stirring frequently, until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to plate lined with paper towels. In mixing bowl, pour lemon juice over apple cubes. Add olive oil, and toss to combine. Set aside. In blender, purée mustard, infused vinegar, shallot, garlic and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. With motor running, slowly drizzle in canola oil until emulsified.
In large bowl, toss kohlrabi, bacon, apples, dressing, poppy seeds and herbs. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serves 6–8.
Clean and destem 2 pounds wild fall mushrooms, and break into large bite-sized pieces. In large pot over medium heat, toast zest of 1 lemon, 3 cloves garlic, 1 stick cinnamon, 2 star anise pods and 1 whole dried bird’s eye chili until fragrant. Add mushrooms, 2 cups olive oil, ½ cup Sherry vinegar and leaves of 1 sprig each rosemary and thyme. Bring to simmer, and cook until mushrooms are tender. Season with kosher salt, to taste. Cool to room temperature. Serves 6–8.
Peel and julienne 4 large white onions. In medium pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. When butter starts to bubble, add onions and 1 tablespoon salt. Cook until onions begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Using spatula, scrape bottom of pan to loosen onions that stick.
Continue to cook, scraping occasionally and adding water if needed, until onions are deep golden brown. Transfer onions to baking sheet, and let cool.
In mixer with paddle attachment, whip 8 ounces cream cheese on high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Lower speed, and slowly pour in ½ cup buttermilk. Add cooked onions and 1 tablespoon onion powder. Add 1 bunch diced chives. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Continue mixing until ingredients are well combined. Garnish with chopped scallions. Serve with chips. Makes about 4 cups.
Meinklang 2017 Foam White (Burgenland). “It’s skin-macerated Pinot Gris, lively, energetic and a real crowd pleaser,” says Sara Markey-Brady, general manager/wine director at Field & Vine. “There’s enough acid to balance the richness of the potato chips and dip, [and] enough earth and aromatics to elevate the mushrooms.”
Cantina Ribelà 2018 Pentima Bianco (Lazio). This unfiltered blend of Malvasia and Trebbiano receives about a week of skin contact. “[It] definitely takes on some lovely warmer spice notes, which I think would pair nicely with the earthy notes of the mushrooms,” says Markey-Brady. “There’s also a citrusy, zesty quality that will help balance those rich chips, and this lovely apple richness will match the salad and complement the bacon nicely.”
Courtesy Ethan R. Holmes, executive chef, Mattie’s at Green Pastures, Austin, TX
Rustic Southern restaurant Mattie’s doesn’t stray far from the traditional turkey, with a sweet rum-butter mixture that’s simply irresistible. But Thanksgiving sides are just as key. If anyone knows the importance of gathering around good food and wine, it’s Derek Boccagno, chef de cuisine of Sunday in Brooklyn, who shared a few favorites.
- 10- to 12-pound turkey, spatchcocked
- 2 carrots, peeled, cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces
- 4 ribs celery, leaves removed, rough chopped
- 2 large yellow onions, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 orange, cut into 8 wedges
- 2 lemons, halved
- 2 heads garlic, cut in half crosswise
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 bunches sage
- ½ cup grapeseed or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- Rum-Butter Basting Glaze (ingredients and directions below)
Heat oven to 400˚F. In large bowl, toss carrots, celery, onions, oranges, lemons, garlic, thyme, sage and oil. Spread in roasting pan.
Rub turkey with salt and pepper. Lay atop vegetables, breast side up, and tuck wings under. Rest at room temperature. Roast 1 hour.
Brush turkey with 1/3 of rum-butter glaze. Return to oven, and lower temperature to 350˚F. Roast for 10 minutes. Repeat basting process, and roast 10 minutes. Baste with remaining glaze, and roast until instant-read thermometer inserted at thickest part of thigh reads 170–175˚F.
Remove turkey from oven. Let rest 10–15 minutes. Use pan drippings to make gravy, if desired. Carve at table. Serves 8–10.
In medium saucepan, add 1 cup unsalted butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup dark rum, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon salt. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is ⅓ reduced. Set aside.
Courtesy Derek Boccagno, chef de cuisine, Sunday in Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY
In bowl, combine 4 chopped bunches collard greens, 1 pound sliced shiitake mushrooms and 2 sliced medium red onions. Warm 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in small pan over medium heat. Add 2 ounces fine-chopped pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fat renders out, about 8 minutes.
Remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly. Add 2 minced cloves garlic and 1 minced shallot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft. Whisk in 1/8 cup red wine vinegar, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Whisk in 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Pour dressing over collard greens. Toss gently to coat. Serves 8.
Courtesy Derek Boccagno, chef de cuisine, Sunday in Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY
Heat oven to 400˚F. Cut 1 loaf country bread into 1-inch cubes, and place in large bowl. Add 8 lightly beaten large eggs, 2 minced medium onions, 3 small-diced stalks celery, 2 tablespoons each minced thyme, sage and parsley, 1 tablespoon each kosher salt, and minced rosemary and marjoram or oregano, 1⁄8 teaspoon each ground allspice and ground nutmeg, 4 minced cloves garlic and 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper. Mix until bread is saturated.
Warm large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon sunflower or other neutral oil and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Spread ¼ stuffing mixture across bottom of pan. Cook, folding occasionally, until bread is browned and crisp. Transfer to baking dish. Repeat browning process for remaining stuffing mixture, adding oil and butter between rounds. Place baking dish in oven until heated through, about 10 minutes. Serves 8.
Partida Creus 2017 CX Cart Ver (Spain). Bright orange in color, this wine has notes of tangelo, kumquat, wild strawberry, baking spice and rose. “The glistening warm rum, cinnamon and nutmeg glaze will really bring out how bright and fresh the wine is,” says Andrew Milliorn, wine steward at Mattie’s.
Alfredo Maestro 2016 Lovamor Albillo (Spain). “Lovamor has citrus elements to it, but it’s very mineral-driven, [and] bright with acidity,” says Milliorn. “The floral component in this wine will really dance together nicely with the citrus used in the turkey.”
Gravner 2007 Bianco Breg (Venezia Giulia). Aged one year in amphorae and six years in large barrels, this bottling demonstrates the depth and complexity possible in a skin-contact wine.“Dense and structured, as the dinner progresses, so will this,” says Milliorn. “[It] will take you right through turkey dinner and pie.”
Pheasant’s Tears 2017 Dry Unfiltered Rkatsiteli (Kakheti). “The OG of ‘orange’ wine, this will bring all the crunchy leaves of fall into the glass, with a surprisingly rich mouthfeel and almost a hint of sweetness,” says Trey Bliss, assistant general manager/beverage manager of Sunday in Brooklyn. “The herbal notes of both the wine and the [meal] are going to bounce around together and really be magical.”
Franco Terpin 2018 Quinto Quarto Bianco Rebulla (Trevenezie). Flavors of aged gouda and Asian pear with hints of apple seed make this bottle oddly refreshing. “Might be a weird description for a wine, but it’s truly lovely,” says Bliss. “Those flavors will perfectly complement the greens and mushrooms, and, if you are lucky enough to get multiple bottles, can bring you through the whole meal—even dessert!”
Courtesy Erin Rae Lucas, chef/co-owner, Model Citizen, New London, MN
With a classic crust and custard that’s packed with warming spices, this dessert offers a slight twist on the perennial favorite. This recipe comes from Model Citizen in Minnesota. In addition to regular lunch and dinner service, the facility is home to a nonprofit teaching kitchen and agricultural center for teens to learn to farm, harvest, cook and repurpose food scraps.
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup sweet potato purée (from 2–3 large sweet potatoes)
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 parbaked pie shell (ingredients and directions below)
Heat oven to 325˚F. In heavy-bottomed skillet, brown butter over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Add brown sugar, whisk, and add 2 tablespoons water to loosen. Bring to boil, then lower heat to simmer. Cook until candy thermometer registers 225˚F, or mixture smells like caramel and begins to darken. Remove from heat, slowly add heavy cream, and whisk until smooth. Let cool at least 10 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix to combine.
In small stainless-steel bowl, whisk eggs, yolks and salt. Set aside.
In food processor, blend sweet potato purée with spices, molasses and lemon juice until smooth. With machine running, slowly stream in brown butter, followed by egg mixture and evaporated milk. Blend until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape sides of bowl.
Strain through fine-mesh sieve, then pour into pie shell. Bake on middle rack of oven, and rotate halfway through. Cook until edges are completely set, but pie remains slightly jiggly in the center, about 45–55 minutes. Cool completely before serving. Serves 8–10.
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 sticks plus 2 tablespoons very cold butter (preferably European style), small cubed
In large stainless-steel bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Add butter cubes, and toss gently to coat. Working quickly with pastry blender or hands, gently cut and rub butter to work into flour mixture.
When butter pieces are pea-sized or smaller, add 1/2 cup ice-cold water. Using hands, fold flour mixture into water. When dough starts to come together, knead together gently with palms. Form dough into ball, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator overnight.
On floured surface, use rolling pin to shape dough into ¼-inch-thick circle with 10-inch diameter. Cover 9-inch pie plate with dough gently. Use back of hand to press gently into creases of pan. The dough should hang over sides of pan. Use fork or pinch to crimp excess dough even with edge of pan. Let rest in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
To parbake, heat oven to 350˚F. Cover dough with aluminum foil and fill with baking beans or weights. Bake until edges are set, but not browned, about 20 minutes.
Marco de Bartoli 2012 Bukkuram Padre della Vigna (Passito di Pantelleria). Gretchen Skedsvold, co-owner of Henry & Son, a Minnesota bottle shop dedicated to sustainable and low-intervention wines, recommends Marco de Bartoli Bukkuram Padre della Vigna Passito di Pantelleria, made from 100% sun-dried Zibibbo grapes grown on volcanic soils. “When I think sweet potatoes, I think of…recipes with warm spices and nuts, and honey and yogurt,” she says. “[This wine] with concentrated honeyed notes and skin-fermented, tannic structure, not to mention Mediterranean terroir, immediately come to mind.”
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