Dish It: Thanksgiving sides for the modern Buffalonian
In 1621, the fifty-three surviving Pilgrims celebrated their first corn harvest with a feast, inviting members of the Wampanoag tribe to join them. The ingredients differed radically from what we think of as a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. According to records, settlers went “fowling” and natives arrived with freshly killed deer. Though no record of the meal’s exact menu exists, historians suggest that eels and shellfish—mussels, lobster, and clams—were most certainly on the menu. Foraged chestnuts, walnuts, and flint (Indian) corn, along with cultivated produce such as onions and squash, would also have been on hand.
Feast or famine, Pilgrims—along with everyone else in 1621—cooked with what was available in their natural surroundings. How is it that we’ve arrived at a time when opening cans and boxes is how we celebrate all that we have to give thanks for? In that vein, we’ve decided to offer Spree readers a little homemade inspiration with seven recipes (six for your holiday table, one for the next day) utilizing local ingredients. Each dish features one or more locally sourced ingredients (don’t worry, we’ve included a resource guide) as well as tips that should ease your Thanksgiving day schedule with some preparation and planning.
We have much to celebrate here in WNY, so why not make sure your celebration reflects the bounty of the region you call home?
Warm Salad of Mushroom, Herb, and First Light’s Chevre
3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic — 2 smashed and whole, 1 minced
3 small or 1 large scallion, finely chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 generous handful fresh chives, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups shiitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped
6 ounces First Light Farm & Creamery chevre, broken into coarse crumbles
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic, onions, chives, and thyme; cook for 2–3 minutes over medium heat, until fragrant and becoming tender.
Add remaining butter; add mushrooms and gently toss with spoon. Add a dash of salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
Lower heat and continue cooking for 3 minutes.
Remove tender mushrooms from heat and discard whole garlic cloves. Spoon chevre over warm mushroom mixture. Gently stir to combine.
Maple-Walnut Roasted Winter’s Farm Vegetables
4 medium Winter’s Farm carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick on the bias
2 large Winter’s Farm parsnips, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick on the bias
1 medium cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
1 medium Winter’s Farm acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch dice
1 medium delicata squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch dice
1 medium Winter’s Farm butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch dice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Sea salt and ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups walnuts
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a large bowl, toss the carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, and squash with olive oil and nutmeg; season generously with salt and pepper.
Spread the vegetables on 2 large rimmed baking sheets and roast for 30 minutes, until the vegetables begin to brown.
Scatter the walnuts over the vegetables and drizzle with the maple syrup; toss well. Continue to roast the vegetables for 25 minutes longer, until they are tender and golden. Scrape the vegetables into a bowl and serve hot or at room temperature.
Prep tip: Save room in your oven—these roasted vegetables can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours before serving.
Five Points Bakery Sourdough Stuffing with Spar’s Bacon
1 1/4 pounds Five Points Bakery sourdough bread, crusts trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 pound Spar’s bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups chopped yellow onion
3 cups chopped celery
1 pound cremini or moonlight mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken stock, warm
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon butter
Toast bread cubes on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven, about 15 minutes.
Saute bacon in a heavy-bottom skillet until crisp and brown, and drain on a paper towel, reserving bacon fat.
Cook celery and onion in bacon fat until translucent. Add mushrooms, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook until mushrooms soften.
Place mushroom mixture, bacon, and bread in a large bowl. Mix. Add chicken stock while mixing, combining thoroughly.
In a small mixing bowl, combine eggs and baking powder.
Pour over bread mixture and toss.
Butter a baking dish and add stuffing. Bake at 350°F until the top is golden brown, about 1 hour.
Prep tip: This stuffing can be made ahead. After all ingredients are mixed, cover and refrigerate overnight. To cook the next day, re-moisten with a little stock and proceed.
Dan Tower Farm Apple Cranberry Sauce
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Dan Tower Farm apples, peeled, cored, and diced
12 ounces fresh cranberries
1 Dan Tower Farm pear, peeled, cored, and diced
1 large orange, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups dried cherries (if you wish, you may substitute other assorted fruit, such as blueberries and apricots), roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
In a large saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil, and boil until sugar dissolves.
Reduce heat to simmer and stir in apples, cranberries, pear, and orange. After five minutes, add all other ingredients.
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Prep tip: Save time on the big day—make this sauce the day before and leave refrigerated until serving.
Savory Salad of Arden Farm’s Kale and Singer Farm Naturals’ Garlic
1 bunch of Arden Farm’s Tuscan kale, stems removed
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup toasted and salted pine nuts, cooled
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 clove Singer Farm Naturals’ garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Tear the kale into bite-size pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate, smaller bowl add garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Combine thoroughly.
Add the vinaigrette to kale and toss. Cover bowl and return to refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Before serving, remove garlic clove from the bowl and enliven with a little fresh olive oil.
Add cheese, onion, and pine nuts before serving.
Prep tip: Because of kale’s hardy consistency, this salad can be assembled a full day ahead without wilting. Using one simple dressing keeps the table free from excess clutter.
Gratin of Native Offerings’ Celeriac
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 bulbs Native Offerings’ celeriac
1 cup Upstate Farms’ heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 baking dish.
Spread onion slices evenly in the bottom of the dish.
Prepare celeriac bulbs by trimming the bottom and top off, and peeling away the outer layer of rough skin with a sharp knife.
Cut into 1/4” slices, then julienne into matchsticks.
Spread these evenly in the pan, over the onion slices.
In a separate bowl whisk together cream, fresh thyme, mustard, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Pour over the celeriac, and top with cheeses.
Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and continue baking for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Prep tip: Though this gratin still takes up precious space in the oven, it is much easier (and more flavorful) than whipping potatoes just before dinner is served.
Why should you surrender to a week of turkey sandwiches, when an amazing curry dish is just minutes away? Spice up your holiday weekend by adding leftover roasted turkey to this great Indian-flavored dish.
Curried Eggplant with Chickpeas, Spinach, and White Cow Dairy Yogurt and Pete's Pitas
2 large cloves garlic, minced, plus 1 clove, whole
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup finely julienned fresh ginger
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup plain White Cow Dairy yogurt
5 ounces baby spinach
Pete’s Lebanese Bakery pita, warmed
Preheat oven to 425°F. On a work surface, mash the minced garlic and a pinch of salt to a paste.
In a large roasting pan, mix the paste with the curry powder and vegetable oil.
Add the eggplant, onion, chickpeas, and ginger, season with salt and pepper and toss well.
Spread the vegetables in an even layer and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the eggplant and onion are tender.
While the vegetables are roasting, grate the remaining clove of garlic. Add garlic and cilantro to yogurt and stir to combine.
Stir the spinach into the roasted vegetables and roast until wilted, about 2 minutes longer. Serve with yogurt and warm pita.
Arden Farm—East Aurora
Available at various farmers markets; find them on Facebook.
Dan Tower Farm—Youngstown
Available at Lexington Co-operative Market and various farmers’ markets; find them on Facebook.
First Light Farm & Creamery—East Bethany
Available at Lexington Co-operative Market, Premier Gourmet, and various farmers’ markets; first-light-farm.com
Five Points Bakery—Buffalo
426 Rhode Island Street, Buffalo; 884-8888; fivepointsbakery.com
Native Offerings—Little Valley
Available at Lexington Co-operative Market and Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers’ Market; nativeofferings.com
Pete’s Lebanese Bakery—Kenmore
2468 Elmwood Avenue, Kenmore; 876-2012;
405 Amherst Street, Buffalo; 876-6607; sparseuropeansausage.com
Singer Farm Naturals—Appleton
Available at Lexington Co-operative Market and on-farm shop; singerfarmnaturals.com
Upstate Farms—West Seneca
Available in markets across WNY;
White Cow Dairy—East Otto
Available only at the White Cow Dairy Farm Shop, 235B Ashland Avenue, Buffalo.
Winter’s Farm—Orchard Park
Available at Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market.