Shawn McClain's New American Thanksgiving Dinner
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.
Chicken-Liver Mousse with Pickled Red Onion
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.
Sparkling Pomegranate Punch
This bubbly, sweet-tart cocktail combines sparkling wine, dessert wine and deep-red pomegranate juice.
Fall Harvest Salad
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.
Herb-Roasted Turkey with Gravy
“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.
Fig-and-Almond Bread Stuffing with Fennel
This stuffing is slightly sweet and fragrant, with plenty of herbs. There’s no meat in it, so it’s a little bit lighter and fresher-tasting than stuffings made with sausage.
McClain says cranberries and quince need a bit of sweetness to taste their best, so he combines them with apples, raisins and sugar, as well as cider vinegar and spices, to make a tangy chutney.
Five-Spice Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Walnut Toffee
Crunchy toffee stands in for the usual marshmallow topping on these potatoes, which McClain glazes with brown sugar and spice-scented butter.
Glazed Carrots with Cardamom and Ginger
Most people cook carrots in water, McClain says, which dulls their flavor. His secret to keeping them supertasty is to cook them in carrot juice and orange juice until glazed.
Pear Tarte Tatin with Red-Wine Caramel
Vanilla-and-Cider Panna Cottas with Spiced Ginger Cookies
McClain tops his cinnamon-and-vanilla-flavored panna cotta with an elegant apple-cider gelée. He equates the dessert to a Creamsicle because it successfully combines creamy and tangy flavors.