While the turkey always receives marquee status, it’s the supporting cast that makes Thanksgiving dinner a great show. The bedecked table, choice wines, spotlight-stealing sides and sweet endings all deserve some of the center-stage limelight.
So we asked local experts, including chefs, wine gurus and an interior designer-turned-restaurateur, to share recipes, picks and tips for everything but the bird to create the perfect Thanksgiving table. And regarding what to do with those leftovers? We’ve got that covered, too.
Two things happen when Thanksgiving guests arrive: They smell what’s cooking and they see the dinner table — and the latter makes a big impression.
Beth Newman, owner, Mason & Dixie
Two things happen when Thanksgiving guests arrive: They smell what’s cooking and they see the dinner table. But the latter can make just as big of an impression as the first, so set the table in style and do it early, even if it’s the day before.
“You need to have a starting point, and I think the best thing for that is the plates,” says Beth Newman, a former interior designer who became a restaurant owner when she opened her Southern-inspired cafe, Mason & Dixie, inside the Grapevine Antique Market two years ago this month. (She’ll sell Thanksgiving sides to-go this year with orders placed in advance.)
Newman says mixing vintage and new is important for a balanced tablescape, so she used antique fine china in shades of berry and light blue and paired them with modern silver chargers available now from Pottery Barn.
1641 W. Northwest Highway, Grapevine, 817-707-2111
Tina Norris and Mark Maloney, owners, 3 Vino
Tom Gore Vineyards Chardonnay & Jeff Runquist Zinfandel
“There are a lot of flavors coming together to create the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, so keep your wine less complex,” says Tina Norris, co-owner of Roanoke’s popular new wine bar, 3 Vino. She and co-owner Mark Maloney, both Roanoke residents, selected two American wines, a red and a white, that will pair perfectly with the time-honored Thanksgiving spread. The biggest mistake with regard to wine at Thanksgiving, Norris says, is not having enough.
Tom Gore Vineyards Chardonnay
Maloney and Norris say this slightly drier chardonnay ($20.80), which is fermented in both oak and stainless steel, is a nice wine to pour with appetizers and salad but will also pair well with soup and mashed potatoes and gravy. Opening flavors include apple, peach and strong vanilla, which becomes buttery in the middle.
Jeff Runquist Zinfandel
This velvety red zin from the Shenandoah Valley ($26) is a fantastic partner for turkey or ham, as well as all of the rich Thanksgiving dinner side dishes, Norris and Maloney say. Dark berry notes immediately greet the palate, followed by cherries, currants and slightly smoky oak.
— 206 Main St., Roanoke, 817-491-9463
There are a lot of flavors coming together to create the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, so keep your wine less complex.
Tina Norris, co-owner of Roanoke’s popular new wine bar, 3 Vino.
Melody Fitzgerald, owner, Sugar & Frosting
Local baker Melody Fitzgerald, whose pastry talents have led to an appearance on Food Network and the job of creating Julia Child’s 88th birthday cake, shares not one but two easy pumpkin pie alternatives sure to make guests’ mouths water: Apple Butter Pie and Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie. “Growing up, we had apple butter on biscuits at my grandparents’ house,” she says. “It seems like such a homey, comforting food.”
Chocolate lovers will devour Fitzgerald’s version of pecan pie, which is baked with chocolate chunks and bourbon. “My mother and I are crazy about anything pecan and chocolate and caramel,” Fitzgerald says. “The whole chocolate turtle feel really is just a personal weakness, especially in this gooey, sticky pie.” (RECIPES LISTED BELOW)
Erin Miller, owner, Texas Bleu Steakhouse
Go beyond the expected green bean casserole and mashed potatoes. Chef Erin Miller, who brought upscale dining to Keller with the opening of Texas Bleu Steakhouse, shares three elevated Thanksgiving sides that are sure to steal the dining table spotlight.
Listed below (and pictured) her tasty options include:
* BLUE CHEESE YORKSHIRE PUDDING
* CRAB CAKES WITH LEMON HERB SLAW
* GLAZED CARROTS WITH HICKORY BACON.
Eden Bullock, owner, Taste Buds Kitchen
Skip the turkey sandwich or messy casserole and try Eden Bullock’s easy Turkey Risotto with Cranberry Chutney, which will please dinner guests with Thanksgiving flavors all over again. “Risotto is such a versatile dish that can hold its own as a main entree when prepared with hearty ingredients, such as turkey and mushrooms,” says Bullock, owner of Southlake’s new family-friendly cooking school, Taste Buds Kitchen. “This dish holds true the comforting flavors of Thanksgiving while breaking up the monotony of typical leftovers.” (RECIPE LISTED BELOW.)
Chocolate-bourbon pecan pie
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
- 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Whisk first six ingredients in a mixing bowl.
3. Sprinkle the pecan pieces and the chocolate chunks on the bottom of the pie shell. Pour the filling over the pecans and chocolate.
4. Bake until the pie is set, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for about 1 hour before serving.
Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 8: 531 calories, 29 grams fat, 64 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, 106 milligrams cholesterol, 212 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 47 percent of calories from fat.
Apple butter pie
- 16 ounces apple butter
- 3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the first six ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
3. Pour into the pie crust and bake for 50-60 minutes until the filling is set and a knife inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Cool to room temperature and chill at least 2 hours before serving.
Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 8: 314 calories, 13 grams fat, 42 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, 122 milligrams cholesterol, 222 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 38 percent of calories from fat.
126 Taylor St., Keller, 817-562-2500, www.sugarandfrosting.com
Blue cheese Yorkshire pudding
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
- 1/2 cup melted butter
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Whisk together flour, milk, salt, pepper and eggs until smooth. Stir in blue cheese.
3. Place mixture in greased, oven-safe souffle cups and bake for 40 minutes. Finish off with melted butter.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 230 calories, 14 grams fat, 18 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein, 121 milligrams cholesterol, 423 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 54 percent of calories from fat.
Crab cakes with lemon herb slaw
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh lump crabmeat
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1. Combine crabmeat with mayonnaise, egg, chives, mustard and seasoning and form into 2-ounce patties. Coat in panko bread crumbs.
2. In skillet, add vegetable oil and bring to a rolling simmer. Gently place crab cakes into oil and cook until golden brown, turning once. Remove and place on paper towel to drain.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 271 calories, 18 grams fat, 4 grams carbohydrates, 22 grams protein, 125 milligrams cholesterol, 427 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber, 61 percent of calories from fat.
Lemon herb slaw
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup salad oil
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley
- 6 cups thinly sliced cabbage
Combine zest, juice, mustard, salt and pepper into a mixing bowl. Whisk in salad oil until dressing consistency. Whisk in parsley and pour over cabbage.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 344 calories, 37 grams fat, 5 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, no cholesterol, 201 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber, 93 percent of calories from fat.
Glazed carrots with hickory bacon
- 4 thick slices hickory-smoked bacon
- 2 pounds carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain and set aside.
2. Add carrots, water, brown sugar and butter to skillet and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until liquid is reduced to a glaze. Sprinkle with thyme and crumbled bacon.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 126 calories, 7 grams fat, 15 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 16 milligrams cholesterol, 157 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 47 percent of calories from fat.
124 Main St., Keller, 817-431-5188, www.texasbleu.com
Turkey risotto with cranberry chutney
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cups chopped shallots
- 4 cups mushrooms, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 1/3 cups dry white wine
- 8 cups vegetable or turkey broth
- 1 1/2 cups leftover turkey
- 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
- 1 1/3 cups grated Jack cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup cranberry chutney, for garnish
1. Melt half of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the shallots and saute until tender. Add mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine and cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes.
3. Heat broth. Add 1 cup of hot broth to the risotto with a ladle. Simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls.
4. Stir in the turkey and sage. Mix in the cheese and remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with cranberry chutney.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 473 calories, 19 grams fat, 56 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams protein, 45 milligrams cholesterol, 1,432 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 37 percent of calories from fat.
2140 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake, 817-488-0538, www.tastebudskitchen.com