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What Ya Got Cookin'? Three chefs' tried-and-true Thanksgiving recipes

America's Thanksgiving Day dinner tables reflect a variety of food traditions and changing tastes. (Wikimedia Commons)
America's Thanksgiving Day dinner tables today reflect a variety of food traditions and embrace our changing tastes. (photo by Paolo O./Flickr/CC)

It's the 6th anniversary of the universally beloved What Ya Got Cookin-Thanksgiving Edition, here on Midday.

Last Thanksgiving, the rule of thumb was cancel, or keep it super small. COVID infections are once again on the rise, but lots of people, even those as young as five, have been vaccinated and boosted, so many more people are venturing back to the Thanksgiving table.

Our mission here on Midday is simple: we've got three wonderful chefs at your disposal to share recipes and tips to help make your Thanksgiving dinner a delicious and memorable affair.

John Shields is a chef and the proprietor of Gertrude's Chesapeake Kitchen at the Baltimore Museum of Art. He's also the host of Coastal Cooking on MD Public Television and PBS. John's latest book is The New Chesapeake Kitchen.

Chef Damian Mosley is the creative spirit behind Blacksauce Kitchen, which you can find at the Waverly Farmer’s Market and at their storefront on 29th Street in Remington.

A little later in the show, we’ll check-in with Debonette Wyatt, the chef and owner of My Mama’s Vegan, a new Vegan restaurant on Greenmount Avenue here in Baltimore. So if you are not a turkey eater, we’ll be showing you some love a little later.

John Shields of Gertrude's Chesapeake Kitchen; Damian Mosely of Blacksauce Kitchen; Debonette Wyatt of My Mama's Vegan
John Shields of Gertrude's Chesapeake Kitchen; Damian Mosley of Blacksauce Kitchen; Debonette Wyatt of My Mama's Vegan

And speaking of My Mama’s, we’ll also check in with Tom's mama, Rosemary Hall, to find out what she’s bringing to Thanksgiving with his brother in Tennessee...

Whatever you love about Thanksgiving, we’d love to hear about it. What are your family food traditions? Which of the six million ways to make cranberry sauce will you choose tomorrow? Who’s coming to your house, or whose house are you going to, and what COVID precautions will everybody be taking?

Let’s talk, and let’s share with each other the things we love about Thanksgiving, culinary or otherwise.

Audio will be posted here later this afternoon.

Some community notes:
The Y of Central MD’s annual Turkey Trot Charity 5k is happening again tomorrow. You can run it. You can walk it. You’ll enjoy it either way, and you’ll help the Y provide meals and services to folks throughout Central MD. To sign up, click here.

And this note about some musical happenings at An Die Musik, the performance venue in Baltimore’s Mt. Vernon neighborhood. The John Lamkin Quintet will play a set Friday night; TK Blue and the Mentors Trio will play Saturday night, and on Sunday afternoon and evening, the Eric Byrd Trio will play “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” a great show for families. You need to be vaccinated to attend in person. You can stream all of these shows too. Check it all out at An Die Musik's Website.

Here are three of John Shields' classic Thanksgiving recipes:

Thelma’s Crab and Artichoke Dip

This rich and satisfying dip recipe is from Baltimore’s Thelma Tunney. It teams blue crabmeat with tender artichoke hearts in a lightly spiced mayonnaise-based sauce and is actually prepared like a casserole. When guests find out Thelma has been invited to a potluck party they are also attending, their mouths start watering in anticipation of this dip. Thelma often serves this dish as an entree baked in individual ramekins accompanied by a fresh garden salad and a hot crusty baguette. When you serve it as a dip, provide plenty of baguette slices or crackers for dipping.

Serves 8 to 10

8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 

2 cups mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 

Juice of 1 lemon 

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Freshly ground black pepper 

1 jar (16 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and cut into small pieces 

1 pound backfin or special crabmeat, picked over 

½ cup chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 6-cup casserole dish.

Combine the cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire, lemon juice, cayenne, and black pepper in a large bowl. Stir until well mixed. Gently fold in the artichoke hearts, crabmeat, and parsley. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve at once.


Champagne Cabbage and Apples

Not that I really understand the concept, but some people just do not like sauerkraut—go figure. But I found a solution--a little devious, but a solution nevertheless. And here it is: a braised champagne “kraut,” with ginger, caraway, and a goodly amount of tart apples. The secret is rinsing the sauerkraut well under cold water, and then the kraut naysayers will enjoy a plateful extolling the virtues of cabbage, and, of course, champagne. Honestly, whether you like kraut or not, this dish really is a crowd pleaser.

Serves 8

6 tablespoons butter or olive oil

2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (optional)

1 small onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3 tart apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

2 jars (2 pounds each) sauerkraut, rinsed in cold water several times and drained

2 cups dry champagne

1 teaspoon caraway seed (optional)

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a heavy ovenproof pot, melt the butter, and if using, render the bacon for a few minutes. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic. Sauté for 4 minutes. Add the apples and sauté for 2 minutes longer.

Place the rinsed sauerkraut into the pot. Pour in the champagne, caraway seed, salt, and pepper. Toss together and bring to a boil.

Cover tightly and bake in the oven for 1 hour.


Emily’s Favorite Black Rock Orchard Apple Pie

2 ¾ cups flour

¾ cup butter

1 large egg

¼ cup milk

10 large tart apples

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup cereal flakes (corn, wheat, or a similar type of cereal)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the flour in a mixing bow land cut butter in with a pastry cutter, or the tips of your fingers, or in a food processor. If using a food processor, use the pulse feature, taking care to only get a coarse mixture. You don’t want to over process. Beat the egg and the milk together and mix with the flour mixture to form a stiff dough. Divide the dough into two pieces and refrigerate.

Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples into a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together and mix with the apple slices.

Roll out one ball of dough to fit the bottom and sides of a 12X9-inch Pyrex baking pan. Sprinkle with the cereal flakes, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges of the dough. Spoon the apple mixture over the flakes. Roll out the remaining dough and place over the apples. Seal by pinching the edges together and brush with a little milk to help brown the top of the pie.

Place pie in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Pie may be served warm or cold. Serves 10 to 12.

Adapted from John Shields’ "Chesapeake Chef" column in Edible Chesapeake Magazine, Fall 2008 Edition

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Rob is a contributing producer for Midday.