Thanksgiving Dinner, From the Turkey to the Side Dishes

Thanksgiving day turkey
Photo by Morgan Ione Yeager / Food Styling by Judy Haubert

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.

The Best Thanksgiving Recipes to Pair with Skin-Contact Wine
Rum-Butter Spatchcocked Turkey Ingredients
  • 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)
Rum-Butter Spatchcocked Turkey Directions

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.

Rum-Butter Basting Glaze Ingredients and Directions

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.

Chopped Collard Greens with Shiitakes and Warm Pancetta Dressing Ingredients and Directions

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.

Skillet Stuffing Ingredients and Directions

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.

Wine Pairings

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!”

Published on November 1, 2019
About the Author
Sarah E. Daniels
Senior Associate Editor

Daniels is the former Dining Editor at Hudson Valley magazine who has also written and edited for web-based publications such as Food52 and The Kitchn, and has assisted in food styling and recipe testing for an assortment of cookbooks. Prior to her career in culinary-related media, Daniels spent years as a pastry chef at venues throughout upstate New York and completed the Longhouse Food Scholars program. She has a soft spot for quiche and hiking trails with footbridges and would be hard-pressed to turn down a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.



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