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A Midwestern Thanksgiving Dinner

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Famous for their tailgating parties, Midwesterners know how to throw a tasty Thanksgiving, too.

The turkey and stuffing serve 12-14, the mashed potatoes serve 12, and the haricots verts recipe has been doubled to serve 12 (there’ll be leftovers, and the shopping list reflects the scaled up amounts). The pie serve 8, so you’ll want to double the recipe if it’ll be the only dessert.

In an homage to the Upper Midwest, the turkey in this flavor-packed menu has a mustard-herb butter rubbed under the skin, and the gravy is enhanced with mustard and beer. The bread stuffing is loaded with tasty morsels (ham, kale, dried cherries, parsnips), reflecting Midwest’s agricultural bounty. Rustic mashed potatoes and fresh pear pie round out the feast.

Menu Timeline

1 Week Ahead

  • Make the cranberry sauce; refrigerate.

3 Days Ahead

  • Toast the bread cubes for the stuffing; store at room temperature.

1 to 2 Days Ahead

  • Butter, season, and refrigerate the turkey; reserve 1/4 cup of the butter for making the gravy; refrigerate.
  • Make the broth for the gravy; refrigerate.
  • Fry the shallots for the haricot vert; store at room temperature.
  • Boil the haricot vert; refrigerate.
  • Prep and assemble the stuffing ingredients, but do not add the eggs or broth; refrigerate.
  • Make the pie; store at room temperature.

4 Hours Before Dinner

  • Take the turkey out of the refrigerator; let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

3-1/2 Hours Before Dinner

  • Heat the oven to 350°F.

3 Hours Before Dinner

  • Roast the turkey.
  • Cook the potatoes.

2 Hours Before Dinner

  • Bake the stuffing.
  • Mash the potatoes and add the other ingredients; cover the bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water.

1 Hour Before Dinner

  • Make the sauce for the haricots verts.

30 Minutes Before Dinner

  • Let the turkey rest, tented with tin foil; make the gravy.
  • Mix the haricot vert with the sauce and bake.

Just Before Dinner

  • Carve the turkey.
  • Top the haricots verts with the shallots.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 large and 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 medium stalks celery
  • 4 large parsnips
  • 3 cups kale
  • 6 large shallots
  • 4 lbs. haricots verts
  • 3 lb. mixed mushrooms (such as oyster, shiitake, and cremini)
  • 3 lb. ripe Anjou or Bartlett pears (5 or 6 medium)
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 medium cloves garlic

Meat, Seafood, Eggs & Dairy

  • 1 16-lb. fresh turkey
  • 3/4 lb. Black Forest (or other smoked) ham
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2-1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 20 oz. ( 5 sticks) unsalted butter

Other Groceries

  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 8-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 2 cups beer, such as Budweiser
  • 4 Tbs. medium sherry
  • 4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 1-lb. loaf rustic white bread with crust
  • 1/2 cup halved dried sour cherries
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup dried tart cherries, coarsely chopped

Pantry Staples

  • kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cups vegetable oil
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

The Menu


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