Thanksgiving on the Side – Oregon Wine Press


Cast-Iron Focaccia Stuffing with Merguez from Mac Market.
Photo provided

November 1, 2020

Thanksgiving on the Side

Chefs share delectable dishes for a memorable feast

By Tamara Belgard

Thanksgiving brings many challenges, including snarky family, dry turkey, what to make other than the trusted green bean casserole and sweet potatoes buried under sticky marshmallow, and which wines will pair best the holiday fare. The following introduces some bright recipe-and-wine pairing ideas from local top chefs to elevate your traditional festive feast and make your table the best place to be.

Cast-Iron Focaccia Stuffing with Merguez

Recipe and Pairing

Chef Kari Shaughnessy, Mac Market, McMinnville

Yields 4 servings


6 cups stale sourdough focaccia (or any sourdough bread), cut into cubes

2 Merguez sausages, casing removed and crumbled

1 bunch kale, sliced thinly with rib still intact

1 egg

3 cups chicken or turkey stock (preferably homemade)

2 sprigs rosemary, chopped

6 sage leaves, chopped

6 sprigs dill, chopped

¼ cup grated smoked Gouda

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper, or any pepper flake


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In mixing bowl, combine cubed bread with sage, rosemary, dill and smoked Gouda. 2. Heat 8-inch cast-iron over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and let heat briefly. Once oil is hot, add crumbled sausage, not moving it until browned. Add kale and toss together. Turn off heat, pour in stock along with salt and Aleppo. Pour this mixture into mixing bowl; toss together and taste for seasoning. 3. Whisk egg in separate bowl and pour into mixing bowl. With hands or tongs, mix together thoroughly in order to break up bread and allow it to really soak up all liquid. 4. Place cast-iron back on medium heat and add butter. Let butter melt and slightly brown. Pour stuffing mixture into cast-iron and turn off flame. Press stuffing into pan in one even layer. Put pan in preheated oven for 30 minutes, then turn heat up to 450 degrees and let bake another 15 minutes. You’re looking for a browned, crispy top and soft inside. Let cool briefly before diving in.

Wine Pairing

RR Wines 2018 Ridgecrest Gamay Noir, Ribbon Ridge

Thanksgiving is, by far, my favorite holiday, because the food and wine are really what it is all about. Normally this day is filled with family as well as restaurant coworkers who are unable to go home, but luckily that means more hands in the kitchen. With a diverse menu, I have had great success with a Gamay pairing. This Ridgecrest red is fruity while still feeling lighter than a Pinot Noir. It has great versatility, working with all birds as well as a lamb sausage stuffing. It cuts the richness of Thanksgiving beautifully. Best served chilled.” —Kari Shaughnessy

Chorizo Verde Creamed Corn

Recipe and Pairing

Chef Gabriel Rucker and Andrew Fortgang, Le Pigeon / Canard, Portland

Yields 6 servings


½ pound chorizo verde (classic red will work)

4 cups corn kernels, cut off the cob

3 cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 onion, minced

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano

1 cup crème fraîche

2 teaspoons salt

2 limes, juiced


1. Melt butter in heavy-bottomed large pot or cast-iron pan. Add chorizo, onion and garlic. Use wooden spoon to break up chorizo while it cooks, about five minutes. 2. Add corn and stir to combine; cook about 5 minutes more, then season with salt. Add crème fraiche and simmer until fairly reduced and not too watery, about 3 or 4 minutes more. 3. Finish with lime and oregano.

Wine Pairing

Hiyu Wine Farm Tzum 2019 Solais “Spring Ephemeral” Columbia Gorge

“A great wine that will match the whole Thanksgiving feast and can handle the little bit of spice in the Chorizo Creamed Corn. This wine is way beyond rosé, but not quite a red. It’s from a vineyard planted to all 15 of the allowable varieties historically planted in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but with a far greater ratio of white to red grapes than may have ever existed there. This allows for a far more perfumed and ethereal expression of the sort of flavors one encounters from these grapes. The wine has pepper and spice, and orange peel and cranberry-like red fruit, with live acidity and just a touch of tannin to create a frame.” —Andrew Fortgang

Maple-Glazed Carrots with Truffle-Salted Pistachios

Recipe and Pairing

Chef Gabrielle Quinonez Denton, OX Restaurant, Portland

Yields 4 servings


½ cup unsalted butter

½ cup maple syrup, preferably Grade B

¼ cup water

1 pound large carrots, peeled

2 teaspoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

3 ounces chèvre, crumbled

1/3 cup truffle-salted pistachios (recipe follows)

20 tarragon leaves

* flaked sea salt


1. Cut carrots into even 1-inch pieces on the diagonal by using roll-cut method: beginning at the small end of each carrot, place your knife about ½ inch from end and cut through carrot at 45-degree angle. Roll it a quarter turn towards you so the cut angle is now facing you, then place knife about ½ inch up carrot and cut again at 45-degree angle. Continue roll-cut through the entire carrot and repeat with remaining carrots. 2. Place large pot or pan wide enough to contain carrots in one or two layers over medium heat and add butter, maple syrup and water; cook until butter is melted and mixture starts to boil. Add carrots, kosher salt and white pepper, stirring with spoon or heat-resistant spatula; cover and lower heat to bring mixture to a simmer. Steam carrots until firm-tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover pan and raise heat to bring mixture to a boil; cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is reduced to thick glaze for carrots. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. 3. Place glazed carrots onto platter and garnish with chèvre, pistachios, tarragon leaves and light sprinkling of sea salt.

Truffle-Salted Pistachios

1 cup raw shelled pistachios

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons truffle salt


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread pistachios in single layer in baking dish and bake until roasted, up to 10 minutes. Check nuts after 6 minutes and continue to check every minute until fragrant and just toasty. 2. Remove from oven and immediately transfer to bowl. Add oil and truffle salt, tossing well to combine. Immediately place nuts on flat surface to cool. Store refrigerated up to 1 month.

Wine Pairing

Mellen Meyer Riesling Brut, Flâneur Extra Brut or Kramer Vineyards NV Brut Zero Dosage

“If it were up to me, I would sip sparkling wine throughout the entire Thanksgiving feast and holiday. Thanksgiving drinking and dining is a marathon, not a sprint, so I appreciate that bubbles don’t weigh me down, and the bright, crisp acidity of sparkling wine provides a nice balance to the richness of the traditional Turkey Day accompaniments.” —Gabrielle Quinonez Denton

Roasted Delicata Squash with Candied Pecans, Chèvre, Pomegranate Seeds and Crispy Sage

Recipe and Pairing

Chef Jonathan Gill and Kristen Young, RingSide Steakhouse, Portland

Main Ingredients

1 Delicata squash, split with seeds removed

4 ounces goat cheese

2 ounces candied pecans (see recipe)

2 ounces pecan maple syrup (see recipe)

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

6 sage leaves, fried and lightly seasoned


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice Delicata squash into half rings. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper and spread on a greased baking sheet. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender and slightly caramelized. 2. Place into serving dish and garnish with chèvre, pecans, pomegranate seeds and drizzle of pecan syrup. Finish with crispy sage leaves.

Candied Pecans and Syrup

1 cup pecans chopped

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

2–4 tablespoons maple syrup


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bring water, sugar, cinnamon and star anise to a simmer. Add pecans and continue to simmer 45 minutes. Strain pecans and reserve liquid. Spread pecans on lightly greased baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. 2. When pecans are cooled to room temperature, they should be crunchy. If not, a few more minutes in the oven should do it. With reserved liquid, add 2 to 4 tablespoons maple syrup.

Wine Pairing

J.C. Somers 2019 Croft Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Willamette Valley

“This Sauvignon Blanc, more akin to the styles of France’s Loire Valley appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, is simultaneously delicate and powerful. The nose of fresh grapefruit zest and green bell pepper leads to a focused, generous palate of bright citrus fruit and smoky minerality. Tremendously well-structured with lively and bright acids, the pairing itself is a textural adventure contrasting the rich, earthy notes of baked squash and creamy goat cheese with the high-energy, nervy pop of acid. The accent of fried sage partners well with the greener, citrus-driven flavors of the wine. Pecans and pomegranate flavors stand out on their own, broadening the spectrum of complex flavors and a bit of crunch.” —Kristen Young

Chicory Fall Salad with Hazelnut Tuile and Pomegranate Yogurt

Recipe and Pairing

Chef Will Preisch, Abbey Road Farm, Carlton / Chris Cooper, Quaintrelle, Portland


2 small heads of chicories, cleaned, yielding roughly 5 to 6 cups

¼ cup hazelnuts

2 apples (Melrose or any balanced eating apple)

* pomegranate seeds from one fruit (½ to ¾ cup)

* Pomegranate Yogurt (recipe follows)

* Hazelnut Tuile (recipe follows)

* Herbes de Provence Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

2 ounces Comté (or any hard cheese with some age and developed some crystals)


1. Clean chicories and slice them into thin long strips, roughly width and length of a finger. Cut apples into sticks; toss with a little vinaigrette to prevent oxidation. Toast hazelnuts for around 10 minutes at 300 degrees, once cool enough to handle, give them a rough chop and season with a little salt. Toss together chicories, apples, most of the pomegranate seeds, a handful of hazelnuts with a couple spoonfuls of vinaigrette. Season with salt and taste, making sure to get both some lettuce and apple for a balanced bite. Is it too bitter? Maybe a little more apple, and a little more vinaigrette. Too sweet? A little more vinaigrette or some hazelnuts. Feel free to play with proportions and balance here. 2. To plate: spoon some pomegranate yogurt onto plate or bowl, spreading it out to a thin, even layer. Lay dressed salad on top. Take some pieces of hazelnut tuile and arrange artfully on top. With vegetable peeler, make thin long shavings of Comté and lay on top as well. Garnish with a few more of chopped hazelnuts and remaining pomegranate seeds. .3. Note: Hazelnut tuile, pomegranate yogurt and vinaigrette can be made ahead; everything else can be assembled right before guests arrive.)

Pomegranate Yogurt

1 cup plain yogurt

¼ cup pomegranate juice

* pinch of salt


1. Bring pomegranate juice to a boil in pot and reduce by half. Once cool, whisk all ingredients together.

Hazelnut Tuile

1½ sticks butter

½ cup sugar

1 ounce corn syrup

1 egg

½ cup hazelnuts, pulsed

½ cup all-purpose flour

* pinch of salt


1. Cream sugar, butter and corn syrup. Add egg on low speed until incorporated. Fold in remaining ingredients until fully incorporated. Roll out on full sheetpan between parchment and Silpat. Chill for at least 2 hours. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes, or until evenly golden brown, turning halfway through. Cool at room temperature. Break into pieces.

Herbes de Provence Vinaigrette

¼ cup cider vinegar

½ cup canola oil

¼ cup olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon herbes de Provence


1. Chop the herbes de Provence finely, and then whisk the rest of the ingredients together.

Wine Pairing

James Rahn 2018 Pinot Gris, Weber Vineyard or Analemma 2019 Mencia Rose, Mosier Hills Estate

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