Thanksgiving Recipe Guide 2012


We love the contrast of sweet cornbread and earthy sage with roasted turkey. If you have vegetarians in your midst and you’re serving the stuffing on the side, just leave out the pancetta. You can also used store-bought cornbread, but we find it too sweet. And making cornbread is simple – use a mix and you can mix and bake in under 20 minutes. Final note: the stuffing takes better if you make it the day ahead so it’s nice and dry.

8 cups 1/2-inch cubes day-old cornbread (from scratch or a mix)

1/2 pound thinly-sliced pancetta, chopped

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 yellow onions, peeled and chopped

3 tablespoons minced garlic

3 cups finely chopped celery

¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves or dried rubbed sage

½ cup (1/4 lb) melted unsalted butter

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1½  – 2 cups chicken stock

  • In a 350ºF degree oven, bake cornbread cubes in a 12×17-inch roasting pan for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat and add the pancetta. Stir often until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the pancetta to paper towels to drain. Leave the pancetta fat in the pan and add a few tablespoons of olive oil.?Add the onions to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and celery and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the pancetta, onion mixture, parsley, sage, and butter to the roasting pan. Mix well, adding salt and pepper to taste. (The pancetta is salty, so go easy on the salt.)  Mix in the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, until dressing is evenly moistened (for a drier stuffing, use 1½ cups stock). Spoon the stuffing into a shallow 3-quart casserole and cover tightly with aluminum foil. (If making up to one day ahead, stick the pan in the ‘frig.)
  • Bake until hot (at least 160 degrees F in center), 35 to 40 minutes (50 to 65 minutes if chilled). Uncover the pan in the last 20 to 25 minutes of baking so the top gets nice and brown.


Serves 12-14


You simply cannot serve a turkey without gravy; here’s a basic recipe.

Roasting pan with pan juices from a roast turkey

¾ stick unsalted butter, melted

About 9 cups chicken stock (or turkey stock if you can find it)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • Pour pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a 2-quart glass measure (do not clean roasting pan), then skim off fat and reserve. Add the melted butter and whisk briefly.
  • Heat the chicken stock or turkey stock in a large stockpot and keep warm. Add the pan juices to the stock.
  • In a large saucepan, whisk together reserved fat and flour and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, for 5 minutes. Add hot stock with pan juices in a stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, then bring to a boil, whisking. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes about 8 cups


We just can’t leave out the mashers. If you possibly can, make them right before the turkey comes out so they’re not sitting around. If not, make them up to three hours ahead and then slowly stir in a little warmed milk and melted butter right before serving to warm them up. You can also stick ‘em in the microwave.

6 medium Idaho potatoes, peeled

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature

¾ cup half and half, warmed

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  • Place the potatoes in large pot of cold water and add two good shakings of salt. Bring them to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes in a colander and then transfer the hot potatoes to a large bowl.
  • Mash them with a masher while adding the butter and a splash of half and half. Gradually add the remaining half and half while mashing. Taste them and add the salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 6 – 8


This is GourmetGrandma’s recipe. And really, who doesn’t love a little Port to balance those tart little cranberries?

2 large oranges

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1 cup granulated sugar

2 cups fresh cranberries (one 12 oz. bag)

2 tablespoons Port

  • Rinse the cranberries and discard any shriveled or mushy cranberries. Zest the peel from the oranges.
  • Add the water and orange juice to a medium-sized saucepan along with the sugar, stirring over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the berries and zest and mix well.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken and the cranberries have burst, about 10 minutes. Stir in the port and cook for 5 minutes. Allow mixture to cool. Keep in the ‘frig, covered, until ready to serve, but let it come back to room temperature before you dig in. (You can add a handful of chopped walnuts or pecans if you want a little more texture. Add them when you’re letting the sauce cool so they don’t get mushy.)


Serves 8



Everyone claims to hate Brussels sprouts, but one bite of these creamy sprouts with bacon will make everyone a true believer. This recipe is from Chef Zak Pelaccio of New York City’s Fatty Crab restaurant.

1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut in 1/4-inch lardons

36 Brussels sprouts, trimmed, with outer 2 leaves removed, and halved

2 teaspoons sea salt

12 chestnuts (roasted and peeled, broken into chunks)

3 garlic cloves, minced

6 sprigs thyme

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup New York grade-B maple syrup

1/2 lemon

  • In a large sauté pan or cast-iron skillet, render the lardons over medium heat until they are a rich brown. With a slotted spoon, remove the lardons to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. Toss the sprouts in the pan, season with sea salt, and cook in the bacon fat over medium heat for 1 minute.
  • Add the chestnuts, and continue cooking for 4 minutes. Sprinkle in the garlic and thyme, and cook for another 3 minutes. Pour in the cream, and reduce by half. Season to taste. Add the bacon, pour in the maple syrup, and give a squeeze of lemon juice. Cook, stirring, for another couple of minutes, and serve.

Serves 8



If Brussels sprouts won’t make the cut to your picky eaters, go back to basics and make green beans instead. This gloriously simple dish, with the crunch of almonds, something green on the table, even if it gets ignored in the rush for mashed potatoes and gravy.

2 pounds string beans, trimmed

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup slivered almonds

3 shallots, peeled and chopped

Salt and fresh ground pepper

  • Cook string beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 8 minutes, depending on tenderness of beans desired. Drain; let cool in a large bowl of ice water. Drain; pat dry, and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until almonds are golden, 2-3 minutes. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 1 minute.
  • Add beans, tossing to coat, and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 8


Shake things up a bit and make this fennel dish instead of the same old sweet potatoes. The brilliant folks at Food & Wine magazine created this light, flavorful, do-ahead dish, and it’s so good we’ll be serving it all winter long.

10 medium fennel bulbs—halved, cored and sliced ½-inch thick

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 shallots, minced

2 teaspoons chopped thyme

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup dry white wine

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. On 2 large rimmed baking sheets, drizzle the fennel with 1/2 cup of the olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes, until softened. Let cool for 30 minutes.
  • In a skillet, toast the panko over moderate heat until golden, 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; stir in the cheese and flour.
  • In the same skillet, melt the butter. Add the garlic, shallots and thyme and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is softened, 5 minutes; add to the panko. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of oil and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread half of the fennel in a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Pour the wine over the fennel, then sprinkle half of the panko on top. Repeat with the remaining fennel and panko. Cover and bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes longer, until the topping is browned and crisp. Serve hot.

Note: The unbaked gratin can be wrapped in foil and frozen for up to a week. Bake the foil-wrapped dish straight from the freezer for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes longer.


Serves 12



This bourbon-infused pie is one reason to skip dinner entirely and head straight for the dessert. GourmetGrrl’s mom has been making it since GG could hold a spoon, and she likes it with a bowl of whipped cream on the side.

1 cup pecans

3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 cup dark brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup dark corn syrup

1 tablespoon bourbon

One 9-inch pie shell, unbaked (recipe follows)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Cream together the butter and dark brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  • Add vanilla, salt, corn syrup, and bourbon and combine thoroughly. Stir in the pecans and then pour the mixture into the pie shell.
  • Bake for 55-60 minutes in the middle rack of the oven until set.

Pie Crust

We love this foolproof crust recipe from Martha Stewart, but if time is short buy a prepared (frozen) all-natural crust instead.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

16 tablespoons cold (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

  • In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar; pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.
  • Sprinkle with 1/4 cup ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if necessary, add up to 1/4 cup more water, 1 tablespoon at a time). To help ensure a flaky crust, do not overprocess.
  • Transfer half of dough (still crumbly) onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form dough into a disk 3/4 inch thick; wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days). Repeat with remaining dough. (Disks can be frozen, tightly wrapped, up to 3 months. Thaw before using.)

Makes one double crust pie or 2 single pie crusts


If pies aren’t your thing, make this light and fluffy pumpkin mousse instead; it’s like pie and whipped cream mixed together—but fancier. And you can make it a day ahead; what’s not to love? Note to purists: this isn’t a true trifle, because there is no cake element; the mousse and whipped cream form the layers.

5 large egg yolks

1 cup sugar

3 1/2 cups heavy cream

15 ounces canned pumpkin

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons dark rum

1 teaspoon powdered gelatin

3 ounces shaved dark chocolate (not unsweetened; for serving)

  • Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water and set aside.
  • Whisk the yolks, 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and 3/4 cup cream together in a medium saucepan. Heat while stirring continuously with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon over medium-low heat, until thickened and the mixture coats the spatula — about 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set over the ice bath. Stir to cool.
  • Add pumpkin, vanilla, spices, and salt to the egg mixture. Stir 1 tablespoon rum and 1 teaspoon gelatin together in a small bowl. Heat the remaining tablespoon rum, and stir in to the gelatin mixture until dissolved. Gently whisk into the pumpkin mixture. Beat 1/2 cup cream to stiff peaks, and fold into pumpkin mixture. Pour into a shallow dish, cover and chill until cold and thick enough to fall from a spoon in heavy spoonfuls– about 8 hours or up to overnight.
  • Beat the remaining cream and sugar to stiff peaks. Alternately layer the pumpkin mousse and whipped cream in a glass serving dish.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate shavings between top two layers. Serve chilled.

Serves 16

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