Recipes That Make Thanksgiving More Special

by Anouk Booneman

                                                            New England Express

At Spring into Health our favorite cooking workshop is probably the one that we have every year around Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, we can’t have one this year. We can, however, share some favorite recipes that we cooked over the years with lovely people. The pictures are from dishes made by participants. They are all easy to do, delicious and use local vegetables. Winter boxes are available during the winter at the Denison Farm. Click here to check it out.

New England Express (Bon Appétit)

A Thanksgiving favorite.  Can be made ahead and very easy.

Yield: Servings: 8


Thyme Syrup
⅓ cup sugar
8 sprigs thyme


2 cups apple cider
1½ cups dark rum
¾ cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Angostura bitters
1 cup club soda
8 sprigs thyme
8 lime slices

Thyme syrup

Bring sugar and ⅓ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, add thyme sprigs, and cover. Let stand 10 minutes, then strain into a small jar. Let cool. Syrup can be made 1 month ahead. Cover and chill.


  • Mix thyme syrup, cider, rum, lime juice, and bitters in a pitcher. Divide among rocks glasses filled with ice; top off with club soda. Garnish with thyme sprigs and lime slices.
  • Thyme syrup, cider, rum, lime juice, and bitters can be mixed 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Rosemary Pumpkin Hummus

Yields about 1.5 -2 cups


1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 clove of garlic
1 TBSP fresh rosemary, minced
½ teaspoon cumin
juice of half a lemon
5 TBSP  of olive oil (add more if needed)
salt & pepper to taste

In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients except olive oil and pulse until coarsely chopped. Slowly add olive oil in small increments as food processor is running until it reaches desired consistency. You may want to scrape down the sides once or twice while processing.

Cranberry sauce with pears and fresh ginger.

Making your own cranberry sauce is very easy. Use leftovers the next day for sandwiches.

Makes about 2 ¼ cup

¾ cup water
1 cup coconut sugar (or granulated sugar)
1 TBSP grated fresh ginger
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 bag (frozen or fresh) cranberries
¼ teaspoon table salt
2 medium firm, ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into ½ inch chunks


Bring water, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and salt to boil in medium nonreactive saucepan over high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Stir in cranberries and pears; return to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until saucy, slightly thickened, and about two-thirds of berries have popped open, about 5 minutes. Transfer to nonreactive bowl, cool to room temperature, and serve. (Can be covered and refrigerated up to 7 days; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.)

Curried Apple Cranberries Chutney (very mild)

Golden Delicious apples (about 1 pound), peeled, quartered, cored and cut into medium dice (about 2 1/2 cups)

1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries, picked through and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup light brown sugar
4 ounces golden raisins (1/2 cup)
1/2 medium onion, minced tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest from 1 small lemon
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil; cover and simmer stirring occasionally, until apples are tender and most liquid is absorbed. Can be made a few days in advance.

Roasted brussel sprouts with pomelo (or grapefruit) and star anise (Ottolenghi)


1/2 cup/100 g superfine sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
5 star anise pods
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 pomelo (2 lb/900 g in total; 10 1/2 oz/300 g after peeling and segmenting)
1 1/3 lb/600 g brussels sprouts, trimmed
9 oz/250 g shallots, peeled
5 tbsp/75 ml olive oil
2/3 cup/10 g cilantro leaves
Salt and black pepper


Place the sugar, 7 tbsp/100 ml water, the cinnamon, and star anise in a small saucepan and bring to a light simmer. Cook for 1 minute, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat, add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, and set aside to cool.

Peel the thick skin off the pomelo and discard. Divide into segments, release the flesh from the membrane, then break the flesh into bite-size pieces and put in a shallow bowl, taking care to remove all the bitter white membrane. Once the syrup has cooled a little, pour it over the pomelo. Leave stirring occasionally

Preheat the oven to 425ºF/220ºC.

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, add the sprouts and shallots, and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain, refresh under cold water, and pat dry. Cut the sprouts in two, lengthwise, and halve or quarter the shallots (so that they are similar in size to the sprouts). Place everything in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the sprouts are golden brown but still retain a bite. Set aside to cool.

Before assembling the salad, remove and discard the cinnamon and star anise from the bowl. Drain the pomelo, reserving the juices. Just before serving, put the shallots, sprouts, pomelo, and cilantro in a large bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the pomelo marinade juices, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gently mix, then check the seasoning—you might need to add another tablespoon of the marinade—and serve.

Sweet potato fig salad (Ottolenghi)

Fresh figs start to make their appearance in the supermarket in October. It’s definitely worth it using them in this dish. If you can’t find them, we have had good results with soaked dried ones.


  • 4 small sweet potatoes (2 1/4 pounds total)
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Scant 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (you can use a commercial rather than a premium aged grade)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 12 green onions, halved lengthwise and cut into 1 1/2-inch segments
  • 1 red chili, thinly sliced
  • 6 ripe figs (8 1/2 ounces total), quartered
  • 5 ounces soft goat’s milk cheese (optional)
  • Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Wash the sweet potatoes, halve them lengthwise, and then cut each half into 3 long wedges. Mix with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and some black pepper.
  2. Spread the wedges out, skin side down, on a baking sheet and cook for about 25 minutes, until they are soft but not mushy. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  3. To make the balsamic reduction, place the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer for 2 to 4 minutes, until it thickens. Be sure to remove the pan from the heat when the vinegar is still runnier than honey; it will continue to thicken as it cools. Stir in a drop of water before serving if it does become too thick to drizzle
  4. Arrange the sweet potatoes on a serving platter. Heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the green onions and chili. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often to make sure not to burn the chili. Spoon the oil, onions and chili over the sweet potatoes. Dot the figs among the wedges, and then drizzle over the balsamic reduction. Serve at room temperature. Crumble the cheese over the top, if using.

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