Chef Shawn McClain’s Thanksgiving menu has a few French touches including profiteroles, tarte tatin and sparkling pomegranate punch.
Food & Wine
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Hazelnut Profiteroles with Blue Cheese and Grapes
Shawn McClain serves some form of these savory cream puffs with drinks at both of his Chicago restaurants. He pokes a hole in the sides of the puffs when they come out of the oven to release the steam, then fills them with a creamy mixture of blue cheese and mascarpone.
A good recipe for chicken-liver mousse is critical, says Shawn McClain, “because when a recipe’s bad, it’s really bad.” His version is supremely silky and light, with a lovely hint of apple from Calvados. He serves the mousse with pickled red onion and toasted baguette slices alongside, so guests can assemble their own crostini.
This salad epitomizes fall flavors, with its chunks of butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, pecans and greens. The easiest way to peel the butternut squash is with a sturdy U-peeler (named for its wide, U-shaped handle), which is available at most supermarkets.
“I wasn’t always a briner,” says McClain, “but when enough people tell you it’s the thing to do, you try it.” He’s glad he did: The brine here, which is a simple combination of salt, sugar, spices and water, keeps the turkey moist in the oven and seasons the meat perfectly.
Instead of apple pie, McClain ends his Thanksgivings with this stunning tarte Tatin. Because the recipe calls for store-bought puff pastry (McClain is a huge fan of Dufour’s), it’s quite easy to prepare.