Chef Dean Fearing celebrates Thanksgiving with superb dishes like gingered butternut squash and an extraordinary pecan pie.
Food & Wine
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Blood Orange Margaritas
Chef Dean Fearing calls this drink, which is a best seller at his wife Lynae's popular Dallas restaurant Shinsei, “the fall margarita.” The sweet-tart blood orange flavor intensifies the margarita-ness of it. He serves the drink with Texas Smoked Salmon Tartare.
Gingered Butternut Squash Soup with Spicy Pecan Cream
Fearing loves the holiday feel of butternut squash, especially when it's combined with ginger, as it is for his smooth, gently sweet soup. He tops it with whipped cream flecked with chopped pecans for a number of reasons: “Usually holiday soups have a dollop of cream—adding pecans gives it a dollop of flavor. And crunch. I think everything should have a little bit of crunch to it. Plus, this is Texas, and pecans are Texas.”
The tangerine, brown sugar and sage glaze on chef Fearing’s gorgeous turkey gives it a rich, burnished color when it comes out of the oven. Besides making the turkey look so impressive, the citrus-herb glaze adds an alluring holiday flavor.
Green Beans and Salsify with Country Ham and Pecans
For his simple side dish, Fearing sautés crisp green beans with caramelized salsify, toasted pecans and strips of intense country ham. At home, he jokingly calls them “all-day” green beans—in fact, they take about half an hour to prepare.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberry Brown Butter
“This is where I like to use Thanksgiving cranberries,” says chef Fearing, who mixes them into the maple-butter sauce topping his brussels sprouts. He roasts the sprouts to bring out their nutty sweetness. “This dish turns a non-brussels sprouts lover over to the other side,” he says.
This extraordinarily rich and sweet dessert was the winner at the 1996 State Fair of Texas State pie competition, which Fearing helped judge. “Out of 140 pies, this one was it,” he says. “Her name was Bobby Lee; she never told me her last name.”
Fearing and Jill Bates, the pastry chef at Fearing’s, collaborated on this spiced pumpkin pudding covered with meringue swirls. “It’s what all Southerners love about their pies, whether they’re coconut, chocolate or banana—the meringue,” Fearing says.