Michigan-Inspired Thanksgiving Recipes to Try this Season


Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and with it, the delectable meals and favorite foods that we look forward to all year long. What many people may not realize, however, is just how many of these delicious options can be cooked, baked or broiled with Michigan-made ingredients. Guest blogger Christina Carson from The Awesome Mitten shares a few Michigan-inspired recipes to enjoy.

This year, I challenge you to take things one step further and support our amazing Michigan food businesses in putting your meal on the table. Bring as many local foods and products into your meal as possible - there are endless ways to do so!

Of course, the turkey is the classic center of the plate for Thanksgiving. Plenty of turkey farms around the state are raising healthy birds ready to take center stage on your Thanksgiving table. After the turkey, getting more local products into your meal will be all about carefully selecting your sides and desserts to include seasonal produce and other products that are made in your community. While the growing season comes to a close in November, you may be surprised at how much Michigan farmers have to offer this time of year. A bounty of greens and all the storage crops you can dream of - potatoes, apples, squash, carrots, beets, and more.
 
Here are a two simple, locally sourced recipes:
 

Apple Rosettes

Apples from McCallum's Orchard
Apples from McCallum's Orchard | Photo Courtesy of Instagram Fan smashtransistor

Stunning apple rosettes like these have been making the rounds through the internet food world for some time now, and for good reason! They’re impressively beautiful, and absolutely delicious while also a light dessert that isn’t too sweet.

While you can always take things a step further and make homemade puff pastry, making this stunning dessert is amazingly simple with puff pastry from your local grocery store’s freezer section. To really kick things up a notch, make sure to buy the puff pastry made with all butter (the flavor is so much better!)
 
  • 2 Michigan apples
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • ½ lemon
  • Granulated sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Freshly ground nutmeg
 
First, prepare the apples. Cut each apple in half and carefully remove the core, then slice each half into ⅛ to ¼ inch thick slices. Separate slices and place them in a medium bowl with the juice from one lemon.

Cover with boiling water and let sit for about 1 minute, until the slices are flexible, but not mushy! Strain water, and set apples aside.

Carefully unfold defrosted puff pastry (leave it in the fridge at least overnight to defrost) and gently roll it with a rolling pin to even out any creases and stretch it out just a bit. Cut the pastry into 2 inch wide strips that are 12 inches or less long.
 
One strip at a time, sprinkle puff pastry with a little sugar, cinnamon and just a smidge of nutmeg. Line apple slices, overlapping half of each slice along the top half of the strip (as seen in the photo). Fold pastry up over the apples, then start at one end and roll into as tight of a spiral as you can.

Set each finished rosette into a large muffin tin or individual ramekins.

Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes, until the pastry is browned on the edges. Let cool in pan about 10 minutes, then carefully remove each rosette and let cool completely on a cooling rack.

Optional: Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
 

Butternut Squash Gratin

Find local butternut squash at your local farmers market or a locally focused grocery store sourcing from Michigan growers. Additionally, seek out some rich local cream to make this dish a mostly local Thanksgiving treat! Calder Dairy and Shetler Family Dairy are two of my favorites.
 
  • 1 Michigan butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup grated hard cheese (parmesan, pecorino, gruyere and piave are all great choices)
  • 1 ¼  cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. dry sage
  • ¼ cups breadcrumbs

Peel butternut squash, then slice neck into ⅓ inch thick rounds until you reach the edge of the seeded area of the squash. Cut the bulbous end of the squash in half and scoop out seeds. Slice each half into ⅓ inch thick half circles.

In the bottom of a square baking dish (8x8 or 9x9 will work just fine) layer one thin layer of the full squash rounds to create a base then spread all the half circles evenly on top of that base.

Sprinkle the shallots, garlic and ½ cup of the cheese over the squash.

Layer the remaining squash rounds on next.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, stir together cream, salt, pepper and sage until evenly mixed. Pour mixture over the squash.

Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of the dish and cover with foil or a lid.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, then remove the cover and sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.

Return to the oven, uncovered and bake for 20 more minutes.

Let cool slightly before serving. 

About the Author: Christina Carson is a Northern Michigan girl through and through - addicted to the Lake Michigan coastline, our incredible local food system, and the mitten's homegrown musicians. She shares her passion for beautiful, delicious, and joyful food through her blog and photography business - Toot Sweet!