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Not Your Mama’s Recipes – Try these IncredibleThanksgiving Dishes

7 November 2011 By: Casey No Comment | Editor's Picks, Foodie Love

Thanksgiving is by far and away my favorite holiday. No joke – I’d replace my birthday, Christmas, and 4th of July with what is the best of bests aroma filled glutenous family filled giggling fit gathering that brings in the end of another great year gone by. Excuse the run-on sentence, but that’s how my jabbering filled mind describes Thanksgiving. I effing LOVE IT!

If you are like me, (obvs) then you either do 1 of two things. You host a dinner and everyone brings a side dish, OR you are the one bringing a side-dish to a hosted dinner. Doesn’t sound very complicated does it? Oh, but it is! The pressure is on to cook something that will blow your friends and family away. You are not just a working class regular Joe/Jane. On no! Not this year, buddy! You are a freakin’ culinary ninja! And you want to show off your mastery this year! Be gone green bean casserole! Get lost yams and mallows! Stuff-it stuffing! This year’s gonna be different. Fortunately for you, I’ve totally got your back! Behold the coolest and most delicious Thanksgiving recipes on the planet … ( and don’t worry, I”m sure someone will bring the casserole and yams, thank god!)

Chanterelle and Pear Stuffing Muffins

Yeah – that’s right stuffing! You’re gonna be a muffin this year! I swear, this recipe is just pure gold! I found this while stalking out the NYT Dining and Wine section and I cannot wait to cook it this year.  Check out their amazing stuffing recipe! (photo courtesy of NYT)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 large loaf Pullman or other firm white bread
  • 1 pound chanterelle mushrooms
  • 1/3 pound pancetta, diced small
  • 10 tablespoons butter, more for greasing muffin tins
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots (about three)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 3 1/2 cups diced pears (about four or five firm, ripe varieties like Bartlett or Anjou) plus one whole pear
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup minced chives
  • 1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 cups turkey stock


1. Tear bread into small pieces and set in roasting pan. To dry bread, place on a baking sheet in batches and lightly toast. Set aside.

2. Wipe mushrooms and trim tough ends. Slice some thickly, chop others. Set aside. Place pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook slowly until fat is rendered, about 7 minutes. Remove to a large plate.

3. Add 2 tablespoons butter to fat in pan and turn heat to medium high. Add onion and shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just soft. Do not brown. Remove to plate holding pancetta.

4. Add 3 tablespoons butter to pan. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and quickly saute until starting to brown. Remove and add to plate.

5. Add wine to pan and deglaze over medium high heat, cooking until wine reduces by about half. Pour remaining liquid over mushrooms. Wipe out pan and add remaining butter. Add pears and sugar and season with salt and pepper. Sauté pears, in batches if necessary, over medium high heat until they begin to brown slightly.

6. In a large bowl or roasting pan, add sautéed ingredients to bread. Toss lightly to combine. Add herbs and toss again. Slowly pour one cup stock over mixture and toss. Add more broth to make a very moist stuffing. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. If you are stuffing a brined turkey, remember that the bird will add a bit more salt.

8. Just before roasting turkey, place some room-temperature stuffing lightly inside a prepared bird. Place whole pear in opening of cavity to help hold stuffing in the bird.

9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter muffin tins and fill each with stuffing, pressing down so each cup is well filled. Top each with one tablespoon stock. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, until a golden crust forms on bottom. To serve, use a butter knife to remove each stuffing muffin and invert onto the plate.

Creamy Pumpkin Mashers

Pumpkin’ Mashers are totally the new ‘black’ this Thanksgiving season. Mashers and pumpkin pies are sooooooo traditional, so why not combine the two and spice up everyone’s plates with this creamy comfort food. I found this particular recipe on Suite101, check it out when ya get a chance. Great site with lots of fun ideas! Note: Fresh pumpkin is required for this recipe, so go grab that jack-o-lantern off your porch! I won’t tell.

What you’ll need:

  • 5 cups potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5 cups pumpkin, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/3-2/3 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid
  • 4-6 teaspoons butter
  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, small dice
  • 5 strips bacon, small dice
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  1. Scale and prepare all of your ingredients. In a large pot cover potatoes and pumpkin with fresh cold water. Cover and bring to boil. Remove cover, add chicken bouillon cube and simmer until potatoes and pumpkins can be pierced with a fork and fall off easily, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. While the potato and pumpkin are cooking, if you choose to add the mix-ins, saute onions in olive oil until softened. Add bacon and continue cooking until onions are golden brown and bacon is crispy.
  3. When potatoes and pumpkin are done, drain, reserving the cooking liquid, and return to pan. Lower heat and add a splash of the cooking liquid. Mash using a potato masher, hand mixer or immersion blender. Place the milk and butter in a microwaveable measuring cup and heat for 30 seconds, or just until butter melts. Add milk/butter mixture alternately with reserved cooking liquid to thin the mash to desired creamy consistency.
  4. If using mix-ins, fold onion and bacon and serve alongside your favorite holiday feast. To keep warm, place in casserole dish, cover, and place in 200F oven until service. Extra butter/milk mixture can be added to freshen up the mash if it’s been sitting in an oven for too long. Just blend in with an immersion blender.

Gratineed Mustard Creamed Onions

I’ll be honest here, I’m not a huge fan of creamed onions. But these lil’ dudes are different. They are cheesy  delights that go great with everything on the table – so dive on in! I found this recipe on Epicurious.com, which gets more amazing every time I use it! Check out all the reviews on this bad boy here.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 pound white pearl onions
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons cream Sherry
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Cook onions in a large heavy pot of boiling salted water (2 teaspoons salt for 4 quarts water) until just tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain (reserve pot). Cool onions to warm, then peel.

2. Melt butter in dry pot over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in reserved cooking water, milk, and Sherry and cook, whisking frequently, until mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes. Whisk in mustards, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add onions to sauce and simmer 5 minutes.

3. Preheat broiler.

4. Transfer creamed onions to baking dish and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until top is golden brown and bubbling, about 3 minutes.

Mole-Roasted Turkey with Masa Stuffing and Chile Gravy

I can pretty much guarantee that this turkey will be the talk of the town if you decide to try it. Yes – it’s very different, but holy turkey is it awesome. This bad boy is deeply flavored and uber moist. This recipe is also from Epicurious.com, check out all the reviews on this guy here. (Photo courtesy Stephen Sillivan)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 (12- to 14-pound) turkey; neck, heart, and gizzard removed and reserved for making Quick Turkey Stock
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Turkey Mole Sauce (click for recipe)
  • Masa Stuffing (click for recipe)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Approximately 2 cups Quick Turkey Stock
  • 2 cups Quick Turkey Stock
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder

1. Rinse turkey and pat dry. Sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper and transfer to roasting pan. Set aside 1 1/2 cups mole for serving (refrigerate until ready to use), then coat turkey inside and out with remainder. Cover turkey with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.

2. Arrange oven rack in lowest position and preheat oven to 450°F. Butter 2-quart casserole or 8-inch square baking dish.

3. Loosely fill main cavity of turkey with stuffing. Transfer remaining stuffing to prepared dish and drizzle with 1/2 cup stock. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate until ready to bake. Dab turkey all over with melted butter. Tuck wing tips under breast and loosely tie legs together with kitchen string. Pour 1/4 cup stock into pan.

4. Roast turkey 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F, cover turkey loosely with foil, and continue roasting 45 minutes more. Remove foil, add 1/4 cup stock to pan, and continue to roast, basting with pan juices every 30 minutes, 1 1/2 hours more.

5. Increase oven temperature to 450°F, rotate pan 180° in oven, and add 1/4 cup stock to pan. Remove extra stuffing from refrigerator (do not uncover) and transfer to oven alongside turkey. Bake 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until top is golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Keep warm, covered. Meanwhile, continue to roast turkey, adding 1/4 cup stock to pan and basting every 15 minutes, until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh (do not touch bone) registers 170°F, about 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours more (2 1/2 to 3 hours total).

6. Transfer turkey to platter (do not clean roasting pan). Insert thermometer into center of stuffing. If thermometer does not read 165°F, remove stuffing and microwave until 165°F. Keep warm. Let turkey rest at least 1/2 hour before carving.

While turkey is resting, make gravy:
Straddle roasting pan across 2 burners on moderately high heat. Add stock and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan. Remove from heat.

In medium saucepan melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until roux is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add stock mixture in steady stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, then simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Strain through fine-mesh sieve into medium bowl and stir in lime juice, salt, and chile powder. Keep warm.

In small saucepan over low heat, gently reheat reserved mole sauce. Serve turkey with gravy and mole alongside.

Shaved Fennel and Apple Salad

So we’ve covered the potatoes, the turkey, the onions, but what about a salad? Spinach salad – over it. Jicama? Meh. Shaved fennel and apples? Now we’re talkin’. This recipe is from Charlie Trotter Cooks from Home and is one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made.

What you’ll need:
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and halved
  • 2 bulbs fennel, thinly sliced

1. To prepare the vinaigrette: Whisk together the lemon juice, chopped tarragon, and olive and canola oils in a small bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. To prepare the salad: Cut the apple into thin slices and place in a medium bowl with the fennel. Toss with the vinaigrette and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Do you have recipes that blow these away? Let me know by posting a comment. Can’t wait to try what you’ve been cooking!

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