Thanksgiving Recipes

Marilou Suszko, who prepared a special feast for our November issue, provides more ways to use locally sourced ingredients.

Fresh Pumpkin Purée
Yields about 2 cups or about 1 pound

Fresh pureed pumpkin has a lighter texture, brighter taste, and a more vibrant color. Use this same method to bake and puree most squash — just adjust the cooking time for the size of the squash. You can use this pumpkin puree in recipes that call for canned pumpkin — just be sure to drain it well before using.

1 sugar pumpkin (about 4 pounds)
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Slice off the stem end of the pumpkin 2-1/2 inches from the top, reserving it. Scrape out the seeds and the membranes, and brush the inside of the pumpkin with butter. Put the top back on the pumpkin. Put the pumpkin in a shallow baking pan and bake for one hour or until the pumpkin is soft to the touch. Remove and let sit until cool enough to handle. Discard any of the liquid accumulated in the pumpkin. Scoop out the pulp and blend, in batches, into a puree.

Line a large sieve or colander with large paper coffee filters and place in a large bowl. Cover the surface of the puree with plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator and let it drain overnight.

Use fresh or pack in freezer containers in one-pound (2 cup) batches and freeze for 6 to 9 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Note: If working with larger pumpkins, split the pumpkins in half, remove the seeds, brush with butter and lay cut side down on a sturdy baking sheet. Bake until tender, an hour or more.

Heritage Dressing
Makes 12 servings

Stuffing is stuffing when it’s inside a turkey. When it’s prepared and baked on the side, it’s dressing. Either way, there never seems to be enough to go around at the Thanksgiving table. This recipe features all the basics of a good dressing and lends itself to your own adaptation. Add chopped sautéed mushrooms, apples or nuts, sausage, sage, rosemary, or whatever reflects your personal and local food traditions. This recipe can be easily halved or doubled.

12 cups cubed white bread
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups diced celery
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 to 1-1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock
1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake until the bread is dry and crunchy but not browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, and sauté until soft and translucent, 10 to 12 minutes. Lightly butter a 9 x 13-inch pan. Place the dried bread cubes in a large bowl. Add the cooked vegetables and melted butter, parsley, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Add the eggs and stock (less stock will produce a drier stuffing, more stock and the stuffing will be moist), and toss until they are evenly distributed and the bread is moist. Spread in the prepared pan and sprinkle with the paprika. Bake for 1 hour, or until the surface is crisp and dry.