For a Napa Valley-inspired Thanksgiving, wine is a necessity. However, it's not just meant for you to drink (although feel free to pair it with a glass or two). For these Napa, California, Thanksgiving menu ideas, you'll be infusing your favorite boozy beverage into the food, too.
Even if you've been cooking with wine for ages, you'll be suprised at these innovative and delicious recipes. Each one incorporates the drink in a smart, subtle way so you get a hint of vino that pairs oh so, nicely with what's in your glass.
So here they are: All your Thanksgiving favorites with a "secret" ingredient that steps up the fancy factor.
Stuffing: Wine-Infused Stuffing
Add a splash of: Sauvignon Blanc
This stuffing is a classier version of the side dish your grandma made. Add mushrooms, leeks, parsley, and dry white wine for a sophisticated twist on basic stuffing.
Don't worry, focaccia bread cubes supply your carb fix and broth keeps it moist.
With all this stuffing has to offer, the side might steal the show from the entrée.
Get the recipe: Wine-Infused Stuffing
Vegetable Side Dish: Wine-Poached Beets
Add a splash of: Merlot
These beets are better than ever, thanks to dry red wine, brown sugar, honey, and lemon wedges. The sweet and citrus flavors add that little something extra, making these beets go from plain Jane to poached perfection.
To avoid hugging your Thanksgiving guests with pink or red hands, wear plastic gloves when working with your beets.
Get the recipe: Wine-Poached Beets
Vegetarian Entree: Roasted Butternut Squash Filled with Port-Soaked Fruit
Add a splash of: Port
Butternut squash tastes sweeter than ever when roasted (the cooking technique caramelizes the natural sugars) and filled with port-marinated apricots and cherries. Add almonds, and each bite of this squash recipe is stuffed with deliciousness.
It gets even better, though! Top a slice of bread with cheese, then layer on the squash and fruit mixture. A fully loaded toast is so on-trend.
Get the recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Filled with Port-Soaked Fruit
Classic Entree: Roast Turkey with Onion Jam
Add a splash of: Chardonnay
Wondering where the wine comes in during this recipe? It's not in the jam, if that's what you were thinking. It flavors the gravy! The thick and flavorful gravy uses dry white wine, pan drippings, and more for a tasty turkey topping.
The roast turkey itself is delicious and made even better with the Sweet Onion Jam. With onion, garlic, and apple flavors, this delicious jam forms the perfect crust on the turkey while it roasts.
Small Crowd Swap: Make this same recipe with a two 2-pound turkey breasts instead. Roast bone side down for 30 to 45 minutes, brush with jam, and roast for 45 minutes more (or until juices run clear).
Get the recipe: Roast Turkey with Onion Jam
Dessert: Pumpkin Pie with Pomegranate Poached Pears
Add a splash of: ruby port
Pumpkin pie gets a wine-infused upgrade. Ruby port, pomegranate juice, star anise, and sugar flavor pears, clementines, and pomegranates in this yummy pie topping.
Fair warning: You may never go back to plain whipped cream again once you try this new way to enjoy pumpkin pie.
Get the recipe: Pumpkin Pie with Pomegranate Poached Pears
Drink: Mulled Riesling Punch
Add a splash (...actually a bottle) of: Riesling
It wouldn't be right to have a meal made with wine without some to drink as well! Wine straight from the bottle is fine, but if you want to step up your game, infuse it.
Start with your favorite white wine, then flavor it with ginger, honey, apple, cinnamon, and more for a warm wine cocktail perfect for fall.
Get the recipe: Mulled Riesling Punch
Thanksgiving Wine Tips and Tricks
Choosing the right wine can be tricky, especially when you're offering several dishes. But follow a few of our food-and-wine pairing tricks and you'll surely have a successful sip:
- A full-bodied white (try unoaked Chardonnay or Pinot Gris) or a light red (we like Pinot Noir or Beaujolais) can stand up to the turkey without overpowering lighter sides.
- Try rosé for a crowd-pleasing, versatile option that works well with a variety of side dishes and desserts.
- When in doubt, opt for sparkling, whether it's Cava, Prosecco, Cremant, or Champagne.
Bringing wine as a host or hostess gift or sending guests home with a favorite bottle? Make the present better by dressing it up with a custom label or cute wrapper.
With the right variety of wine and presentation, you'll look like a Napa Valley native.