The United States of Thanksgiving!
The New York Times scoured the nation for recipes that evoke each of the 50 states.
These are their picks for the feast. What do you think? Find your state and try the recipe! Enjoy!
Standing Rib Roast
Like many Nebraskans, the poet Erin Belieu’s family members use any large gathering as a pretext for serving prime rib. Thanksgiving is no exception. When Ms. Belieu, a fourth-generation Nebraskan, was growing up in Omaha, her family served prime rib alongside the turkey — until they realized no one really liked the bird and dispensed with it altogether. Her grandfather was a cowboy, and the whole family was steeped in the state’s ranching culture, even when they eventually moved to the city.
In her house, the beef was minimally seasoned and roasted in a hot oven until the exterior was crackling and browned, the inside juicy and red. A little horseradish sauce might be served on the side, but her father always disapproved. Good beef doesn’t need it. “He thought sauce was for drugstore cowboys,” she said. Melissa Clark
Standing Rib Roast
1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours, plus at least 2 hours 20 minutes’ resting time8 to 12 servings
- 1 (4 rib) standing rib roast, 7 to 8 pounds
- 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup minced herbs (optional)
- 4 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste (optional)
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (optional)
- Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed (optional)
- Pat meat all over with paper towels, then season it all over with salt and pepper. If you want to make a smoky garlic-herb paste, combine herbs, garlic, smoked paprika and just enough olive oil to make a paste. Rub all over meat. Let meat come to room temperature for 2 to 3 hours depending upon how cold it was to begin with.
- Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place meat bone-side down in a roasting pan or on a rimmed sheet pan. Roast for 20 minutes, then turn heat to 350 degrees and continue to roast until the meat registers 115 degrees on an instant-read thermometer for rare, 125 for medium rare (it will continue to cook after you pull it out of the oven). Timing depends on your oven, your pan and the shape of your roast, so start checking after the meat has been in the oven for an hour, but it could take 1 1/2 hours or even slightly longer.
- Let meat rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before carving.
Lucy Buffett and her famous brother, Jimmy, grew up in Mobile, Ala., where seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is a key player in the culinary canon. Mr. Buffett went on to a giant career in music. His sister Lucy opened the freewheeling LuLu’s restaurant in Gulf Shores, Ala. When they were children, oyster stuffing was always on the Thanksgiving table. And it still is. “Usually, it’s all gone by the end of the day because the kids go back for thirds and fourths, just digging directly into the pan,” she said.
Ms. Buffett likes to use cornbread with a little sugar in it, often relying on a box mix. But any cornbread recipe will do. The best bread is an inexpensive white loaf from the grocery store that will break down into a smooth texture. The oysters don’t have to be from the Gulf of Mexico, but fat Gulf oysters are best for conjuring the brackish low tides and sunsets of the Buffett family youth. KIM SEVERSON
Russian Salmon Pie
The Russians call it kulebyaka, but in Alaska it is pirok, perok or peroche — all amendments of pirog, the more general Russian word for pie. Inside the flaky crust, wild salmon from Alaskan waters is layered with rice and cabbage, crops introduced to the 18th-century natives of Kodiak Island by fur traders from across the strait. Long after the Russians gave up the hunt for sea otter pelts and sold their claim to the territory to the United States, the frontier fish-camp dish remained a staple of the Alaskan table.
Kirsten Dixon, the chef and an owner of Winterlake Lodge, along the Iditarod Trail, and Tutka Bay Lodge, near Homer, likes to make salmon pie at Thanksgiving, when the Alaskan back country is already muffled in snow and guests arrive by ski plane, landing on a frozen lake. LIGAYA MISHAN
Russian Salmon Pie
1 hour 20 minutes 8 servings
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 red onion, diced
- ½ pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- ½ head green cabbage, cored and shredded
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1-pound skinless salmon fillet (preferably Alaskan)
- 2 sheets homemade or store-bought puff pastry
- 2 cups cooked short grain brown rice
- 2 eggs, one hard-boiled, the other beaten
- ½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar
- ½ cup fine bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, cabbage and vinegar; increase heat to medium. Cover pan and cook 4 minutes; uncover, toss and cook 2 more minutes. Remove vegetables from pan, season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
- Wipe out skillet, add olive oil and set over medium-high heat. Add salmon and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook salmon 5 minutes per side; remove to a plate and let cool. Flake salmon into large chunks and set aside.
- Set a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Gently roll out until it is large enough to fit a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Transfer pastry to pie plate, allowing extra dough to drape over edge.
- Spread brown rice over bottom of pastry. Peel and chop the hard-boiled egg, then add to pie, followed by flaked salmon. Sprinkle with cheese, then bread crumbs. Mound vegetable mixture on top. Sprinkle with parsley and drizzle cream over top.
- Roll out remaining sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to cover pie. Brush rim of bottom pastry with water and place second sheet of pastry directly on top. Using kitchen scissors or a paring knife, trim off excess dough. Use a fork to crimp the edges of the pie together and help the sheets of pastry adhere.
- Cut a few small slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape. Brush top of pie with beaten egg. Bake until pastry is puffed and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
Heat is an integral aspect of Arizona cooking, so it’s no surprise that local chiles of all kinds accent the flavor of Thanksgiving. Cooks use them in everything from hatch turkey rubs to chipotle mashed potatoes to jalapeño jelly.
This cranberry sauce, adapted from the Phoenix-based chef Gina Buskirk, is spiced with chiltepin chiles, small, round, fiery hot chiles that are native to Arizona and northern Mexico. Though Ms. Buskirk is known locally for her Italian Gina’s Homemade products, this year she and her husband and business partner, Chris, have put together an Arizona Thanksgiving menu for their YouTube channel. Their turkey is hand-rubbed with local hatch chiles, their bread stuffing incorporates chorizo and queso blanco, and a prickly-pear pie stands in for pumpkin. MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN
Turkey and Gravy
Arkansas is the land of turkey and gravy. The state is one of the top turkey producers in the country, and its cooks are well versed in everything from red-eye gravy from a cast-iron pan to the chocolate gravy of the Ozarks, eaten with biscuits for breakfast.
P. Allen Smith is sort of like Martha Stewart’s Southern cousin. He has a cooking and lifestyle empire, but his true love is heritage poultry. He founded a conservancy to protect and improve the genetics of old breeds of birds, and raises several on his Moss Mountain farm near Little Rock.
Heritage birds can be tricky to roast; the flesh is firmer than a supermarket bird. He suggests a day in a brine sweetened with apple cider and then roasting the bird on a bed of rosemary. Roasted giblets and a chopped hard-boiled egg add texture and depth to his country-style gravy.
“That’s from my mother’s side of the family,” he said. “The eggs and giblets make it a little more rustic and a little more interesting. It’s the gravy that saves that dry turkey.” KIM SEVERSON
Roast Heritage Turkey and Gravy
About 4 hours, plus 24 hours’ brining10 to 16 servings
With Kale, Dates
and Turkey Sausage
Sit down with a California chef, and it usually takes only a minute or so before the word “produce” pops up. The state remains extravagantly proud of the bounty of its land, and all of the best West Coast cooks (both in restaurants and in homes) integrate local agricultural blessings into their handiwork.
We can think of no one who does a finer job of that than Suzanne Goin, a Los Angeles native who has adapted Mediterranean cuisine to the Pacific Coast at spots like Lucques, The Hungry Cat and A.O.C. Her stuffing recipe here pays tribute to the whole length of the state, with nods to the sourdough that you associate with fog-strewn San Francisco and to the almonds and dates of the Central Valley. As Ms. Goin explained in an email, “There is no egg and no real attempt to emulsify it like your mom’s stuffing — it’s loose, laid-back and doing its own thing, California-style.” JEFF GORDINIER
Sourdough Stuffing With Kale, Dates and Turkey Sausage
1 hour 15 minutes 8 servings
- 1 (1-pound) loaf sourdough bread
- 10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound turkey sausage, casing removed
- 2 cups diced onions
- ½ sprig rosemary
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
- 2 sliced chile de árbol
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan kale or cavolo nero), about 2 large or 3 small bunches, tough rib stems removed and roughly chopped
- 3 ounces deglet noor dates (about 16), cut in half lengthwise
- 1 cup dry sherry
- 2 cups chicken or turkey stock
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup roughly chopped toasted almonds
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the crust off the bread and tear remaining loaf into 1-inch croutons. Place torn bread on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 4 tablespoons olive oil, squeezing and tossing bread with your hands to help it absorb the oil. Transfer to oven and toast, tossing once or twice, until croutons are golden brown and crispy on the outside but still a little soft and tender inside, 12 to 15 minutes. When croutons have cooled, place them in a large bowl.
- Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and crumble sausage into pan. Sauté, breaking up sausage with a wooden spoon, until browned and just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer sausage to the bowl with the croutons using a slotted spoon.
- Return the pot to medium heat and add 2 more tablespoons olive oil, the onions, the rosemary sprig, the thyme and the chile. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Continue cooking another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until onion is soft and starting to color slightly.
- Add half the kale and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan. Use tongs to turn the greens to coat them in oil and help them wilt and cook down. When there is room in the pan (from the greens wilting), add the rest of the kale and season with another 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. As soon as all the kale has wilted, transfer mixture to the bowl with the croutons and sausage. Remove rosemary. Add dates and stir well to combine.
- Return pot to stove over high heat and carefully pour in sherry. Boil until sherry is reduced by three-quarters, then add stock. Boil until mixture is reduced by half, then swirl in butter until melted.
- Pour hot liquid over crouton-kale mixture. Add almonds and toss well to combine; using tongs or your hands, squeeze and massage the stuffing to integrate the flavors and make sure bread has really soaked in all the liquid.
- Transfer stuffing to a ceramic baking dish or casserole. Cover and bake 15 minutes in the 400-degree oven. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 more minutes, or until top is golden and crisp.
Pecan Pie Bites
It’s difficult to assess exactly how much the legalization of marijuana in Colorado may have changed the Thanksgiving menu. But it has indubitably increased the snacking that goes on afterward, said Alexander Figura, the chef of Lower48 Kitchen in Denver. That post-meal, late-night snacking has taken on a different kind of intensity now that the munchies are involved. “Stoned people gravitate to more extreme flavors,” he said. “They want something very savory or very sweet, or both at the same time.”
His recipe for sticky pecan pie bites dunked into leftover turkey gravy — an after-hours snack among chefs he knows — hits those notes perfectly. The bite-size, bourbon-spiked pecan bars work on their own, too: no gravy or cannabis required. You can bake them up to 5 days in advance. MELISSA CLARK
Pecan Pie Bites With Gravy
1 1/2 hours, plus at least 30 minutes’ chilling2 dozen bars
Quince With Cipollini
Onions and Bacon
English settlers most likely brought quince seeds to Connecticut, where orchards now fill with them every fall. This year, the chef Eric Gorman’s White Silo Farm and Winery in Sherman, which specializes in fruit wines, held its first weekend quince festival, with a number of quince dishes to taste. He plans to serve this one, combining quinces with bacon and onions, for Thanksgiving at the farm. A pinch of nutmeg (we are speaking of the so-called Nutmeg State, after all) adds spice. FLORENCE FABRICANT
Quince With Cipollini Onions and Bacon
45 minutes 6 servings
Du Pont Turkey
Turkey was served often at Winterthur, the ancestral home of the du Pont family, in Delaware. The birds were raised on the estate, in great enough numbers for the family to give them to employees at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The estate was established in 1810 by Eleuthère Irénée du Pont; the house was built in 1837 and opened to the public as a museum of American decorative arts in 1951. Many of its recipes survive, among them one for truffled turkey and stuffing, which Pauline Foster du Pont, Mr. du Pont’s daughter-in-law, included in her personal handwritten cookbook.
First, three pounds of zucchini were boiled, then peeled, mashed and seasoned with salt, pepper and butter. This was the stuffing. Then the contents of an entire can of black truffles were sliced and slipped under the turkey’s skin. To serve, the meat was carved and then put back in its skin so that the turkey appeared to be whole. In this adaptation, the bird is rubbed with truffle butter, and the zucchini (finely chopped, not mashed) is bolstered with bread crumbs and more truffle butter. But it does not suggest replicating the reassembled turkey. The du Ponts had staff for that. You will have enough to do at Thanksgiving without attempting it. FLORENCE FABRICANT
Du Pont Turkey With Truffled Zucchini Stuffing
4 hours, plus overnight chilling10 to 12 servings
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
President Obama’s first state dinner at the White House, just before Thanksgiving in November 2009, honored Manmohan Singh, then the prime minister of India, and his wife, Gursharan Kaur. The chef for the dinner was Marcus Samuelsson, who decided to incorporate some Indian touches into the menu. Both naan and cornbread were served, and the dessert for each of the 400 guests was a pear Tatin and a pumpkin pie tartlet.
“I flavored what I consider a very American pumpkin pie with a staple of Indian cuisine: garam masala,” Mr. Samuelsson wrote in his new cookbook, “Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook At Home,” where he gives the recipe, but as a large tart, not an individual tartlet. It adds a worldly touch to an American tradition, ideally suited to Washington. FLORENCE FABRICANT
Garam Masala Pumpkin Tart
2 hours 45 minutes 8 to 10 servings
Florida’s cuisine ranges from the deep Southern cooking of the humid, citrus-scented central and northern parts of the state to the more Caribbean-inflected cuisine of the marshy lowlands of Miami and the Keys. Here, the turkey nods to what happened when Cuban culture drifted onto the Thanksgiving tables of South Florida, with a bird dressed in a marinade of sour oranges (a mixture of orange and lime juice works as well) mixed with a lot of garlic and oregano. Serve the bird with black beans and white rice on the side — and a Key lime pie for dessert. SAM SIFTON
6 hours, plus marinating time 10 to 12 servings
- 1 12- to -14- pound turkey, giblets and neck removed
- 2 heads of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons black pepper, plus more to taste
- 2 cups sour orange juice, or 1 cup fresh orange juice and 1 cup fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 orange, cut into quarters
- 1 lime, cut into quarters
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and cut into quarters
- Rinse turkey well in cold water and pat very dry with paper towels.
- Make the marinade: Combine garlic, cumin, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and mash the mixture together with the back of a kitchen spoon to make a kind of paste. Stir sour orange juice (or orange and lime juices) and oil into the paste and whisk to combine. Add oregano leaves and mix again. Reserve 1/2 cup of marinade and put aside.
- Put turkey in a roasting pan that can fit in the refrigerator and cover with remaining marinade, making sure to get a lot of it into the turkey’s open cavity. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least a few hours. Baste a few times with marinade.
- When ready to cook, heat oven to 450 degrees. Remove turkey from marinade and place on a clean cutting board. Discard marinade and clean roasting pan well. Return turkey to roasting pan, tuck the tips of the wings under the bird and shower it with salt and pepper. Place orange, lime and onion quarters in the turkey’s cavity, then truss its legs together with cotton string. Roast turkey, uncovered, in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees. Baste turkey with pan juices, and add remaining marinade to the pan. Continue roasting turkey, basting every 30 minutes and tenting it with foil if the skin is turning too dark, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165 degrees, approximately 2 hours 45 minutes to 3 hours more. Transfer to a cutting board or platter and allow to rest at least 30 minutes before carving.
Pecan pie is to the Southern Thanksgiving table what pumpkin, mince and apple pies are to the Northern version of the meal. Pecan trees can be found in back and front yards in Georgia, Texas and states in between, and pecan pie is a year-round dessert. The classic rendition is cloyingly sweet, because of the cup or cup and a half of corn syrup that most recipes call for. But you can dispense with the corn syrup and use a combination of mild honey (like clover or acacia) and Lyle’s Golden Syrup, which has a wonderful flavor that is almost like light molasses. It’s not the standard corn syrup, but you’ll end up with a pie that’s lighter but still sweet, true to Southern style. MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN
1 hour 45 minutes, plus several hours’ chilling 9-inch pie, 8 to 12 servings
- 8 ounces/222 grams French-style butter (82 percent fat), at room temperature
- ¾ teaspoon/6 grams salt
- 2 tablespoons/30 grams sugar
- 3 cups/375 grams flour, sifted
- 4 tablespoons/2 ounces/60 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup/118 milliliters mild honey, such as clover or acacia
- ¼ cup/59 milliliters Lyle’s Golden Syrup
- 1 teaspoon/5 milliliters vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon/15 milliliters dark rum
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 4 extra-large eggs
- 2 cups/235 grams shelled pecans
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving
- Mix butter, salt and sugar in a standing mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Add flour and mix on low speed just until ingredients come together. Add 6 tablespoons water and mix only until dough comes together; if it doesn’t come together right away, add another tablespoon water. Do not overmix. Scrape mixture out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a square. Wrap well and refrigerate overnight.
- Very lightly butter a 9-inch pie dish. Divide dough into two equal pieces. Refrigerate one piece while you roll out the other. Ease the dough into the bottom edges of the pan and crimp the top edge. Pierce the bottom in several places with a fork. Refrigerate uncovered for several hours or overnight. (Other dough half may be rolled out and frozen for up to 3 months.)
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line crust with parchment and fill with pie weights. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully remove pie weights and parchment. Return crust to oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool completely.
- Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Cream butter in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, or in a food processor. Add honey and golden syrup and cream together until smooth. Scrape down bowl and beater. Add vanilla, rum, nutmeg and salt and mix. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each one until incorporated before adding next.
- Fill pie shell with pecans and smooth them out to make an even layer. Scrape in butter and egg mixture, using a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl clean. Place on a baking sheet and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until nuts are lightly browned and filling is just about set. The filling will puff up and may be bubbling, but it will settle as it cools. Do not overbake; if you leave it in too long, it will crack. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Mochi Rice Stuffing
Thanksgiving dinner in Hawaii may start with pineapple-Vienna-sausage skewers and lychees stuffed with cream cheese. Later there is turkey and ham, but also Spam fried rice and Filipino lumpia, maybe poke (sashimi salad), laulau (ti-leaf-wrapped meat or fish) and a Molokai sweet potato pie topped with haupia (coconut pudding). It is the crazy-quilt, all-embracing nature of the feast that makes it local-kine — that is, island-style.
Lara Mui Cowell of Honolulu offers this recipe from her popo (maternal grandmother), Jannie Luke Thom, a second-generation Chinese-American who was born in Hawaii before it became a state. The dish is a Chinese take on Western-style sage stuffing, swapping out bread crumbs for mochi rice and adding lup cheong (Chinese sausage) and char siu (Chinese barbecue pork). But in true Hawaiian style, you may substitute Portuguese sausage — or even Spam. LIGAYA MISHAN
Mochi Rice Stuffing
1 hour 8 to 10 servings
There may never be a better book title than “Aristocrat in Burlap,” a dramatic biography of the Idaho potato, from the first seedlings cultivated by Presbyterian missionaries in the 1840s (with considerable help from Native Americans) to the brown-skinned Burbanks that built today’s $2.7 billion industry. The large size of Idaho potatoes — often 3 to 4 pounds each in the 19th century, nourished by volcanic soil and Snake River water — is the source of the mystique.
The Hasselback potato, named for the hotel in Stockholm where the recipe was invented in the 1950s, shows off the sheer mass of the Idaho potato like nothing else. In the original, the potato is wrapped in bacon, but you can get good smoky flavor and a gorgeous ruddy color by using smoked paprika. JULIA MOSKIN
Hasselback Potatoes With Garlic-Paprika Oil
1 hour 15 minutes 8 to 16 servings
Pumpkin Soup With
Ancho and Apple
Chances are the contents of that can of pumpkin purée you may be using for pie, soup, biscuits, custard, ice cream or bread came from Illinois. It’s the state that produces the most pumpkin for canning. This vibrant soup, from the chef Rick Bayless, an owner of Frontera Grill and Topolobamo in Chicago, is inspired by Mexico, where pumpkin is as typical an ingredient as the pepitas, ancho chile, canela and crema that are also in the recipe. His original calls for fresh squash or pumpkin — about 1 1/2 pounds, peeled, seeded, cut in chunks and added to the pot with the apple. But Mr. Bayless was amenable to adapting his recipe for canned purée, a homage to Illinois. FLORENCE FABRICANT
Pumpkin Soup With Ancho and Apple
1 hour 6 to 8 servings
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
- 1 medium onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 dried ancho chile, stemmed, seeded and torn in small strips
- 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon, preferably Mexican canela
- 3 cups plain canned pumpkin (about 1 1/2 cans)
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup Mexican crema, or crème fraîche, mascarpone or sour cream
- Melt butter in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Add half the pepitas and the onion and cook, stirring, on medium heat, until the onion is golden and the pepitas have started to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the chile pieces, cook a minute or two, then add the apple, black pepper, cinnamon and pumpkin.
- Stir in 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the remaining pepitas on medium heat and set aside.
- Pureé the soup in a blender. (You will need two shifts.) Return the soup to saucepan and season with salt and the sugar. Serve the soup in warm bowls with a dollop of crema and a sprinkling of toasted pepitas on top.
Wild persimmons start to blush along the country roads of Indiana in late September, stealing the colors of sunset and weighing down their trees like Christmas balls. They are native to the landscape, unlike the Chinese and Japanese varieties cultivated in California and found in grocery stores. Foraging carries on through November, when the fruit claims a place at the Hoosier Thanksgiving table in the form of a dark gold pudding, distant kin to the sweet persimmon bread offered to early colonials by the Cherokee.
This recipe comes from Alverta S. Hart of Mitchell, Ind. This fall, the town hosted its annual Persimmon Festival and as always, the most suspenseful event was the persimmon pudding contest. Ms. Hart submitted her first pudding in 1962 as an 18-year-old bride, and re-entered every year for nearly four decades until she became a judge, then chairwoman of the event, winning on and off and collecting every color of ribbon along the way. LIGAYA MISHAN
1 hour 40 minutes 10 servings
Fifty or a hundred years ago, community cookbooks were as essential to a well-stocked American kitchen as rotary egg beaters. These spiral-bound compilations created as charity fund-raisers, often using local recipes, have been largely sidelined by the flood of professional cookbooks that are published every year.
Those are not likely to include recipes for suet pudding and lye soap, like the ones in “Treasured Recipes Old and New 1975” by the Schuyler-Brown Homemakers Extension in Iowa Falls. The book includes these date and walnut Thanksgiving cookies, contributed by Wilma Miller, who credits the recipe to her great-aunt. Ms. Miller wrote that the original recipe called for two pounds of walnuts, but that she prefers it with pecans “and not that many.” That makes sense. Mixing in even a pound of nuts requires the arms of a sturdy farm wife. The recipe yields enough for an entire church supper. FLORENCE FABRICANT
2 hours 6 to 7 dozen cookies
- 2 ½ cups/350 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon/5 grams salt
- 1 teaspoon/3 grams cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon/1 1/2 grams ground cloves
- 8 ounces/2 sticks/227 grams soft unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups/300 grams light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon/13 grams baking soda
- 1 pound/450 grams chopped pitted dates
- 1 pound/450 grams chopped walnuts or pecans
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line one or more baking sheets with parchment. Place flour in a bowl and whisk in the salt, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.
- Cream butter and brown sugar together by hand or in an electric mixer. Beat in eggs. The mixture will not be smooth. Dissolve the baking soda in 1 tablespoon hot water and stir it in. Stir in the dates and nuts. The batter will be heavy and not easy to mix. Work in the flour mixture, about a third at a time. If your electric mixer has a dough hook, use it for working in the flour.
- Scoop heaping teaspoons of batter onto prepared baking sheet or sheets, making craggy mounds about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Space them about 1 1/2 inches apart; the cookies will not spread very much. (Alternatively, for neater cookies, you can roll the batter into balls between your palms, then lightly press them down with the back of a spoon or the tines of a fork.) Allow to sit at room temperature 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking. Depending on the size of your oven and your baking sheets, you can form the cookies ready to bake on sheets of parchment paper on your countertop, then transfer them to baking sheets in shifts.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until nicely browned. Let cool, then dust with sifted confectioners’ sugar. If you plan to freeze some of the cookies, do not dust them with confectioners’ sugar; wait until after they thaw.
When Fred Harvey opened his first Harvey House restaurant in 1876 on the railway line in Topeka, Kan., his idea was radical for the time: Railroad passengers would be fed good food in a pleasant environment by a cadre of wholesome young women shipped in from the East. His concept was so successful that it spawned 84 restaurants, a Hollywood movie and an official cookbook. And it was in “The Harvey House Cookbook” by George H. Foster and Peter C. Weiglin that we found this excellent recipe for sweet potatoes candied with confectioners’ sugar and butter. As the whole thing bakes, the sugar melts and caramelizes, becoming a brittle and crunchy shell covering the soft orange potatoes within. This dish is best served warm rather than piping hot, which makes it convenient for Thanksgiving. Bake it before you roast your turkey, then reheat it briefly just before serving. MELISSA CLARK
Harvey House Candied Sweet Potatoes
1 hour 15 minutes 10 to 12 servings
In a lot of states, people don’t just eat food on Thanksgiving; they hunt for it. Lora Smith, a writer and farmer with roots in Kentucky, sends along a recipe. handed down from her great-grandmother, for her family’s “pocket” dressing: a baked patty of dressing that slides easily into the pockets and knapsacks of rabbit and quail hunters. The Smiths also have the patties at the table, where they are passed around on a platter.
Texture is key. The outside must be browned and crisp. Inside, softness comes from cornbread and biscuits, and chewiness from foraged mushrooms. A family member (traditionally, the oldest matriarch) leaves a thumbprint indentation on each patty before baking, so that a little gravy can settle and soak in.
The hunt continued through Thanksgiving weekend. “They’d again take the leftover dressing wrapped in wax paper with them, and sometimes turkey sandwiches or turkey with fresh biscuits pulled out of the oven that morning,” Ms. Smith said. “My father always carried a small backpack where he kept extra leftovers and cold bottles of Coke. His other job was to carry the rabbits and quail they shot in the backpack.” When the weather was especially chilly, the patties solved another problem. According to Ms. Smith, “they also served as nice hand warmers.” JEFF GORDINIER
The mirliton is a pale green squash with an end puckered up like a toothless granny. They are native to Louisiana, but if you grew up eating from certain Latin American culinary canons, you might know them as chayote.
In New Orleans, mirliton stuffed with shrimp is a dish both common and fancy. The chef David Guas, who grew up in Louisiana and now runs the Bayou Bakery in Washington, D.C., ate this version at his Granny Lilly’s holiday table in Amite, La. His recipe is a version of her original, but with a touch of heat from cayenne pepper as influenced by Justin Wilson, a relative who had a long-running cooking show on New Orleans public television that he punctuated with the tagline “I guaranteeeeee!”
Use the freshest shrimp you can find. Something from the Gulf of Mexico would lend authenticity. And be careful scooping the flesh from the mirlitons. The skin is thin and can break easily. KIM SEVERSON
Maine did not become a state until 1820, and the history of its Thanksgivings is inextricably linked with those of its former administrators in Massachusetts. A 1949 McCall’s magazine article about the Sortwell family Thanksgiving in Wiscasset highlighted the family’s 150-year history of serving New England roast turkey on “a damask-covered table heavy with the good fruits of the land.” The photograph could have been made in Boston or Marblehead.
More recently, the state’s bounteous lobster harvest (some 126 million pounds in 2013, the most recent figure) has led local cooks to introduce lobster to the Thanksgiving table. The following recipe for lobster mac and cheese, a variation on a classic plain recipe that Julia Moskin published in The Times, is a rich and shockingly flavorful addition to the holiday feast, and requires only a single lobster to serve six or eight. SAM SIFTON
Lobster Mac and Cheese
1 hour 40 minutes 6 to 8 servings
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 ½ pound lobster
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
- ½ pound macaroni or elbow pasta, uncooked
- Fill a large pot with salted water and set it over high heat to come to a boil. Plunge lobster into water and cover pot. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it is bright red. Check doneness by pulling an antenna; if it comes off without resistance, the lobster is done. Remove lobster to a bowl and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 375 degrees, with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Use a tablespoon of butter to butter a 9-inch-square baking pan.
- In a blender, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne and nutmeg, and lightly season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, add grated cheese and uncooked pasta and stir well to combine. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, crack lobster claws and tail over the bowl and remove the meat, reserving all liquid that comes out of the lobster. Roughly chop lobster meat.
- Uncover baking pan, gently stir in lobster meat and up to 2 tablespoons of the reserved lobster juices, and dot with remaining tablespoon of butter. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes more, until browned on top. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
In the Chesapeake, seafood often finds its way onto the Thanksgiving menu. But in Baltimore, which has a strong eastern European and German immigrant history, the holiday table demands something else. “The absence of sauerkraut when turkey is present, Thanksgiving included, is unthinkable, comparable to potatoes without gravy or crisp French fries without ketchup,” wrote John Shields, the chef and owner of Gertrude’s restaurant in Baltimore, in his cookbook “Chesapeake Bay Cooking.” (Sauerkraut is a mainstay well beyond Thanksgiving; Gertrude’s hosts an annual Krautfest in January.)
Traditionally, homemakers fermented the cabbage in earthenware crocks in their cellars, but these days the fresh stuff is available to buy. On Thanksgiving, it’s often simply served as a side, or incorporated into dishes like this, in which the sauerkraut is braised in beer with bacon and apples. JENNIFER STEINHAUER
Sauerkraut and Apples
55 minutes 8 servings
Massachusetts is the birthplace of the iconic Thanksgiving tableau, the home to Norman Rockwell, whose 1943 painting “Freedom From Want” gives Americans its most enduring vision of the holiday table. It is also home to one of the largest Portuguese-American communities in the United States and the source of one of the nation’s most flavorful hyphenated cuisines. Matthew Jennings, the chef and an owner of the forthcoming Townsman restaurant in Boston, pays homage to that cooking with a New Bedford-style Thanksgiving dressing made with local Massachusetts quahog clams and the Portuguese sausage known as chouriço. Fresh chorizo is an acceptable substitution, but canned clams are not. SAM SIFTON
Clam and Chouriço Dressing
1 hour 10 servings
- 6 cups stale country bread, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (1 1/4 pounds)
- 1 pound fresh chouriço sausage (or use fresh chorizo), casing removed
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 large white onion, diced (2 cups)
- 4 stalks celery, diced (1 1/2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- ½ bunch fresh parsley, chopped (2/3 cup)
- 1 dozen shucked and chopped quahog clams, liquor reserved (see note)
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly toasted; set aside.
- Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add sausage. Sauté, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until fat has rendered and sausage is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a large bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat left in the pan.
- Add garlic, onion, celery, thyme and sage to pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove vegetables to bowl with sausage.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan, until foam subsides and butter just begins to brown and smell nutty.
- Add bread cubes, mustard, parsley, brown butter, clams and clam liquor to bowl with sausage and vegetables and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer dressing to a baking dish and bake until golden brown and crisp on top, about 15 minutes.
While all sorts of products, like oysters, were coming by boat from the East to Michigan and the rest of the Midwest during the pioneer period, the European families who settled there generally liked to stick to their ethnic traditions. “In the Upper Peninsula, there were the Finlanders, and they had Cornish hens,” said Priscilla Massie, a co-author of the cookbook “Walnut Pickles and Watermelon Cake: A Century of Michigan Cooking.” Then there were the Germans families, who, Ms. Massie said, tended to adopt Thanksgiving first. Their tangy baked potato salad can be found on many tables around the state to this day, made easy by a crop that’s available statewide. JENNIFER STEINHAUER
Baked German Potato Salad
1 hour 25 minutes 8 to 10 servings
This grape salad, which falls into the same category of old-fashioned party dishes as molded Jell-O salad, comes from a Minnesota-born heiress, who tells me it was always part of the holiday buffet in her family. It couldn’t be simpler to prepare and has only three ingredients: grapes, sour cream and brown sugar.
Rather like a creamy fruit salad with a crisp sugar topping, it really is delicious, though the concept sounded strange to me before I first tasted it. Other versions, I hear, call for softened cream cheese and nondairy “whipped topping”; I can’t say I’ll be trying that. Some cooks caramelize the brown sugar under the broiler and some don’t, but I definitely recommend this step, which gives the dish a crème brûlée aura. DAVID TANIS
30 minutes, plus at least 1 hour chilling time8 servings
Smoked Ham Hock
Greens have always had a symbolic role on the Southern table. A pot of greens is the food of the fields, of grandmas and of barbecues. It’s a dish rooted in both the black South and the white South, but one that unites every Southerner in the communion of the table. At Thanksgiving, soft greens with a kiss of pork are a natural part of the lineup.
Hayden and Erica Hall are Mississippi natives who left Clarksdale, the birthplace of the blues, for bigger cities. He worked for chefs like Wolfgang Puck. She worked on Capitol Hill. Together, the couple returned home in 2010 to open Oxbow Restaurant. They offer this recipe, in which collard greens are braised in amber ale. (They like Yalobusha Copperhead from Water Valley, Miss.) The ale is essential, as is a ham hock. Red pepper flakes and apple cider vinegar give the greens a sharp edge, a welcome respite on a bland plate of turkey and potatoes. KIM SEVERSON
St. Louis Gooey
Legend has it that the St. Louis gooey butter cake originated by accident in the 1930s, when a baker mixed up the proportion of butter in one of his coffee cakes. Rather than throw it out, he sold it by the square, and the sugary, sticky confection was a hit. Naturally, a slice of gooey cake ends up next to — or in place of — the pumpkin pie at many a Missourian’s Thanksgiving table. Some bakers like to add pumpkin and spices to the gooey filling. Not so in this yeast-risen version from Molly Killeen, the St. Louis native behind Made by Molly, a dessert company in Brooklyn. Her recipe is soft-centered, crisp-edged and not too sweet. The leftovers are excellent for breakfast the next morning. MELISSA CLARK
St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake
1 1/2 hours, plus about 3 hours’ rising 16 to 20 servings
- 3 tablespoons/45 milliliters milk at room temperature
- 1 ¾ teaspoons/5 grams active dry yeast
- 6 tablespoons/85 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons/45 grams sugar
- 1 teaspoon/5 grams kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 ¾ cups/215 grams all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon/50 milliliters light corn syrup
- 2 ½ teaspoons/10 milliliters vanilla extract
- 12 tablespoons/170 grams/1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups/300 grams sugar
- ½ teaspoon/3 grams kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons/145 grams all-purpose flour
- Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling
- In a small bowl, mix milk with 2 tablespoons warm water. Add yeast and whisk gently until it dissolves. Mixture should foam slightly.
- Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and the milk mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition. Beat dough on medium speed until it forms a smooth mass and pulls away from sides of bowl, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Press dough into an ungreased 9-by 13-inch baking dish at least 2 inches deep. Cover dish with plastic wrap or clean tea towel, put in a warm place, and allow to rise until doubled, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare topping, in a small bowl, mix corn syrup with 2 tablespoons water and the vanilla. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and corn syrup mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.
- Spoon topping in large dollops over risen cake and use a spatula to gently spread it in an even layer. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes; cake will rise and fall in waves and have a golden brown top, but will still be liquid in center when done. Allow to cool in pan before sprinkling with confectioners’ sugar for serving.
“Thanksgiving here is about hunting rather than football,” said Errol Rice of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. The season for hunting big game comes to a close in the last, best place on the Thanksgiving weekend, and those who have not yet bagged a buck are known, said Dennis Konopatzke, the proprietor of Great Northern Brewing Company in Whitefish, to rush their holiday dinners in order to get out to the woods to hunt.
You’ll find huckleberries on Thanksgiving tables in Montana, Mr. Konopatzke added, or the Norwegian cured fish known as lutefisk, or pork pies and stuffed pasties, all nods to the state’s diverse history of settlers from afar. But game is the game. What follows is a recipe honed over the years by the members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for a marinade that works on wild venison perfectly and most other proteins as well. Broil some steaks and pair the result with traditional Thanksgiving side dishes. SAM SIFTON
Marinated Venison Steaks
30 minutes, plus 8 to 12 hours’ marinating6 servings
Turkey French Dip
Like many restaurant workers toiling in Las Vegas, Eric Klein, the executive chef at Spago, spends Thanksgiving Day on the line, dishing out turkey and trimmings to vacationing high rollers. Time with family and friends comes after the holiday. While the rest of the city combs shopping arcades for Black Friday deals, he’s making magic with the leftovers.
One of his favorites is this play on a French dip sandwich. Shredded turkey stands in for the usual beef, while gravy, thinned out to make it brothlike, replaces the jus for dipping. To this he adds the requisite leftover stuffing, and he folds the cranberry sauce into a fragrant and creamy aioli. He likes to crumble mild blue cheese over the top of his sandwich for extra pizazz, but feel free to leave it out if you’re feeling more traditional. MELISSA CLARK
Turkey French Dip
15 minutes 2 servings
- ¼ cup leftover cranberry sauce
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons apple or mango chutney, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups leftover shredded turkey meat
- 1 ⅓ cups warm gravy
- Salt, as needed
- 1 cup leftover stuffing
- 1 ounce mild blue cheese, crumbled (optional)
- 2 hoagie rolls, split
- In a small bowl, whisk together cranberry sauce, mayonnaise and chutney. In a small pot, heat together turkey and 2/3 cup of the gravy.
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Place remaining gravy in a serving dish and stir in enough boiling water to make it thin enough to use as a sandwich dip. It should be like a rich broth. Season with salt if needed.
- Spread chutney mixture over cut side of bread halves. Make sandwiches with turkey, stuffing and blue cheese, if you like. Cut sandwiches in half and dip in the warm, thin gravy as you eat them.
Dublin, N.H., is the home of Yankee Magazine, founded by Robb Sagendorph in 1935, “for Yankee readers, by Yankee writers, and about Yankeedom.” Its brief: to express and preserve New England culture, from pretty farm towns to curiosities found in the barn. Does that culture see its highest form in a recipe for a classic New England roast turkey, the sort that has adorned tables from Portsmouth north for generations? It very well may. What follows is an adaptation of an old Yankee recipe that is as solid and unfancy as granite itself. Old-line New Englanders may be tempted to soak an old cotton button-down dress shirt in butter and drape it over the bird for the first two hours. But this is not necessary. SAM SIFTON
New England Roast Turkey
4 1/2 hours, plus at least 12 hours’ brining12 or more servings
For many Italian-American families, in New Jersey and elsewhere, the Thanksgiving smorgasbord doesn’t feel quite right without a little touch of red sauce. So you say: “Manicotti? That doesn’t really go with turkey and stuffing and cranberries.” What, you want to argue about it? Besides, Thanksgiving also represents an American expression of abbondanza, the Italian concept of too-muchness that makes a meal feel epic.
Here, courtesy of Reservoir Tavern, which has been serving customers in the Boonton area since 1936, comes a recipe for baked manicotti that uses crepes in place of pasta. Nicola Bevacqua, a member of the family that owns the place, said that his own family digs into this melted-cheese masterwork each holiday, as do the New Jersey locals who drop by to pick it up. The crepes, he assured us, “are light and airy and will leave you plenty of room for the turkey.” JEFF GORDINIER
3 hours 10 to 12 servings
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large white onion, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more as needed
- ⅛ teaspoon sugar
- 4 fresh basil leaves, minced
- 8 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 pounds ricotta
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella (from about 10 ounces)
- 1 cup grated Parmesan (from about 2 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 cup grated pecorino Romano (from about 2 ounces), plus more for serving
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper and sugar and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours. Add basil, season to taste with salt and pepper, and let cool.
- Meanwhile, make the crepe batter: In a large bowl, whisk six eggs with 1 1/2 cups of water. Gradually add flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt, whisking gently until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- While batter chills, make the filling: In a large bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, the remaining two eggs, the parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper and the nutmeg. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble the manicotti.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees and lightly brush two 9-by 13-inch baking dishes with oil.
- Make the crepes: Remove batter from fridge and whisk it briefly. Heat about 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil in an 8-inch nonstick pan over medium heat. Add about 3 tablespoons of batter, lifting and swirling the pan to spread a thin, even layer of batter on the bottom of the pan. Cook until batter starts to appear dry, about 30 seconds, then carefully flip crepe over and continue cooking for another 30 seconds. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining crepe batter, adding oil every few crepes and adjusting heat as necessary.
- Assemble the manicotti: Spread 3 to 4 tablespoons filling down the center of a crepe. Roll it up and place it, seam-side-down, in one of the baking dishes. Repeat with remaining crepes and filling. Divide marinara sauce between two baking dishes, spreading it evenly over the manicotti, then bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle each baking dish with about 1/2 cup pecorino Romano and continue baking until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is just starting to brown, about 10 minutes more.
WHAT MAKES THANKSGIVING IN NEW JERSEY?
On Facebook, readers said: “Lasagna.” “Sausage stuffing.” “A gigantic antipasto.”
Red Chile Turkey
Anyone who has spent time in New Mexico knows that fiery red chile sauce, made with local dried chiles, finds its way into most meals there, enhancing plates of huevos rancheros or enchiladas. But just as often, it is the base for a meat stew, usually beef, pork or lamb. The dish is known as carne adovada, and it is insanely good.
Yes, there probably is a roasted turkey in most homes for Thanksgiving, and maybe a steaming pot of tamales. But the thought occurred to me that turkey thighs (the tastiest part of the bird) simmered in red chile would be a welcome substitute. It turns out I was right. Slowly braised for 2 hours, this spicy turkey is succulent and tender. DAVID TANIS
Slow-Cooked Red Chile Turkey
About 3 hours 8 to 10 servings
Double Apple Pie
Although a golden-domed apple pie may be an iconic Thanksgiving dessert across the country, it is particularly apropos to New York. There is the Big Apple itself — a nickname for the city that’s said to have its origins in horse-racing slang, not the orchards throughout the state, though they make New York the second-largest apple producer in the country. The state also happens to be home to the very first apple nursery in the country (1730).
No matter where you bake it, this particular apple pie recipe is a keeper. Gently spiced with cinnamon, tinged with brown sugar and loaded with apple butter, it’s as deeply flavored as an apple pie can be, all covered with a buttery wide-lattice top crust. Although it’s at its most ethereal when baked on the same day you serve it, it’s still wonderful made a day ahead. MELISSA CLARK
Double Apple Pie
2 1/2 hours, plus at least 3 1/2 hours’ chilling and cooling8 servings
North Carolina and sweet potatoes go way back. The relationship, according to the food writer Sheri Castle, hinges on a history of abundance. “Sweet potatoes were plentiful, even among the poorest folks of any ethnicity,” she said. “Enslaved Africans used sweet potatoes in place of yams and other West African root vegetables.” To this day, the state is a national leader in growing the crop.
Stephanie L. Tyson, the chef who oversees the kitchen at a Winston-Salem spot called (appropriately) Sweet Potatoes, likes to blend one Southern staple into another. The result is a cornbread laced with a holiday-friendly undercurrent of cinnamon and nutmeg. Ms.Tyson has said that the cornbread just clicks with a side of greens, but we have a feeling it will play well with cranberries and gravy, too. JEFF GORDINIER
Sweet Potato Cornbread
45 minutes 12 muffins
Lefse, thin potato-dough flatbreads like Scandinavian tortillas, or Oslo injera, can be found on holiday tables throughout the upper Midwest, wherever Norwegian families settled to farm. The recipe is adapted from Ethel Ramstad, 90, who learned it from one Ollie Amundson in North Dakota decades ago. We picked it up when she was teaching it to Molly Yeh, 25, a Chicago-raised food blogger marrying Ms. Ramstad’s great-nephew, on a farm in the Red River Valley, right before Thanksgiving.
The riced potato mixture that forms the basis of the dough should be very, very cold when it is rolled out, to prevent stickiness. And although you do not need a lefse griddle to make great lefse, a lefse stick — essentially a long, thin, wooden spatula — is an admirable investment in success. SAM SIFTON
2 hours 20 minutes, plus 3 to 12 hours’ resting About 18 large or 36 small lefse
- 5 pounds/2 1/4 kilograms red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into uniform size
- ⅔ cup/158 milliliters neutral oil, such as canola
- 1 (5-ounce) can/148 milliliters evaporated milk
- ½ cup/100 grams sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 ½ to 3 cups/312 to 375 grams all-purpose flour, more as needed
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook potatoes until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well.
- Rice potatoes into a large bowl, continuing until you have 8 cups. Add oil, evaporated milk, sugar and salt, and mix well. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.
- When ready to make lefse, add 2 1/2 cups flour and mix well. Divide dough into two logs if you have a lefse grill, and four if you do not. Dough should be sticky and hold together, but not so sticky it’s impossible to work with; if necessary, add remaining 1/2 cup flour. Cut each log into 9 or 10 pieces, shape into small balls and place on plates in refrigerator.
- If you have a lefse grill, heat it to 400 degrees. If you don’t have a lefse grill, set a wide, low-lipped nonstick pan over medium-high heat.
- Generously dust work space with flour and flour a rolling pin. Roll one dough ball in flour, then use the heel of your hand to press it into a thick disk. If you have a lefse grill, gently roll dough into a large, thin circle (if you are using a regular pan, roll into a thin circle just smaller than the size of your pan), lifting and flipping frequently so it doesn’t stick; use more flour as needed. Brush excess flour from dough. Use a lefse stick to carefully transfer to grill (use a thin spatula if cooking in a pan). Cook for 1 minute, or until lefse is steaming and small bubbles appear on uncooked side. Using lefse stick or spatula, flip lefse and cook for 45 seconds or so. Place lefse on a clean dish towel and cover with another. Repeat, stacking lefse atop one another between the dish towels.
English Pea and
Jonathon Sawyer is no snob. Although he runs the kitchens in a slew of acclaimed restaurants in the Cleveland area, including The Greenhouse Tavern, the chef decided to honor Thanksgiving and his home state, Ohio, by sending along a personal recipe that calls to mind the processed-food delights that, for decades, characterized the cooking of the Midwest. “Think of this salad as a little slice of nostalgia from the canned-and-frozen households of the mid-20th century,” he wrote in an email.
Mr. Sawyer recommends frozen peas (“I think frozen peas are magical,” he said) and organic eggs, but over the years he has seen the dish made with Miracle Whip, cubes of cheese from the deli, powdered Ranch dressing, French’s fried onions. “The real goal of having a salad like this on the holiday table is it’s a tart, sweet and delicious break from the overindulgence of roasted birds, velvety gravy and buttery potatoes,” he said. And hey, that break from the overindulgence happens to have bacon in it. JEFF GORDINIER
Green Bean Casserole
Green bean casserole is unheard-of on Thanksgiving tables in New England, said Clifford A. Wright, author of the casserole cookbook “Bake Until Bubbly.” But as you move through the Midwest and down into Oklahoma, where the casserole is king, it is a cornerstone of the holiday meal. When this reporter asked some Oklahomans about their Thanksgiving staples, the now-traditional green bean casserole — which originated in 1955 in the Campbell Soup Company test kitchen and came to include frozen or canned green beans, canned cream of mushroom soup, Durkee French Fried Onions and a Ritz cracker or cornflake topping — turned up in every response.
This version pays tribute to the classic but upgrades its components. The cream of mushroom soup is replaced with crème fraîche and sautéed mushrooms; bacon and Gruyère are added to the mix; fresh green beans stand in for frozen (though you could use frozen in a pinch); and bread crumbs swap in for the Ritz crackers — though Mr. Wright said the Ritz topping is surprisingly good. MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN
Green Bean Casserole
1 1/4 hours 6 to 8 servings
With Pinot Noir
Some of the best wine on the planet comes from Oregon, and with this recipe Jenn Louis, the chef behind Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern in Portland, has found a way to weave it into the Thanksgiving feast: as a boon companion to cranberries. “Many deep red wines, or port, can overwhelm the punchy berry,” Ms. Louis wrote in an email. “Instead, Oregon pinot noir keeps the cranberry sauce bright and clean.” The recipe here doesn’t hold back; it is shot through with allspice, cloves, peppercorns, rosemary, cinnamon, vanilla and honey, in a mix that calls to mind the rusticity and abundance of the Pacific Northwest. JEFF GORDINIER
Cranberry Sauce With Pinot Noir
20 minutes, plus cooling 2 1/2 cups
- 10 whole allspice berries
- 10 whole cloves
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 4 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
- 1 ½ cups Oregon pinot noir
- 1 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
- 1 cup clover or wildflower honey
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 6 strips orange zest, about 1 inch by 3 inches, removed with a vegetable peeler
- 2 (4-inch) sprigs rosemary
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla pod
- Combine allspice, cloves and peppercorns in a spice grinder or coffee grinder and pulse until finely ground.
- In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, wine, brown sugar, honey, orange juice, orange zest, rosemary, cinnamon stick and ground spices.
- With the tip of a paring knife, split vanilla pod lengthwise. Use the back of the knife to scrape seeds from pod. Add seeds and pod to pot.
- Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring often, until cranberries have burst and liquid thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and discard zest, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon stick and vanilla pod. Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool.
Betty Groff, the home cook turned proprietor of Groff’s Farm Restaurant, once said that there were only two authentic American cuisines: Pennsylvania Dutch and Creole. Her brown-sugar-glazed bacon represents the former, and she occasionally served it as an hors d’oeuvre at her restaurant, which she started in her family’s 1756 Pennsylvania Dutch farmhouse in Mount Joy in the late 1950s. The restaurant became a place of pilgrimage for food lovers, among them Craig Claiborne, who wrote an article about it in The New York Times in 1965. This recipe, which Ms. Groff said “will amaze every guest,” serves six, but she noted that you can easily scale it up to serve 30, or possibly more. FLORENCE FABRICANT
40 minutes 6 appetizer servings
WHAT MAKES THANKSGIVING IN PENNSYLVANIA?
On Facebook, readers said: “Dutch corn casserole made with Cope’s dried corn.” “Shoofly pie.” “Potato filling: mashed potatoes with browned onions, bread cubes, butter, milk, eggs, salt and pepper, a little sugar and some fresh parsley.”
What does mofongo mean to Puerto Rico? Well, what do biscuits mean to the South, or green chiles to the people of New Mexico? Mofongo, which in its most traditional form is a fried-and-mashed fusion of plantains, pork rinds, garlic and peppers, symbolizes the island’s soul food. It is beloved, even if sometimes misunderstood; it can be vexingly heavy, but when it’s executed properly there’s a righteous balance of crispness and fluff.
For this recipe we went to Jose Enrique, the Puerto Rican chef who’s gaining attention for giving Caribbean cuisine an extra layer of refinement. We asked him for a mofongo for the Thanksgiving table, standing at the ready to soak up gravy and meet your turkey on the tip of a fork. JEFF GORDINIER
50 minutes 6 servings
Indian pudding was a compromise. A mass of cornmeal, milk and molasses, baked for hours, it was born of the Puritans’ nostalgia for British hasty pudding and their adaptation to the ground-corn porridges of their Native American neighbors. Originally served as a first course, it grew sweeter (but not too sweet; Puritanism runs deep) and migrated to the end of supper.
For a proper historical re-enactment of the dish, you need meal stone-ground from Rhode Island whitecap flint corn, a hard, tough-to-crack corn, less sweet but more buttery than hybrid strains. One of the oldest incarnations of the plant, it was cultivated by the local Narragansett and saved from extinction by a few equally flinty Rhode Island farmers. This recipe comes from George Crowther, owner and chef of the Yankee diner Commons Lunch, which has stood on the town square of Little Compton, R.I., since 1966. LIGAYA MISHAN
1 hour 15 minutes 8 servings
Salty Pluff Mud Pie
Community-supported agriculture takes many forms these days: You can subscribe to a weekly delivery of produce from a farm, a monthly cooler from a seafood supplier or a biannual supply of country ham. But only in Charleston, S.C., will you find a C.S.A. for pie. Amy Robinette, who grew up in Spartanburg, S.C., is committed to adapting Southern desserts, which have often come to rely on supersweet and artificial ingredients, back to real food.
In her kitchen, the chocolate chess pie her grandmother always made for Thanksgiving — filled with white sugar, evaporated milk, and cocoa powder — has been adapted to local honey, fresh cream, dark cocoa powder and sea salt from the nearby Bull’s Bay Saltworks. Called salty pluff mud pie, it is her most popular creation. “Pluff” mud is the sticky, sulfurous sediment that lines the bottom of the South Carolina tidal marshes; some say it is the true source of Lowcountry flavor. “I thought it was an awful smell at first,” said Ms. Robinette, who moved to Charleston to attend culinary school and never left. “But now, when I smell pluff mud, I know I’m home.” JULIA MOSKIN
Salty Pluff Mud Pie
1 hour 20 minutes, plus cooling 8 servings
- 1 ½ cups/354 milliliters honey
- 4 ½ tablespoons/32 grams dark cocoa powder
- 6 tablespoons/85 grams butter, cubed
- ¾ cup/180 milliliters heavy cream
- 4 eggs
- 1 chilled, unbaked pie crust in a 9-inch pan
- 2 tablespoons/30 milliliters milk
- Flaky sea salt, for topping
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine honey, cocoa, butter and cream in a large heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and mixture is just starting to simmer.
- Meanwhile, lightly beat 3 eggs in a medium bowl. Very slowly add 1/2 cup of hot honey mixture, whisking constantly. Pour tempered egg mixture back into the pot, whisking constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling. Continue to cook, stirring, until mixture is smooth and thick, 3 to 4 minutes; remove from heat.
- Remove pie crust from refrigerator and flute edges. Whisk together remaining egg and the milk until well combined. Brush egg wash over edge of pie dough, making sure to cover the ins and outs of the fluting.
- Pour filling into pie shell and lightly tap pie plate on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake pie for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until filling is no longer soupy when jiggled. Allow pie to cool for at least 3 hours, then sprinkle with sea salt.
Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen, sisters who run the Four & Twenty Blackbirds bakery in Brooklyn, hail from South Dakota, where their family ran a small restaurant. Kuchen, a German cake topped with fruit that is a staple of the state’s Thanksgiving tables, is central to their childhood memories of the holiday. Their recipe, topped with pears, “looks a little different than those traditionally found in local South Dakota church and community cookbooks,” Melissa Elsen wrote in an email, “but it tastes like it does in my memory (with the addition of cardamom).” That cardamom, it turns out, is key to the dish’s success, with citrus and savory notes that are as pleasant as they are unexpected. SAM SIFTON
1 hour, plus 2 to 3 hours’ rising2 kuchens, 8 servings each
Karen Van Guilder Little grew up in Knoxville, where Thanksgiving always included old-school American brussels sprouts, boiled into submission and doused in butter. “I was the only one who ate them,” she said, “but I was always the weird kid who would eat anything.”
Fast forward to last December, when Ms. Little and her husband, Andrew Little, a chef, opened Josephine in Nashville. Not many states with fewer than seven million people have three major food cities, but Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville are all burgeoning restaurant destinations. And every new place, it seems, has to have killer brussels sprouts. At the Catbird Seat in Nashville, they are dressed with sorghum and ham. At Hog and Hominy in Memphis, they’re slicked with tomato and bacon jams and shocked with mint.
“I knew I couldn’t do bacon, because everybody else had that covered,” Mr. Little said. “I started playing around with peanut butter — it’s rich and salty like bacon — and it just clicked.” The sprouts are never allowed to come off the menu, and grace the Van Guilder/Little Thanksgiving table every year. JULIA MOSKIN
Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Peanut Vinaigrette
50 minutes 8 to 10 servings
WHAT MAKES THANKSGIVING IN TENNESSEE?
On Facebook, Susan Anderson Napolitano said: “Chess pie. My mother grew up making it with her mother in the 1940s, living in Memphis. They didn’t have much money, but they usually had some flour, butter, eggs, vanilla, vinegar, cornmeal and brown and white sugar on hand.”
Tamales are a holiday staple for Mexican-American families from the Rio Grande Valley up to North Texas, and not just at Christmas. “We have a big market for Thanksgiving tamales,” said Cyndi Hall of Tamale Place of Texas, in Leander, near Austin.
Although Ms. Hall said she’s seen more families buy tamales than ever before, many still keep the tradition of coming together to make them. You can cook up a turkey breast or extra legs for tamales to have with the Thanksgiving meal, or make the tamales with leftover turkey for the long weekend.
They aren’t difficult, but they do take time, so the more hands you have for your assembly line, the quicker it goes. Corn husks and masa mix for tamales can be found in markets that sell Mexican ingredients; make sure you get the masa for tamales (Maseca is the most widely available brand), not the finer, drier tortilla masa harina. MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN
4 hours 16 medium-size tamales
- 1 (8-ounce) bag dried corn husks
- 2 cups dried masa mix for tamales (do not use masa harina)
- 5 ounces/ 2/3 cup chilled lard
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup cool chicken or turkey broth
- ½ pound fresh tomatillos, husked
- 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, stemmed (and seeded if desired)
- 2 tablespoons chopped white onion, soaked for 5 minutes in cold water, drained and rinsed
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled
- 6 to 12 cilantro sprigs, plus chopped cilantro for garnish
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
- 1 cup chicken or turkey broth
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon crushed dried chipotle chiles or chipotle powder
- 2 cups/ 1/2 pound shredded cooked turkey
- Prepare the corn husks: Place in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and use a plate to submerge husks. Soak 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the masa: In a medium bowl, mix masa with 11/4 cups hot water. Let cool.
- Combine lard and baking powder in a stand mixer and beat for 1 minute, until light. Add salt and masa in 3 additions, beating at medium-low speed. Gradually add 3/4 cup broth while beating on low speed; beat for another minute or two. Taste for salt. Test to see if masa is aerated enough by dropping 1/2 teaspoon into a cup of water; it should float to the top. Batter should be soft but not runny, holding together on a spoon if you tilt the spoon. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Beat masa again for a couple of minutes, adding remaining broth.
- Meanwhile, make the filling: Place tomatillos in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, flipping them over halfway through, until softened and olive green. Drain and place in a blender. Add green chiles, onion, garlic and cilantro sprigs. Blend until smooth.
- Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatillo purée and stir constantly until it thickens and begins to stick to pan, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth, add salt to taste and bring to a simmer; let simmer 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often. Stir in chipotles. Sauce should be creamy and coat the front and back of a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from heat. Stir in shredded turkey.
- Make the tamales: Select 16 corn husks; look for large ones that have no tears. Take a few more and tear into 16 1/4-inch-wide strips for tying tamales. Use some of the remaining husks to line a steamer that is at least 6 inches deep (or a pasta pot with an insert); reserve a few husks in case you need to double-wrap tamales. Add just enough water to the pot to miss hitting the bottom of the basket.
- Lay a corn husk in front of you and pat dry. Spread a scant 1/4 cup of the masa into a 4-inch square, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border at pointy tapered end of the husk and a roughly 3/4-inch border on the other sides. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of turkey mixture down the middle of the masa. Pull long edges of husk toward each other and join them so that batter is now wrapped around the filling. Fold the two pinched-together edges over in the same direction and wrap the tamale. If it does not seem well wrapped, wrap in a second husk. Fold pointy end up to enclose the bottom and tie with a strip of husk. The wide top end will be open. Stand tamale up, closed end down, in steamer. Repeat with remaining masa and filling. The tamales should be crowded into the steamer so they remain upright. If they don’t, fill spaces with crinkled foil. If tops stick out from top of steamer, trim with scissors.
- Lay unused soaked husks over open tops of tamales. Bring water to a boil, cover pot, reduce heat to medium and steam tamales for 11/2 hours. Meanwhile, bring a kettle of water to a boil to replenish water in bottom of the pot, should it run out (check periodically). Tamales are done when husk comes away easily from the masa; when done, let them sit at least 15 minutes in the pot, uncovered, to firm up. Serve hot.
With Chex Topping
Briar Handly left Vermont for the Rocky Mountains as soon as he finished high school. “I didn’t have much of a plan beyond skiing,” Mr. Handly said. But jobs cooking burgers in turn-and-burn dives led to high-end ski resorts, and then culinary school. Now he’s among a few chefs who are cracking the code of how to make Utah restaurants individual, seasonal and profitable. (Working against 100-mile-an-hour wind gusts and the state’s labyrinthine liquor laws isn’t easy.)
Handle, which opened in Park City in September, is his first restaurant as chef and owner, but he knows the local palate backwards and forwards. “Pudding always sells,” he said. Pudding, like Jell-O (Utah’s official state snack) is a staple at Mormon gatherings, where sugar is a favorite indulgence. (Alcohol, caffeine and nicotine are forbidden by the church.) His sneaky and delicious twist on butterscotch pudding has a breath of whiskey from the High West Distillery across the street; you may leave it out. The Chex streusel brings back every Thanksgiving Day, as he snacked endlessly on bowls of Chex Mix while watching football. JULIA MOSKIN
Early American colonists may not have eaten Cheddar at the first Thanksgiving, but they certainly began to make it in the traditional English manner soon thereafter. At some point the colonies were actually exporting domestic cheese to the mother country, where it was known as Yankee Cheddar.
To some, Cheddar is synonymous with Vermont, even if it is produced in several other states, too. For most, mashed potatoes are an absolute essential for a proper Thanksgiving table. Combining them seems natural, whether customary or not. Using two-year-old aged Vermont Cheddar, which is deeply flavored but not too sharp, gives these creamy mashed potatoes a subtle Cheddar presence, neither overwhelmingly cheesy nor gooey. DAVID TANIS
Vermont Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
45 minutes 8 to 10 servings
As a child of Virginia, Edna Lewis — the African-American chef and cookbook author credited with preserving countless recipes from the old South — was ambivalent about a lot of Thanksgiving standbys that belonged, in her view, to Yankee territory: cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, even turkey.
“But Lewis can’t imagine Thanksgiving without corn pudding,” Molly O’Neill wrote here in The Times in 1992. Plenty of Virginians would agree with her. For them, as for Miss Lewis, this buttery, fluffy dish serves as not only a seasonal bridge — a farewell to summer, with winter chill waiting in the wings — but also as a sweetly welcome blurring of the lines between a side dish and a dessert.
In her essential book “The Taste of Country Cooking,” Miss Lewis, as she was called, wrote that her mother always paired corn pudding with a “casserole made from fresh-dug sweet potatoes.” That strikes us as a partnership worth encouraging. JEFF GORDINIER
1 hour 6 to 8 servings
With Bok Choy
The State of Washington, culinarily speaking, is apples, cherries, wheat. It is wild salmon, crabs, oysters and mussels. And it is mushrooms, a plethora of them. Western Washington’s coastal rainy climate means there are evergreen forests and woodlands galore, which is a boon for avid mycologists, foragers and hunter-gatherers. But the cultivation of mushrooms, especially shiitakes, is a thriving business throughout the state, too, and these can be found simply by going to the grocery store.
Many restaurants there use a pan-Asian palette of ingredients, influenced in part by the Asian-American communities that make up a significant part of the state’s population. Though it may not immediately conjure images of Thanksgiving, this woodsy-looking dish pays tribute to those flavors, and the spirit of cultural mashups on the holiday table: gorgeous glazed shiitakes and tender green bok choi sparked with ginger, sesame and hot pepper. DAVID TANIS
Glazed Shiitake Mushrooms With Bok Choy
30 minutes 6 to 8 servings
When it comes to pawpaw, accept no substitutes. Trust us; we tried. We went to a bunch of experts — scholars who specialize in fruit, plus chefs and cookbook authors who know all about the proud culinary history of Appalachia — and we asked them, “If a home cook doesn’t happen to have any pawpaw, what combination of other fruits and vegetables might work well as a replacement?” We picked up passing nods to sweet potatoes, bananas, papayas, avocados, really ripe mangoes. But in the end everyone came back with variations on “Forget it, there’s nothing like a pawpaw.”
The weird, goopy-textured, tropical-ish fruit whose name sounds like a punch line on “Hee Haw” can be found scattered all over the country, but recipes (for cakes, pies, puddings) abound largely in West Virginia and nearby states like Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. If you happen to secure some pawpaw, best to get out of its way, as is the case with this pudding. Pawpaw is a holiday guest who responds well to minimal interference. JEFF GORDINIER
1 hour 15 minutes 12 servings
- ½ cup/1 stick/113 grams butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for baking dish
- 2 cups/400 grams sugar
- 1 ½ cups/190 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups /1 pound/454 grams pawpaw pulp, thawed if frozen (see note)
- 1 ½ cups/355 milliliters whole milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
- In another large bowl, whisk together eggs and pawpaw pulp until smooth. Whisk in milk and vanilla. Whisk in melted butter. Pour into sugar mixture and stir only until combined.
- Pour batter into prepared dish. Bake 50 minutes or until just set in the center. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack before cutting. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
Wild Rice With
In Wisconsin, wild rice is truly wild, not cultivated as in other states, the tassels rising and swaying over rivers, lakes and floodplains come late August and September. Called manoomin by the local Chippewa, it is a protected crop that can be harvested only by state residents holding a valid license. And only by hand, as the Chippewa have always done, using wooden flails gently (the grains should fall from the stalk without great effort) from canoes propelled by paddles or push poles.
Shellie Holmes of Rhinelander, Wis., who shares her recipe here, likes to cook wild rice just until it pops open. This is a break with her family’s tradition, which favored a chewier texture and did not allow popping.
“Do not mix with other rice,” she urged, lest you lose the flavor of the wild. LIGAYA MISHAN
Three Sisters Stew
Matt Mead, the governor of Wyoming, recalls being taken out by his grandfather on the family ranch to shoot his first duck for Thanksgiving at age 9, when he was so small that his grandfather had to brace him from behind to help absorb the kick from the shotgun.
Game is found on many Thanksgiving tables in the state, but other traditions predate the hunt. The trinity of corn, beans and squash was central to the agriculture of the Plains Indians in what would later become Wyoming, and some cooks honor that history each Thanksgiving with a dish called Three Sisters stew. The writer Pamela Sinclair’s version is a highlight of her 2008 cookbook, “A Taste of Wyoming: Favorite Recipes From the Cowboy State.” The stew works nicely as a rich side dish for turkey, and can easily be adapted to vegetarian tastes by omitting the pork and adding a pound of cubed butternut squash instead. SAM SIFTON
Three Sisters Stew
1 hour 40 minutes 8 servings