Our annual Thanksgiving recipe round-up has a little twist of something special this year. We published our first cookbook, Cork and Knife, earlier in the year, and it celebrates cooking with alcohol. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, now’s the perfect time — and it’ll make a great holiday (or Thanksgiving host) gift. We’ll soon post an exclusive recipe from the book, but in the meantime, in the summaries below, we’ve marked recipes which contain booze in bold.
If one thing on this green earth is certain, it’s that in about a week and a half, most of the US will be engaged in stuffing a turkey and then stuffing themselves, with the turkey, like some kind of human Turducken. Let’s call it a “Turkhuman” (unless you’re actually stuffing yourselves with a stuffed Turducken, in which case I don’t know what to call you. Answers on a postcard please.)
(We’re busy this weekend working with Beacon Farmers Market’s “Soup4Greens” event, where volunteers cook up a whole variety of soups which are sold to fundraise for a program helping local people to buy healthy food. Come and join us if you’re in the area! We’ll be making Sausage, White Bean and Escarole soup, but since we’re on a soup kick, we decided to repost this article from a few years back: one of our favorites and we think it’ll become yours too.)
It. Is. Still. Winter.
Do you feel a disturbance in the force? As though millions of voices cried out in annoyance and were suddenly told to quit whining? That was the entire population of the east coast of the U.S. simultaneously accepting the fact that this winter will never, ever end.
You’ve made your point Nature! Sheesh. No reason to be such a weiner about it.
If you too happen to live in a frozen hell-scape (or just enjoy delicious French Onion Soup), this recipe is a great way to spend a frigid afternoon. Plus, it includes Winter’s top food groups. Bread, cheese and booze. Yes, there is lots and lots of alcohol in this soup. Three different kinds in fact, sherry, cognac and white wine. This might seem excessive (or if you’re like me, quite restrained), but the alcohol is entirely cooked out, leaving just a warm, rich decadence. Yum.
If you like to celebrate Fall by reaching for the pumpkin spice, try its sophisticated cousin, Chai. Complex sweet, spicy and peppery notes combine to flavor these Chai Cupcakes, topped off with decadent Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting and a sprinkle of pink peppercorns.
It’s easy to knock pumpkin spice. It’s the low-hanging fruit – early-dropping leaf, perhaps – of the autumn zeitgeist. But don’t worry, we’re not heading into a cliched diatribe about hipsters and their spiced lattes and something something Williamsburg gentrification. We’re here to celebrate something with more depth, more sophistication, more … panache. Chai is not a new flavor by any means – in fact, it’s one of the oldest spice combinations in the culinary palette, dating from thousands of years back in India’s history. The nineteenth century saw it added to black tea and given more of a global reach, but the essential spice base has lasting appeal beyond hot drinks.
It may seem as though there’s even less certainty than usual in the world at the moment. If one thing is certain, though, it’s that this time next week, most of the US will be engaged in stuffing a turkey and then stuffing themselves, with the turkey, like some kind of human Turducken – let’s call it a “Turstuffan” (unless you’re actually stuffing yourselves with a stuffed Turducken, in which case I don’t know what to call you).
It’s also the biggest cooking occasion at Nerds HQ – generally we cook for ourselves and then say “hey look internet, we made a thing, ok thx bai” – but this day, of all days, we’re committed to cooking for a large group who aren’t afraid to give their instant feedback. It’s intimidating! We couldn’t do it without a set of tried-and-tested Thanksgiving recipes that we have tweaked over the years to make them really tasty and, just as importantly, to keep preparation and cooking as stress-free as possible. (We’ll never forget the year we accidentally brined the kitchen floor with about 10 gallons of spiced saltwater.)
So here are our dishes. Appetizers, entree and sides, the all-important gravy (you don’t have to make your own stock, but if you can swing it, it adds amazing flavor), sides that’ll knock your socks off, desserts, and some great ways to use up the inevitable leftovers. We hope you find these Thanksgiving recipes as enjoyable to make and eat as we do.
Finally, and most importantly, this holiday is about gratitude, so we want to take the opportunity to say thank you. Specifically, thank you, you reader there, you. We started this blog as a way to get our recipes down in writing where we’d be able to find them again. It has grown in ways we never expected, and it has become a springboard for our cooking, writing and food photography.
Your encouragement, positive comments, ideas and adaptations are what keep us coming back week after week to make something new that you might like. Most of all, seeing you cook, enjoy, adapt, and document your own versions means more to us than we can say. Please keep letting us know how the recipes worked for you, and send us your pictures! You can always tag us on Instagram (@nerdswithknives) or just comment under a recipe post. We always appreciate it.
From us, Matt and Emily, to you, your families, your kitchen and table, we wish you the very best and we can’t wait to show you what we have planned next! Happy Thanksgiving!
Light and airy pumpkin mousse, with a good splash of bourbon, in a rich chocolate cookie shell topped with whipped cream swirls and crunchy candied pecans. Yeah, you need to make this.
Wotcha! Very occasionally we at Nerd HQ rifle back through the posts of this blog and try to find ingredients which haven’t been well-represented. It being autumn, and almost Thanksgiving and all that, we thought – heck it, let’s do pumpkin. It’s been a while, right? And then we looked back through the archives and realized we’d actually never done anything bloggable with pumpkin. (I don’t mean “unbloggable” like we’d done weird, private things with pumpkins, you nutter. I just mean we hadn’t cooked anything and photographed it.)
Cooking for a big holiday is hard enough without having to search for and keep track of a million recipes. It’s hard to organize all that stuff! Believe me, I struggle with that too (which is why I have a “Thanksgiving Timing Spreadsheet” that has events on it like, ‘dog probably needs to pee’ and ‘remind Matt that he loves you even though you get extremely stressed out before dinner parties’).
So whether you’re hosting a a feast for 30 or just making a single dish to bring along, you need recipes for Thanksgiving that are simple, look fantastic and are most of all, delicious. That’s why we’ve listed our all time favorites below. Here you’ll find ideas for tasty appetizers, fantastic sides and what we think is the best turkey gravy in the world (seriously, you have to try it).
And because you’re likely to have a house full of hungry people over the weekend, we’ve included a few next-day breakfast ideas and recipes that make the most of your Thanksgiving recipe leftovers.