As you build your menu for this month’s big meal, we thought you might want to invite a few more cooks to the kitchen, so we interviewed area chefs and restaurant owners about their favorite Thanksgiving dishes and what makes them special.
Culinary director, Cara Irish Pubs, including Cooper’s in St. Louis Park Originally from France, Francoual (former owner of the renowned restaurant Vincent) loves Thanksgiving because it’s the one time when Americans allow themselves to stay at the table to talk and have a good time. Francoual advises home cooks to work in advance, noting that the blueberries can be prepared a week ahead of time (Francoual picks his blueberries in the summer and preserves them).
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Blueberries (serves 4)
- 2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
- ½ c. pickled berries, drained well
- ½ c. Marcona almonds, roughly chopped (other almonds will also work)
- ¼ lb. thick-cut bacon, medium diced, sautéed until golden
- 1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
Cut the Brussels sprouts in half, place in a mixing bowl. Mix with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread vegetables on parchment paper on a baking pan. Make sure the Brussels sprouts are in one layer, not too packed. Roast at 350 degrees F until cooked through and lightly brown (roasting can be done ahead of time).
In a sauté pan, melt 2 Tbsp. of butter, then add Brussels sprouts. Sear for 3 minutes, then add bacon and sear for another minute.
Add the drained and dried pickled berries (see below) and chopped parsley. Once the mixture is hot, add a splash of pickle juice. Check seasoning and put on serving plate. Sprinkle with almonds.
- 12 oz. blueberries
- 3 c. red wine vinegar
- ¼ c. sugar
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon
Mix all ingredients except the berries. Bring to a quick boil and set aside for 15 minutes. Pour liquid on berries, place in the fridge and let rest at least 48 hours before using.
Owner, Yum! Kitchen and Bakery Soskin discovered this recipe a decade ago, when chef Mike Grossmann at Yum! prepared the dish for the restaurant. She sometimes prepares some of the potatoes with melted marshmallows on top, for tradition’s sake. And tradition is important to Soskin; she loves Thanksgiving more than any other holiday. “I’m Jewish, and Thanksgiving is the one holiday when all of my friends and I celebrate together,” she says. “We say you can’t come to a family wedding until you’ve been to Thanksgiving.”
Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes
- 10 lbs. sweet potatoes
- 1.5 lbs. butter
- 8 oz. heavy cream
- 8 oz. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 6 oz. brown sugar
- Salt for taste
Peel and cut sweet potatoes into equal pieces. Boil until soft. Drain well. Mix sweet potatoes with all other ingredients in a bowl and process through a food mill. (Or call and order them to go by the quart from Yum!)
Chef at neighborhood tavern, McCoy’s Public House, one of Brian Kooman's favorite family Thanksgiving recipes is a tasty wild rice and cranberry pilaf.
Wild Rice and Cranberry Pilaf (serves 8 to 10)
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp. canola oil
- 3 large shallots, minced
- 2 cups wild rice
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs, chopped or 1⁄4 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp. Kosher salt, plus more to taste
- ⅛ tsp. freshly ground white pepper, plus more to taste
- ½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the stock to a simmer. In a heavy 2-qt. flameproof casserole over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well-coated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the simmering stock, dried cranberries, bay leaf, thyme, the ½ tsp. sea salt and the ⅛ tsp. white pepper. Bring to a simmer, stir and cover. Transfer the casserole to the oven and bake until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven. Remove and discard the bay leaf and the thyme sprigs, if used. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Stir in the pecans and parsley. Serve hot or warm.