A Southern kitchen is the heart of Thanksgiving Day celebrations. Whether you are preparing for an intimate family dinner or an outdoor gathering, we have some sides to dish! Some of the most reputable and best-loved Southern chefs offer up their favorite accompanying dishes for Thanksgiving — straight from their kitchens to yours. From dirty rice to braised button mushrooms to oyster stuffing, we bet you can’t choose just one …
6 Thanksgiving Recipes From Top Southern Chefs
Chef Becky Satterfield, Satterfield’s
“These muffins are a great accompaniment to a Thanksgiving meal because they’re mini muffins, so they’re not too filling,” Becky says. “The green chives add a nice flavor to each muffin.” We are CHIVEing, with this sentiment, Chef Becky!
Chef Becky Satterfield's Corn Muffins
- ⅔ cup yellow enriched cornmeal
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2⅔ cup buttermilk
- 8 eggs large
- ¾ cup vegetable oil or peanut oil
- 3 ears of corn shucked and kernels removed
- 3 green onions finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Add the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl. Gently mix to combine. Add the buttermilk, eggs and oil. Whisk until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and whisk for another 30 seconds. Stir in the corn and green onion.
- Spray a small muffin pan with release spray. Spoon the batter into the muffin wells. Place in the oven and cook for 17-20 minutes, until browned.
Chef Isaac Toups, Toups’ Meatery
New Orleans, LA
Cajun Dirty Rice
If a hearty dirty rice dish wasn’t on your Thanksgiving radar, we bet it will be now. “Dirty rice is as common at the Cajun holiday table as mashed potatoes are anywhere else,” explains Chef Isaac. “The trick to this dish is getting the sirloin nicely charred. Don’t break it up, just keep it in a block and sear it on each side until it browns nicely. The caramelized meat makes all the difference in the world.”
Chef Isaac Toups' Dirty Rice
- Large dutch oven
- 1 lb ground sirloin lean
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp toasted ground cumin
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ⅓ cup amber beer
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup white onion finely chopped
- ½ cup green bell pepper finely chopped
- ⅓ cup celery finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- ⅓ cup amber beer
- 1 cup chicken stock plus more as needed
- 2 cups jasmine rice or any medium-grain white rice, cooked as instructed
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ bunch green onions green tops only, chopped
SEAR THE MEAT
- Season the block of sirloin — no fancy shaping needed, just use it how it comes out of the tray from the grocery store — with 1 teaspoon of salt on each side.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it starts to smoke. Place the sirloin block in the skillet in one piece and let it sear until it really browns and caramelizes, 3 to 5 minutes. Then flip it and repeat, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Let it do its thing.
- Once the block of sirloin is well seared, chop it up in the pan with a metal spatula to sear the inside bits. Add the black pepper, cumin, and cayenne and stir well. Cook for a minute. Add the beer to deglaze the pan, and cook 1 minute longer, scraping up any browned bits. Remove from the heat and set aside. At this point, you could freeze the meat.
MAKE THE GRAVY
- In a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat, make a dark roux using the oil and flour, about 45 minutes. Once it’s the color of milk chocolate, add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and stir together. Cook for a minute. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the beer and mix well. In 1/3-cup increments, add the stock, stirring well between each addition. Stir frequently, but not continuously, until you have a well-emulsified gravy, thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Once the gravy is done, add the cooked beef. Add a splash of stock to the meat pan to deglaze to get the remaining “junk” out — the delicious extra bits that stick to the pan — and add to the gravy and meat. Bring the meat and gravy mixture back to a bare simmer. Cover and cook for 1 ½ hours, or until the raw flour has all cooked out and the sauce has no chalky or floury flavor.
- Add the cooked rice, butter, and green onions to the meat gravy in the pot. Stir it all together over low heat, just to warm it all through. Add salt to taste and serve.
Chef Matt Connelly, The Darling Oyster Bar
Hot on the Charleston food scene, Matt Connelly of The Darling Oyster Bar puts a very coastal twist on an oftentimes boring staple. “Dressing or stuffing is my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal. Adding oysters to this dish really brings it home to the Lowcountry in a way not many other ingredients can. This dish is also amazing on my second favorite part of Thanksgiving, the day-after-Thanksgiving leftover sandwich. Yes, bread on bread is delicious,” Chef Matt shares.
Chef Matt Connelly's Oyster Dressing
- 1 stick butter
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups onions small dice
- 3 cups celery small dice
- 4 qts bread medium dice, Chef Matt prefers a mixture of white bread and sourdough
- 1 tbsp fresh sage minced
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley minced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 20 oysters shucked, liquid saved, rough chop
- Dice bread and leave on the counter uncovered overnight.
- The next morning, turn the oven on and set to 350 degrees.
- Put the butter in a medium-size pot and add butter. Melt the butter over medium heat and slightly brown the butter.
- Add garlic, celery, and onions. Cook until onions and celery are soft.
- While the vegetables are cooking, toss the sage, parsley, and oysters together.
- Add cooked vegetables and chicken stock. Season with salt and ground back pepper.
- Put dressing into a greased oven-safe baking dish and bake covered with foil for 25 minutes.
- Uncover and bake another 5 minutes. Enjoy!
Chef Beverly Blaylock, Sweet Tea & Biscuits Cafe
Bye-bye, canned cranberry sauce! Tupelo chef Beverly Blaylock has a creative, packed-with-goodness fresh cranberry salad that will turn nonbelievers into cran-believers. “My mother always served this side dish with our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. It’s the perfect complement to dressing. The fresh cranberries give it a special taste. Canned berries cannot compete with fresh. Enjoy!” Beverly says.
Chef Beverly Blaylock's Cranberry Salad
- 1 bag fresh cranberries
- 6 oz black cherry Jell-o
- 1 large can crushed pineapple drained
- 2 cups celery finely chopped
- 4 cups apples finely chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
- In 3 cups water add the drained pineapple juice, add 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to a boil and dissolve Jell-o.
- Let it cool (this is important!).
- Add remaining ingredients; stir well and let it set up well before serving.
Chef Matt Bolus, The 404 Kitchen
Braised Button Mushrooms
An excellent side dish that’s easy to prepare, these mushrooms make a perfect addition to a weeknight supper, but they’re impressive enough to be a Thanksgiving side dish as well. Chef Matt tells us that his children love these mushrooms, so they are definitely kid-approved! “A quick braise in butter, salt and pepper is the method of preparation for this dish, and it’s finished with chervil, apple cider vinegar, and preserved lemons. If you don’t have preserved lemons on hand, a bit of lemon zest will give you a similar flavor and brighten the dish,” Matt says.
Chef Matt Bolus' Braised Button Mushrooms
- 2 lbs button mushrooms small to medium size
- 4 tbsp butter unsalted
- kosher salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp preserved lemon small dice
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp chervil chopped
- In a wide pan, combine the mushrooms and butter and place over medium heat. Season lightly with a pinch of both salt and black pepper.
- Cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally until they release all their water and seem to be boiling.
- Allow the mushrooms to continue cooking until all of the liquid is cooked off and the pan is nearly dry, again stirring occasionally.
- Once the pan is nearly dry, keep cooking the mushrooms over the same heat, stirring more and more frequently until they are all uniformly caramelized to a deep golden brown.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the apple cider vinegar, stir well to incorporate evenly. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and black pepper as needed.
- Pour the mushrooms into a large bowl and garnish them with the preserved lemon and chervil.
Chef Ron Hsu, Lazy Betty
Leftover Turkey Pho
Don’t toss those turkey remains! While this one isn’t a side dish for Thanksgiving, we can’t wait to try it the day after. Lazy Betty is a modern and innovative restaurant where Chef Ron Hsu creates bright and well-executed dishes for Atlantans and Southern travelers alike. He brought us this creative idea to turn your leftover turkey meat and bones into a delicious, warm-you-right-up pho for your post-Thanksgiving come down.
Chef Ron Hsu’s Leftover Turkey Pho
- 5 or 6 lbs turkey carcass or leg bones
- 6 qt cold water
- 2 medium onions quartered
- 1 piece of ginger 4-inch, halved lengthwise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 6 star anise
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 black cardamom pod
- 1½ tbsp salt
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 piece of yellow rock sugar 1-inch
- 1 lb "bahn pho" noodles small (1/8-inch wide), dried or fresh
- 1/2 lb turkey meat leftover
- 1/4 cup onions thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves chopped
- sprigs of fresh Thai basil or cilantro
- bean sprouts
- lime wedges
- fish sauce
- hoisin sauce
- To make the broth: Add turkey bones and carcass to a large pot that will hold at least 10 quarts. Cover bones with cold water and add cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, cloves and the black cardamom. Place onto low heat and cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant. Bring water to boil over high heat.
- Meanwhile, move an oven rack to a high position then turn broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place quartered onions and halved ginger onto baking sheet and broil for 10 to 15 minutes, turning onions and ginger occasionally so they become charred or browned on all sides.
- Add salt, fish sauce and the rock sugar to broth. Continue to simmer broth, uncovered, for 3 hours. If at any time foam rises to the surface, use a spoon to skim it off.
- After three hours, use tongs or a wide mesh spoon to remove bones, onion and ginger from broth. Then strain broth through a fine-mesh strainer and reserve.
- Bring the broth to a gentle simmer over medium heat.
- If using dried noodles, add noodles to a bowl then cover with hot water and soak for 15 to 20 minutes until soft and opaque. If fresh noodles, add to a colander then rinse with cold water. To cook fresh noodles, bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a boil. Place noodles into boiling water and cook for about 10 seconds or until they collapse. Drain noodles then divide between bowls. We like to fill each bowl by 1/3 with noodles.
- Add turkey meat into bowls and top with the hot broth. Finish with onion slices and cilantro and serve alongside a plate of optional garnishes, including sprigs of fresh Thai basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, lime wedges, fish sauce, hoisin sauce and sriracha.
Lest we forget the five delicious recipes that top Southern chefs gave us last year. Click each dish below for the recipe!
- Milk Bread by Katy and Joe Kindred of Kindred in Davidson, NC
- Brussels Sprouts Gratin by Chef Adam Evans of Automatic Seafood in Birmingham, AL
- Cheesy Grits by Chef Tandy Wilson of City House in Nashville, TN
- Beet Salad with Candied Orange Rind and Marcona Almonds by Chef Katie Button of Cúrate in Asheville, NC
- My Mother’s Sage Stuffing by Chef Ouita Michel of Holly Hill in Midway, KY
- Brussels Sprouts Salad by Chef Kevin Johnson of The Grocery in Charleston, SC
Thank you to this new batch of esteemed chefs for serving up some mouth-watering side recipes!
For more delicious recipes from our staff and favorite chefs, please visit our archives.