Braintrust Family Thanksgiving Recipes

November 24, 2020

Since we consider our students a part of the Braintrust family, we wanted to share our favorite family Thanksgiving recipes!


Kate Megaw’s Bread Sauce Recipe

The only cookery book I have is Delia’s Christmas one and it is used twice a year (Christmas & Thanksgiving) and has been used for the past 30 years! Find the recipe here!

4 oz (110 g) freshly made white breadcrumbs (a two-day-old white loaf with crusts removed will be hard enough to grate, but the best way to make the crumbs is in a liquidiser, if you have one)
1 large onion
15-18 whole cloves or freshly grated nutmeg
1 bay leaf
8 black peppercorns
1 pint (570 ml) breakfast milk
2 oz (50 g) butter
2 tablespoons double cream
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Cut the onion in half and stick the cloves in it – how many you use is a personal matter; I happen to like a pronounced flavour of clove.

If you don’t like them at all, you can use some freshly grated nutmeg instead. Place the onion – studded with cloves – plus the bay leaf and the peppercorns, in a saucepan together with the milk. Add some salt then bring everything up to boiling point. Take off the heat, cover the pan and leave in a warm place for the milk to infuse for two hours or more.When you’re ready to make the sauce, remove the onion, bay leaf and peppercorns and keep them on one side.

Stir the breadcrumbs into the milk and add 1 oz (25 g) of the butter. Leave the saucepan on a very low heat, stirring now and then, until the crumbs have swollen and thickened the sauce – about 15 minutes. Now replace the clove-studded onion, the bay leaf and the peppercorns and again leave the pan in a warm place until the sauce is needed.

Just before serving, remove the onion and spices. Reheat gently then beat in the remaining butter and the cream and taste to check the seasoning.

Pour into a warm serving jug.

Milan Bajic’s New England Turkey Chowder

It’s the next best thing after the New England Clam Chowder! Find the recipe here!

1 cup salt pork (6 ounces) cleaned of any caked salt, then diced small (see our tutorial here)
1 ½ cups sweet onions diced, such as Vidalia
1/3 cup celery, diced very small
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
½ teaspoon white pepper
2 quarts turkey stock
 pounds New Red potatoes, peeled and diced into half inch pieces
2 pound turkey meat diced into bite sized pieces (white and dark meat)
1 quart half & half

In a medium sauté pan, place salt pork and cook over medium heat until browned and crispy, about ten minutes. Add onions and celery and cook for three minutes to soften.

Add butter and once melted, add flour and stir to form a roux. Cook over medium low for about three minutes or until the raw flour smell is gone. Remove from heat and stir in the thyme and pepper.

Fill a 6-quart pot with the turkey stock and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 5-10 minutes until tender.

Lower heat to medium and stir in the roux (salt pork mixture) with a wooden spoon.

Once the chowder is creamy and slightly thick, stir in the turkey and the half & half. Heat just to serving temperature, check for seasoning* and serve with oyster crackers.


Bill Schaller’s Mashed Potatoes

This is a great make-ahead dish that I spoon into a round casserole dish and sprinkle with a breadcrumb/butter crust.  Make sure to place on the middle rack to prevent scorching the bottom of the baking dish. Find the recipe here! 

6 lbs yukon gold potatoes
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
12 cup milk
2 teaspoons onion salt
12 teaspoon black pepper

Peel and cut the potatoes into large cubes and boil in salted water until tender.

Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese, then stir in the sour cream, milk and spices.

Drain and mash the potatoes in the pot, then stir in the cream cheese mixture.

Spoon into a casserole dish or a 9×13 pan.

You may cover it and refrigerate for 24 hours, or proceed to baking right away.

Bake covered with foil at 350 for 45 mins.

Increase the time if the dish has been chilled.


Kristyn Bara’s Sweet Potato Casserole

Topping can be subbed for mini marshmallows, added after 30 min and broiled until golden. Our family crowd favorite is half pecan topping and half marshmallows.

6 sweet potatoes
1c brown sugar
1/2 c milk
1/2 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 stick butter
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c flour
1 c pecans
Boil sweet potatoes until tender. Peel and mash – or whip with mixer depending on consistency you prefer. Add vanilla, milk, brown sugar, and butter to taste. Place in baking dish and sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350 about 30 minutes until topping is browned.


Dana Rhodes’ Corn Casserole

This is a Paula Deen recipe that my family loves on Thanksgiving!

4-15.25 oz. cans whole kernel corn, drained
½ cup butter
1-8 oz. Cream Cheese
1 cup evaporated milk
4 tablespoons All Purpose Flour

Preheat oven to 400. Place corn evenly in bottom of greased 9×13 baking dish. In a medium saucepan combine butter & cream cheese; cook over medium heat stirring frequently, until butter is melted & mixture is smooth. Stir in evaporated milk  & flour and continue cooking until mixture is smooth & creamy (about 5 minutes). Pour butter mixture over corn and mix well.

Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly & edges begin to brown.


Allyson Bower’s Artichoke Parmesan Sourdough Stuffing

My family loves to eat nontraditional Thanksgiving food—we also love oyster appetizers! Find the recipe here!

1 pound mushrooms, rinsed, ends trimmed, and sliced
 1 tablespoon butter
 2 onions (3/4 lb. total), chopped
 1 cup chopped celery
 2 tablespoons minced garlic
 About 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
 1 loaf (1 lb.) sourdough bread, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
 2 jars (6 oz. each) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
 1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves or 3/4 tsp. crumbled dried rosemary
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper
 1 large egg

In a 12-in. frying pan over high heat, cook mushrooms, butter, onions, celery, and garlic, stirring often, until vegetables are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Pour into a large bowl. Add a bit of broth to pan and stir to scrape up browned bits. Add to bowl.

Pour 2 cups broth into bowl and add bread, artichoke hearts, parmesan, poultry seasoning, and rosemary; mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Make a well in stuffing. Add egg and beat with a fork to blend; mix egg with stuffing.

Preheat oven to 325° to 350° (use temperature turkey requires; see Note below). Spoon stuffing into a shallow 3-qt. (9- by 13-in.) casserole. For moist stuffing, cover with foil; for crusty stuffing, do not cover. Bake until hot (at least 150° in center) or lightly browned, about 50 minutes.

Make ahead: Up to 1 day ahead, make stuffing, put in casserole, cover, and chill. Allow about 1 hour to bake.

Note: For turkeys 10-13 lbs., oven/bbq temperature should be 350°; for turkeys 14 lbs. and over, oven/bbq temperature should be 325°.


Anu Smalley’s Potatoes Au Gratin

I am not a blue cheese fan so I use Swiss and cheddar instead. Top it off with some bread crumbs seasoned with salt, pepper and parmesan cheese and YUMMY! Find the recipe here!

2 1/2 lbs peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick russet potatoes
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Preheat oven to 375 °F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish or similar sized casserole dish.

Arrange the sliced potatoes in the prepared dish. In a medium saucepan, saute the minced garlic in butter over medium heat until softened and fragrant. Stir in flour and cook for 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the cream until smooth and thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheeses. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour cheese sauce over the potatoes in the dish. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes until browned.


Scott Dunbar’s Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad with Apples and Goat Cheese

This one was a big hit, especially with those who don’t like traditional Thanksgiving food all that much (read, my wife and kids). Find the recipe here!

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 small shallot chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

For The Salad:

  • 1 pound Brussels Sprouts shredded*
  • 1 apple thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup hazelnuts or walnuts lightly roasted
  • ⅔ cup goat cheese crumbled


  1. To make the dressing, whisk together all the dressing ingredients in bowl.
  2. Place the shaved brussel sprouts in a large salad bowl and drizzle it with the dressing. Give it a toss. Cover with stretch film and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Add in the slices of apples, cranberries, and hazelnuts. Gently toss.
  4. Top it off with crumbled goat cheese and serve.

I substituted roasted pumpkin seeds for the hazelnuts and dried sour cherries for the cranberries. 



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