Thanksgiving Recipes Talking Turkey with Chef Ian Knauer

By  | 

The Recessionista in the Kitchen

As all my US readers know. Thanksgiving is November 26 and most of us will be eating at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Some of us are out shopping, some of us are busy in the kitchen.  I  interviewed  with Chef Ian Knauer to talk about how to add some extra flavor to the Thanksgiving feast using local herbs and fresh flavors. If you haven’t heard of Ian, he is part of website’s cooking video series show how to use fresh ingredients to make a local, sustainable, and organic Thanksgiving meal.  Ian is a former food editor at   This year, Thanksgiving Turkeys are sold out many places, so I thought it might be helpful to share Ian’s recipe for duck.

Here’s my interview with him, plus some of his favorite recipes that you might want to try for Thanksgiving, or any time during this holiday season.

Q) What fresh ingredients can really add flavor to traditional fare (stuffing, turkey, gravy) etc.

A. I like to use fresh herbs instead of dry herbs. When I stuff my duck with herbs or make the stuffing that is something that is a must. It gives you a headiness that you don’t get from dry herbs.

Pumpkin Soy Cheesecake, a healthy Thanksgiving choice.

Q) Do you have any ideas to refresh the traditional pumpkin pie? I’m thinking Caradamon or other spices?
A. I think the pumpkin soy cheesecake is one that is a different creation and I am really proud of it. So many people these days have dairy allergies and it is a great substitution. However when making a traditional pumpkin pie, I actually like to take the spices like cinnamon and nutmeg out so you can really taste the pumpkin. The pumpkin flavors alone are really delicious.

Chef Ian Knauer’s Roast Duck

Q) What recipes to do you suggest as alternative to the traditional Turkey feast?

A. I actually like to make duck instead of Turkey. I find that turkey is really dry, and I prefer the flavors in a duck. I make a beer braised duck, that I am actually making that with my family this week. It truly has a ton of flavor from the beer and aromatics.

To learn how to make Ian’s Crispy Duck, Pumpkin Soy Cheesecake,  Sausage/ Cranberry Stuffing and shredded Swiss Chard salad  pick up the recipe’s from his Tastemaker’s series by clicking here or using the recipes posted below.

Crispy Beer-Roasted Duck Ingredients
1 (6-lb) duck
1 small orange, quartered 5 or 6 thyme sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
1 sage sprig
2 cups boiling Smoked IPA 1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.
If necessary, cut off wing tips with poultry shears or a sharp knife. Remove and discard excess fat from body cavity and neck, then rinse duck inside and out. Season cavity with salt and pepper, then fill cavity with orange, thyme, rosemary, and sage. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Fold neck skin under body, then put duck, breast side up, on a rack in a 13- by 9- by 3-inch roasting pan and pour hot beer over duck (to tighten skin). Pour out any beer from cavity into pan. Pat duck dry inside and out, reserving water in pan, then rub duck inside and out with kosher salt and pepper.
Roast duck, breast side up, 45 minutes, then remove from oven. Turn duck over and roast 45 minutes more. Turn duck over again (breast side up), tilting duck to drain any liquid from cavity into pan. Continue to roast duck until skin is brown and crisp, about 45 minutes more (total roasting time: about 21⁄4 hours). Tilt duck to drain any more liquid from cavity into pan. Transfer duck to a cutting board and let stand 15 minutes before carving.

Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing
8 cups (1⁄2-inch) pieces firm white bread (3⁄4 pound) 11⁄2 pounds fresh pork sausage meat, crumbled
1⁄2 stick (1⁄4 cup) unsalted butter
2 onions, chopped
3 celery ribs, sliced 1⁄4 inch thick
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon crumbled dried or fresh sage 2 teaspoons dried or fresh thyme
11⁄2 cups duck stock or chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Toast bread in a large shallow baking pan in middle of oven until dry and pale golden, about 20 minutes.Cook sausage in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring and breaking up large lumps, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.
Add butter to fat remaining in skillet and cook onions, stirring, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add celery and garlic and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with sausage and stir in bread, cranberries, sage, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer stuffing to a buttered 3- to 4-quart baking dish and drizzle with broth. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until bread is golden and stuffing is heated through, 20 to 25 minutes more.


Pumpkin (Soy) Cheesecake

For the crust:
5 tablespoons coconut oil
11⁄2 cups gingersnap crumbs (from about 6 oz) 2 tablespoons sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the filling:
3⁄4 cup sugar
8 oz soy cream cheese
2 large eggs
1⁄4 cup soy milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup cooked pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9-to 91⁄2-inch pie plate.
Stir together the coconut oil, gingersnap crumbs, sugar, and salt and press them into the bottom and up side of pie plate.
Bake until crisp about 15 minutes, then cool completely about 45 minutes.
Whisk together the sugar and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the eggs, soy milk, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon. Reserve 2/3 cup of cheese mixture. Whisk the pumpkin into the remaining cheese mixture.

Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust. Drizzle reserved 2/3 cup cheese
mixture over pumpkin mixture to create a marbled pattern, then swirl once with a fork. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake until center is just set, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool, then chill until cold, at least 4 hours.




Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.