Incorporating regional dishes into Thanksgiving meals

Try these recipes to inject something new into your tried and true family dinner.

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November 7, 2017 4 min read

There are certain dishes that every American associates with Thanksgiving dinner, whether you’re an Austin culinary arts student or a home cook on the East Coast. After all, who doesn’t love a plate piled high with turkey and mashed potatoes? However, you may be surprised by just how many regional variations there are on this holiday feast.

This year, explore the variety of fantastic Thanksgiving staples. You can prepare some of the most-loved foods from your area or stretch out by drawing ideas from across the country. Try these recipes to inject something new into your tried and true family dinner:

Celebrate New England-style with lobster and crab

“In coastal regions, lobster and crab remain important parts of the menu.”

The first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Colony, in the region that would become Massachusetts, was heavy on seafood. In coastal regions, lobster and crab remain important parts of the menu, sometimes even taking the place of turkey as a main course. Delish suggested preparing a tasty and visually impressive dish that features both crustaceans by stuffing lobster with crab imperial.

Start by making the crab imperial. Blend together an egg, mayonnaise, sugar, red pepper, parsley and old bay seasoning. Then, carefully combine with lump crab meat and place in the refrigerator for an hour.

Split lobster tails down the center, leaving the rest of the shell intact. Remove the meat from the shell and leave the end flaps inside. Fan out the lobster tails, bending up until they snap into place. Push the shells back together, positioning the split pieces on top.

Pour melted butter over the lobster and set in a pan to bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. After five minutes, remove the pan from the oven. Stuff the tails with crab imperial and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Add more butter, and carefully remove lobster from shell to serve.

Enjoy hearty, West Coast-inspired stuffing

There’s nothing Californian food enthusiasts love more than fresh, local ingredients, and Epicurious recommended an approach to stuffing that showcases an abundance of great flavors. First, remove the crusts from a loaf of sourdough bread and cut into half-inch cubes. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and place in an oven set to 350 degrees for up to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Move the bread into a bowl.

Cook breakfast sausage in a skillet on medium-high heat, using a fork to break into pieces. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a bowl and saute celery and onions in the drippings for 12 minutes.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Add Granny Smith apples that have been peeled and chopped into cubes. After 10 minutes, place in the bowl along with golden raisins.

Melt more butter and stir in chopped sage. Toss the sage butter with the rest of the ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Whisk together chicken broth and eggs and pour into the bowl. Then, transfer the mixture into a buttered baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour and rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Dig into a Southern sweet potato pie

Sweet potato pie is the quintessential dessert for a Southern Thanksgiving, and the Food Network passed along a classic recipe. First, bake sweet potatoes at 350 degrees for an hour. Allow to cool before scraping the pulp into a bowl and mashing.

Beat together white and brown sugars with butter before adding eggs, salt, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Pour in evaporated milk and beat the mixture in with the potatoes until smooth. Move the filling into the oven to bake for an hour and then serve with whipped cream.

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