From Our Hearths to Yours: Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dishes and More

November 13, 2019 / Good to Know, Things to Do & See

Thanksgiving dinner is filled with family and friends and can be the traditional feast or a creative potluck. From mashed potatoes and stuffing, to the assortment of pies, it’s simply a wonderful time. We reached out to several of our local chefs to find out what their favorite seasonal recipes are that they love to serve at their own Thanksgiving meal for families and friends to enjoy. Here are a few ideas that you may want to include in your Thanksgiving dinner this year. Your dinner guests may be thankful that you did!

Scrumptious Starter

Gloucester Fishermen’s Monkfish Stew

From the kitchen of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association

A local favorite recipe! What’s better than enjoying fresh local seafood served in a deliciously warm and hearty stew? Can’t find monkfish in your local fish market? Use sea bass, scallops or halibut.

2 lbs Monkfish, cut into 1-inch cubesMonkfish Stew, Discover Gloucester

1/3 cup oil (vegetable or olive)

1 cup onion, sliced

1 cup celery, cut into pieces

1/2 cup carrots, cut into pieces

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 tsp chopped fresh parsley

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

In a saucepan, sauté onion, carrot, and celery in oil until softened. Add tomato sauce and cook for an additional three minutes, moderate heat. Add monkfish cubes, salt, pepper, and parsley. Stir, lower heat and cook for 20 minutes. For more broth, add a little water. Serve with bread or over rice. Serves 6.

Fabulous Sides

Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts

From the kitchen of Zach Sears, General Manager /Executive Chef at Minglewood Harborside 

2 cups Brussels sproutsBrussels Sprouts, Discover Gloucester

1/2 cup butter

7 oz bacon, chopped
3 oz maple syrup

Salt to taste

Melt butter. Cut ends off of Brussels sprouts and then cut sprouts in half. In a bowl toss Brussels sprouts in melted butter and syrup and season with salt. Coat the roasting pan with room temperature butter and place Brussels sprouts sliced side down on the pan. Sprinkle chopped bacon over the Brussels sprouts. Bake at 400˚ F for 45 minutes or until crispy. Serves 6.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash With Dried Cranberries and Maple Butter

From the kitchen of Beauport Hotel’s 1606 Restaurant

Spaghetti Squash5 lbs spaghetti squash

1 lb dried cranberries (such as Craisins)

2 lbs unsalted butter

4 oz Grade A maple syrup

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut squash in half, add salt and pepper and light oil, place squash face down on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes at 375˚ F. Once squash is ready, squeeze skin so the squash brakes and separates into spaghetti shapes.

Place butter into pan and let sit in room temperature for 2-3 hours until soft. Place soften butter into mixer and add maple syrup and season with salt and pepper to taste until incorporated. Mix finished butter with dried cranberries and squash. Serves 12.

Woodman’s Family Baked Stuffed Clam Recipe:

From the kitchen of Woodman’s of Essex

This recipe is a Woodman family tradition. Doug Woodman makes the clams at Christmastime and shares them with the family.

1 lb bacon

1/2 lb butter

12 large garlic cloves (minced)

2 medium red onions (chopped)

1 gallon minced clams (fresh)

8 oz Parmesan cheese

8 sleeves (30.2 oz) Ritz crackers

Fry the bacon in a frying pan until crispy, and set aside to drain on paper towels. Discard bacon grease. In a large pan, over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the garlic and onions until the onions are translucent. Add the clams and cook until tender (15 minutes). Crumble the bacon into the mixture, add grated cheese and stir for 1 minute.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the crushed crackers and stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Spoon the mixture into three aluminum pans (roughly 9”x11”) and divide evenly into each pan. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until the tops are browned. Yields 40 four-ounce portions.

Recipe Notes: You can cut the recipe or freeze the prepared mixture in the pans before baking.

Decadent Dessert

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Spice Butterscotch Drizzle

From the kitchen of Beauport Hotel’s 1606 Restaurant 

Pumpkin Cheesecaske with Spiced Butter Scotch Drizzle, 1606 Restaurant

Photo credit: Gary Tardiff


1 3⁄4 cups graham crackers

3 tbsp brown sugar

1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 stick butter (melted)

In bowl mix crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter. Line 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, spray lightly with pan spray, press crumb mixture on the bottom of the pan and part up the sides. Set aside.


2 8 oz packages of cream cheese (soften)

1⁄2 cup sugar

1⁄2 cup canned pumpkin puree

1⁄2 tsp vanilla

1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon

Dash ground cloves

Dash nutmeg

2 eggs

Heat oven to 350˚ F. Beat filling ingredients till well blended. Pour the filling mixture over crust. Cook 45 minutes. Turn oven off and crack open the door for 30 minutes. Remove place over a water bath and cool.

Spiced Butter Scotch Drizzle

1/2 pound of butter

2 sticks cinnamon

5 cloves of star anise

1 quart of heavy whipping cream

1 cup sugar

1 tbsp vanilla

1 tsp pumpkin spice

In a medium-sized saucepan add butter and sugar. Cook down into a caramel color. Add cinnamon and star anise. Reduce heat to low. Add heavy cream and cook into desired thickness. Add vanilla and pumpkin spice then remove from heat and cool. Drizzle sauce on top of the pumpkin cheesecake or serve in a small sauce bowl on the side. Serves 12.