Our Very Favorite Recipes for a Texan Thanksgiving
Buttermilk pumpkin pie, creamed corn, and—yes, that’s right—deep-fried turkey.
In a state where many typical meals can rival the extravagance of a Thanksgiving feast, the hardest part about preparing this holiday dinner for Texans can be deciding what to cook. This Thanksgiving, Texas Monthly has taken care of it for you, with a Texas-inspired menu you can proudly serve to all of your hungry guests.
Try a simple, elegant version of the classic green bean casserole with this green bean and prosciutto salad, courtesy of Austin chef David Bull. These bundles of beans are wrapped in prosciutto and bite-sized, so they would work well as an appetizer to fend off your guests while the oven is still occupied.
To the uninitiated, it may seem sacrilegious to drop a prized 40-pound bird into a pot of boiling oil, but the flavor of a fried turkey is worth the extra prep. Our recipe on how to deep-fry your turkey takes you through the process step-by-step. After all, it wouldn’t be a Texas Thanksgiving if at least one dish isn’t fried.
If you’re crunched for time, no worries. Try our last-minute turkey recipe instead. But whichever bird you serve, do it with a cranberry and orange marmalade, courtesy of Houston chef Robert Del Grande.
Instead of a sweet potato casserole drowned in melted marshmallows, try a spicier take on this traditional dish by roasting the yams with ginger, pecans, and jalapeños.
For an even more savory dish break out the grill for grilled sweet potato, chorizo, and corn hash. If you’re not a fan of sweet potatoes, we also have a simple, no-fail recipe for garlic mashed potatoes that pairs well with any Thanksgiving feast.
We left our gravy recipe to an expert. Christina Lee, chef of the Central Market Cooking School in Austin, says her easy turkey gravy pairs well with dumplings and rice casseroles as well as turkey and mashed potatoes, in case you want to dog-ear the recipe for any future dinner parties.
We’ve all had enough of boring dinner rolls. Embrace your Texas roots by replacing them with some cornbread to accompany your Thanksgiving feast instead. Our classic recipe works well to balance spicier, richer dishes, and our pan de campo—a flatbread cooked in a cast iron skillet—would also make a fitting mop for last of the turkey gravy on your plate. Declared the state’s official bread in 2005, you’d truly be feasting like the old vaqueros in South Texas.
For a warm, hearty dish that brings some veggies to the table, check out our calabacitas con crema recipe, or “little squash,” sautéed with chiles and cream to make a soup-like mixture perfect for dipping tortillas or pan de campo in. It’s hearty enough to qualify for a spot on the Thanksgiving dinner table, but won’t make you feel too guilty about reaching for a piece of pie later.
The star of this dressing recipe rains down on Texans in impressive numbers each fall. Pecans add a bit of a crunch to the white and cornbread mixture, in an easy-to-make casserole that can also be cooked inside your turkey for a bit more flavor.
We went ahead and added a few things to make our creamed corn richer, denser, and all the more delicious. The panko bread crumbs in the dish add a bit of a crunch, the chile added to the polenta brings a touch of spice, and the pancetta—well, who can say no to a bit more bacon?
These cranberry and pecan tamales courtesy of Laredo chefs Adrienne A. Gonzales and Diana R. Martinez incorporate all the goodness of fall flavor into a Texan staple. The sweetness of cranberry and the crunch of pecan are folded right into a warm blanket of tamale dough and steamed into a sweet treat. It may seem unconventional to bring out tamales before the Christmas season, but this dish fits perfectly with the flavors of a Thanksgiving feast. After all, it’s never to early to host a tamalada.
Beware, a single slice of this hearty pie might serve as a knockout punch. Courtesy of Houston chef Robert Del Grande, the buttermilk pumpkin pie with brown-sugar cream is filled with a pumpkin mixture and topped with a brown sugar-based whipped cream. If you want to wrap all of your fall cravings into one, sprinkle some roasted crunchy pecans on top.
If you’re not enough of a sweets person to tackle this behemoth, try frying some sopaipillas for a lighter dessert. You can even stuff them with caramelized apples and top them with vanilla ice cream for a twist on the classic apple pie.