Thanksgiving feast begins close to home


Order an Ontario turkey so all your friends and family can enjoy the scrumptious Thanksgiving menu we have prepared using fresh locally-grown ingredients.

Broccoli and Cauliflower au Gratin, topped with cheesy breadcrumbs, makes a perfect make-ahead vegetable side dish for any harvest dinner.

Another easy option, Butternut Squash and Barley Bake, is reminiscent of a creamy risotto without all the stirring. Skip the bacon and substitute vegetable broth to make it a satisfying main for vegetarians.

Since we’re celebrating, the big bird has to be extra special. We’ve spread fresh herb butter under the skin and stuffed it with a mix of sweet and savoury. The result a delicious Herb Roast Turkey with Cranberry Pecan Stuffing.

Of course we can’t end this Thanksgiving feast with just any dessert. Roast a small Ontario pie pumpkin or buy a can of pumpkin purée and whip up our decadent Pumpkin Cheesecake with Maple Glazed Walnuts. Greek yogurt lightens up the cake, which can be made up to two days in advance.

Add an Ontario wine and wait for the applause!


Broccoli and Cauliflower au Gratin
Au gratin is a French term for a topping of cheese flavoured breadcrumbs. This dish can be prepared ahead making it perfect for entertaining.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 12


1/4 cup (50 mL) butter
1 clove Ontario Garlic, cut in half
2 cups (500 mL) fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 cup (75 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
6 cups (1.5 L) each medium-size Ontario Cauliflower and Broccoli Florets

Cheese Sauce:

3 tbsp (45 mL) each butter and all-purpose flour
2 cups (500 mL) Ontario Milk
1-1/4 cups (300 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp (5 mL) onion powder
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

Preparation Instructions:

In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute; remove and discard garlic. Stir in breadcrumbs, coating well; stir in cheese. Set aside.

Bring large pot of water to boil. Cook cauliflower for 2 minutes; add broccoli and cook 4 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender-crisp. Drain well; transfer to 12 cup (3 L) casserole. Keep warm.

Sauce: In large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour; cook, stirring until it changes colour slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, increase heat to medium, whisking constantly until mixture comes to boil. Stir in cheese, onion powder and salt. Pour over hot vegetables. Top with reserved breadcrumb mixture.

Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for 20 minutes until bubbling and topping is golden brown. (If made ahead and refrigerated, add 15 minutes to the baking time.)

Butternut Squash and Barley Bake

This hearty casserole features easy peeling butternut squash. Serve with turkey, chicken, pork roast or sausages.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Baking Time: 75 minutes
Serves: 8


4 strips Ontario Bacon cut into
1/4-inch (0.5 cm) pieces
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) chopped Ontario Leeks (white and light green parts)
1/2 cup (125 mL) diced Ontario Celery
1 clove Ontario Garlic, minced
4 cups (1 L) diced Ontario Butternut Squash
(1/2-inch/1 cm)
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) pearl barley
5 cups (1.25 L) sodium-reduced chicken or beef broth
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh Ontario Thyme Leaves (or 1 tsp/5 mL dried)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh Ontario Parsley

Preparation Instructions:

In large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring often, until semi-crisp. With slotted spoon, transfer bacon pieces to paper towel; set aside. Drain off all but 1 tbsp (15 mL) fat. Add leeks and celery to skillet and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in garlic, cook for 1 minute.

Transfer mixture to 16 cup (4 L) baking dish. Stir in squash, barley, broth, thyme and salt. Cover and bake in 350°F (180°C) oven until barley is tender and broth is absorbed, 60 to 75 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and reserved bacon.

Herb Roast Turkey with Cranberry Pecan Stuffing

This turkey is butter-basted with herbs to preserve moistness and add flavour to the pan drippings for gravy.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Roasting Time: 4 hours
Serves: 8 to 10


1 fresh Ontario Turkey (10 lb/5 kg)


1/4 cup (50 mL) butter or vegetable oil
2 Ontario Onions, chopped
3/4 cup (175 mL) diced Ontario Celery
1 clove Ontario Garlic, minced
8 cups (2 L) dry bread cubes (1/2-inch/2 cm)
1 cup (250 mL) pecan pieces, toasted
1 cup (250 mL) Ontario Cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped fresh Ontario Parsley
1 tbsp (15 mL) each chopped fresh Ontario Sage and Summer Savory
1/4 cup (50 mL) sodium-reduced chicken broth (approx.)

Herb Butter:

1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp (15 mL) minced Ontario Garlic
1 tbsp (15 mL) each chopped fresh Ontario Rosemary, Summer Savory and Thyme

Preparation Instructions:

Stuffing: In Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and celery; cook, stirring often until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in bread cubes to coat well. Remove from heat, stir in pecans, cranberries, parsley, sage and savory. Stir in enough broth to lightly moisten bread. Set aside.

Herb Butter: In small bowl, blend together butter, garlic, rosemary, savory and thyme. Set aside.

Prepare turkey by removing giblets, rinse inside and out; pat dry with paper towel. Fill neck cavity with some of the stuffing; close and secure skin with small metal skewer. Place remaining stuffing in main cavity. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Get under breast skin with fingers to loosen. Spread 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 25 mL) herb butter under each side of breast. Spread 2 tbsp (25 mL) over the entire top. Melt remaining butter to use for basting.

Place turkey on rack in roasting pan; tent with foil, tucking in sides but leaving ends open. Roast in 325°F (160°C) oven for about 3-1/2 hours, basting with melted herb butter. Remove foil to brown during last 30 minutes (cover legs and stuffing with foil if needed). Insert meat thermometer in thickest part of inner thigh, not touching bone. Turkey is done when thermometer reaches 185°F (85°C). Transfer turkey to large carving board and let stand 15 minutes. Remove stuffing from both cavities into warm serving dish. Make gravy with drippings, if desired.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Maple Glazed Walnuts
Take advantage of the abundance of Ontario pie pumpkins in your fall baking. This cheesecake has all the taste and creaminess of pumpkin pie without having to make pastry.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Baking Time: 65 minutes
Chilling Time: 4 hours or up to 24 hours
Serves: 12


1-1/4 cups (300 mL) graham wafer crumbs
3 tbsp (45 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 mL) melted butter


1-1/4 cups (300 mL) granulated sugar
4 tsp (20 mL) cornstarch
3 pkgs (250 g each) brick light cream cheese, softened
3 Ontario Eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 mL) packed brown sugar
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) cooked Ontario Pie Pumpkin Purée, drained
1/3 cup (75 mL) 2% plain Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) vanilla
2 tsp (10 mL) ground cinnamon
1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground cloves

Maple Walnuts:

2 tsp (10 mL) butter
1 cup (250 mL) walnut halves
2 tbsp (25 mL) Ontario Maple Syrup
1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar
3/4 tsp (4 mL) ground cinnamon
Whipped Cream

Preparation Instructions:

In medium bowl, mix together crumbs and sugar. Stir in melted butter. Press firmly into 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan; wrap bottom of pan with foil, set aside.

Filling: In small bowl, mix together sugar and cornstarch. In large bowl, using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, granulated sugar and cornstarch together until very smooth.

In separate large bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar. Stir in pumpkin, yogurt, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Fold in cream cheese mixture until well blended. Pour over prepared crust.

Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven until almost set in the centre, about 1 hour. Remove to wire rack. Immediately run knife around edge of pan. Allow to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

Maple Walnuts: In large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in walnuts, maple syrup, sugar and cinnamon. Cook, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes, until nuts are well coated. Spread on parchment paper-lined baking sheet, separating pieces. When cooled, coarsely chop.

Remove outer ring from springform pan and place on serving platter. Decorate with whipped cream and chopped walnuts.


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