Thanksgiving Feast, Wine Pairings and Recipes

The holidays are coming!  The holidays are coming!   Tidings bellow from the Town Crier as he trots through cobblestone streets sporting a 35-pound turkey on his leash.  In this modern era, the Town Crier manifests in a variety of ways signaling the coming of autumn and the holiday season.  For some it is the barrage of college sports on the television.  Retailers put the finishing touches on storefront windows, kitchen pantries load up on cinnamon, clove & nutmeg as ovens start blazing again.


There are so many plans to be made, meals to prepare and social gatherings to attend. Everything about the holidays seems to be centered around food and drink.  The December post includes a step by step guideline for how to host a formal sit-down wine diner and actually “Enjoy the Event Yourself’.  Something magical occurs when the right wine is paired with good food and fellowship.  Here are some food and wine pairing suggestions to help in planning your Thanksgiving Feast.


An hors d’oeuvre tray typically has an array of tastes and flavors.  In general, it is best to stay with a white or sparkling wine and here are some interesting suggestions: Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, dry Rosé, Pinot Blanc and, of course, my favorite:  Sparkling Rosé Brut.


Roasted Turkey with Chestnut-Sausage Stuffing

Baked Ham with Michigan Cherry Sauce

Mashed Potatoes with Giblet Gravy

Candied Yams with Homemade Marshmallow

Green Bean Casserole Supreme (Recipe Below)

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Toasted Pecans & Warm-Brandy Sauce (Recipe Below)


Riesling is an excellent choice.  This grape complements both and turkey and ham and has enough acidity and residual sugar to stand up to the sweet & spicy elements of the meal such as vinaigrette, cranberry and cherry sauce.  If you prefer red wine or want to offer an array of wine pairings, other suggestions include Pinot Noir, Beaujolais and Zinfandel.


The general rule is that the wine should be slightly sweeter than the dessert.  Ports and sweet Sherries are great accompaniments.  Also included in the list of dessert pairings are Ice Wines and Late Harvest wines such as Semillon and Muscat.

If you have a specific menu and would like assistance in pairing the wine, please leave your request in the comment section below and I will respond by email.  As a final note, plan your holiday meal,  purchase the wine, prepare everything you can in advance including setting the dinner table and then just have fun.

Recipe for Green Bean Casserole Supreme


green-bean-supreme-This recipe takes time to make however, if you’re looking for that special crowd pleaser, this is the one.  And it goes so well with the Thanksgiving meal.

Serves 8

Assemble These Supplies:

2 lbs. fresh Green Beans
1/4 cup Slivered Almonds
6 pieces Bacon
30 fresh Pearl Onions
1 large Red Bell Pepper, cut into julienne strips, ¼” wide x 1-1/2” long
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
4 oz. Crimini Mushroom, thin sliced (optional)
1 Tbs Oil
2.8 oz. Tin French-Fried Onion Rings

For the Cream Sauce

3 Tbs Butter
¼ cup Flour
3 cups Whole Milk
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Black Pepper

Follow These Steps:
  1. Trim green beans, cut in half and steam till al dente.
  2. Pan sauté bacon till crisp, drain off excess grease on paper towel. Let cool and chop into thin strips
  3. Toast almonds in rendered bacon fat in a small sauté pan, stirring constantly till golden brown.
  4. Remove skin from the pearl onions and steam till cooked thoroughly, about 10 minutes.
  5. Sauté chopped garlic, red bell pepper and mushroom (optional) lightly in oil


Make the Cream Sauce:

Melt butter in a medium size sauce pan.  Remove from heat and slowly stir in flour with a French whip.  Slowly incorporate milk in ½ cup increments stirring continually to avoid producing any lumps.  Bring sauce to a low boil while stirring constantly.  Lower heat and cook till sauce thickens to desired consistency, stirring often. Add salt and pepper, then final season to taste.

Final Mixing 

Fold all ingredients together in a large bowl except cream sauce.  Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add cream sauce.  Arrange in a greased, shallow (approximately 3 inches deep) casserole dish of your choice.  Top with onion rings.  Cover lightly with foil. The casserole is completely cooked so just needs warming.  Cook covered in 350° oven for 15 minutes.  Remove foil, increase oven to 375° and continue cooking 15 minutes or till hot and slightly browned on top. Serve immediately.

Recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake with Toasted Pecans & Warm Brandy Sauce


Assemble these Ingredients

Yield: 1 10inch Cheesecake

Graham Cracker Crust

1-3/4 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/2 cup Almond Meal
3 Tb Sugar5 Tb Butter

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling

2-1/2 lb Cream Cheese
1/8 tsp Salt
1-3/4 cup Sugar
7 Large Eggs( 5 whole and 2 yolk only)
1/3 cup Sour Cream
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
½ tsp Allspice
Small Size Canned Pumpkin

Toasted Pecan – Brandied Caramel Topping

Approximately 20 Whole Pecans
1 cup Caramel (Recommend Mrs. Richardson Brand)
¼ cup  Brandy

Steps in Preparation:

Remove foil from cream cheese, place in large mixing bowl, cover and allow to come to room temperature.  Turn oven to 350°F.  Meanwhile measure out all ingredients.

Make the Crust

In a medium size mixing bowl add graham cracker crumbs, almond meal and sugar. Melt butter and pour in slowly, stirring to moisten without clumping.  Butter the sides and bottom of a 10” spring form pan.  Pour in mixture; press up sides and coat the bottom.  Bake in oven for 8 minutes.  Remove and let cool.

Make the Filling

Beat cream cheese on medium for two minutes.   Add sugar in ½ cup allotments beating as you add.  Add eggs in three allotments.  Stir with a spatula to mix evenly.  Add remaining ingredients and beat on medium speed while stirring occasionally till well blended.  Add filling to crust and bake for one hour. Remove from oven and let cool for 1 hour.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Make the Toasted Pecan – Brandy Caramel Topping:

Pan sauté pecans in small amount of oil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted, approximately 10 minutes.  Let cool and place atop cold cheesecake. Heat caramel and brandy in small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often.  The goal is to cook out the alcohol and leave the brandy essence in the caramel. This takes about 10 minutes.  Let mixture cool to warm  before pouring over cheesecake.   Butter pecan ice cream and a dollop of whipped cream make awesome accompaniments

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