Four Thanksgiving Recipes Inspired by Local Michigan Produce
On a chilled November day, warmth and conversation will fill the room as family members converse over a delicious Thanksgiving feast that was prepared with love. Thanksgiving is a time to savor everything you have to be thankful for. There is no better way to celebrate life’s abundance than with a comforting home-cooked meal made with fresh ingredients that moved from the local farm to your table. Local Michigan produce is just one of many reasons to be thankful for the mitten state.
Delicious seasonal fruit and vegetables such as pumpkin, squash, apples, carrots, and sweet potatoes from local Michigan farms will make this year’s Thanksgiving dinner one for the books. The following recipes are meant to bring you ideas and creativity while planning your Thanksgiving dinner, and encourage you to take advantage of the wonderful seasonal produce that Michigan has to offer, courtesy of guest blogger Kristen Guilbert from Awesome Mitten.
These fancy pumpkins twists are sweet, flakey, buttery, and look a lot more difficult to make than they actually are. Made with local Michigan pumpkin, these tasty twists are much more interesting than the common dinner rolls and will make your relatives think you are way more handy in the kitchen. Add these to the dessert table, serve as appetizers, or maybe even as a side dish! These are versatile and will be a sweet addition to your Thanksgiving table.
What you need:
Makes 4 large twists
1 large egg
2 teaspoons water
4 sheets puff pastry
1 cup fresh pureed sugar pumpkin, or canned pumpkin
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
coarse sugar, optional
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water, set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice.
- Lay puff pastry flat and divide pumpkin mixture evenly across the top. Spread pumpkin into an even layer.
- Starting at one end, roll the pastry over the pumpkin mixture.
- Using a sharp knife, slice down center, but leave about an inch on one end of the pastry connected.
- Crisscross the two pieces together, making sure to keep the pumpkin filling sides facing up.
- Form the pastry into a circle by pulling the two ends together and pressing together.
- Place pastry on prepared baking sheet leaving room for spreading.
- Brush the pastries lightly with the egg wash you made earlier (the egg and water). Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Drizzle on top of warm baked pumpkin twists and serve!
Butternut Squash Apple Bruschetta
I bet you didn’t think that butternut squash could get any better… until you added apples and made this awesome autumn-inspired bruschetta! This recipe creates the perfect combination of tart, savory, and sweet, and will be the perfect appetizer before the big feast. What better way to start off the Thanksgiving festivities than with a bang? This bruschetta will do all that and more.
What you need:
2 cups diced butternut squash
1 cup diced apples
6 tbsp olive oil (divided)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp kosher salt (divided)
1 tsp black pepper (divided)
8 slices french bread
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 cloves garlic (minced)
6-8 fresh sage leaves (chopped)
2 tbsp balsamic glaze
- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Toss the butternut squash and apples with 2 tbsp olive oil, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ½ tsp kosher salt and ½ tsp black pepper.
- Place in an even layer on a baking sheet and into the oven for 15 minutes.
- While the squash and apples are roasting, brush the sliced bread with 2 tbsp olive oil and set aside.
- Combine the ricotta cheese with the remaining ½ tsp black pepper and ½ tsp kosher salt, set aside.
- In a small skillet, add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add the garlic and sage leaves, saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and toss with the squash and apples when they come out of the oven.
- Place the slices of bread into the oven for 4-5 minutes, or until toasted to your liking.
- Remove the bread from the oven and top with the ricotta cheese, then the roasted squash and apple mix.
- Drizzle with the balsamic glaze.
Brown Butter Garlic Honey Roasted Carrots
This may just be the perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving feast. The combination of locally grown carrots, browned butter, garlic, and honey is simply delicious. These jazzed up carrots are satisfying and will be a comforting addition to your amazing home-cooked meal. It pairs wonderfully with turkey, stuffing and other Thanksgiving sides. You won’t regret giving this recipe a try!
What you need:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb baby carrots
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 dashes ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon chopped thyme or parsley.
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Heat up an oven-safe skillet and cook the butter on medium heat until it starts to form and turn into golden brown.
- Add the garlic and quickly sauté before adding the carrots and stir a few times.
- Add the salt, black pepper, honey and thyme or parsley.
- Transfer the skillet and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the carrots become tender. Serve immediately.
Brown Sugar Sweet Potato Pie
This pie will be an excellent addition to the dessert table. This is the dessert that your relatives will rave over! Different and unexpected, this pie is a great alternative to pumpkin pie, and will have everyone asking for more! Made with Michigan sweet potatoes, and sweetened with brown sugar, you cannot go wrong making this delightful dessert for your Thanksgiving festivities!
What you need:
Homemade or store bought pie crust
1 lb sweet potatoes (about 2 medium)
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 (120ml) cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk
optional: whipped cream
- Prepare crust if using homemade.
- Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil on the stovetop. Boil for 45-50 minutes, or until super soft.
- On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough. Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until the crust is about 12 inches in diameter. 4. Carefully place the dough into a 9x2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Use a small paring knife to trim excess dough off the edges. Flute the edges then set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Drain the boiling water and run the potatoes under very cold water. The skin should peel off easily at this point. Allow them to cool until they are easy to handle. Slice the potatoes into large chunks, then place into a mixing bowl.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the potatoes on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients except the egg wash and whipped cream. Beat on high speed until smooth and combined.
- Spread filling into prepared pie crust.
- Brush the edges of the crust with egg wash.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes or until the center of the pie is only slightly jiggly. A toothpick inserted into the center of the pie should come out mostly clean. After 30 minutes and if desired, place a pie crust shield on top of the pie to prevent the edges from over-browning.
- Place the pie on a cooling rack and allow to cool for at least 1 hour at room temperature before serving. The pie will slightly deflate as it cools; this is normal. Decorate with whipped cream. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Kristen graduated from Grand Valley State University and now resides in Eastern Michigan. She is artsy and loves expressing her creativity through her writing and art. She enjoys coffee, cooking and baking, and can frequently be found practicing yoga, or spending time in nature. She especially loves the nature to be found in her home state of Michigan, and thinks there is nothing quite like a cozy camping trip to one of the Great Lakes.
What do you love to eat on Thanksgiving? Share with us in the comments!