For Chef Elizabeth Long-Furia, it’s not Thanksgiving without the Macy’s Day Parade on TV and plenty of pie.
“I grew up in New Jersey and when I was really young, we would go into New York and go to the parade,” she recalls. “Another big tradition is ‘Pie Night’ one or two days before Thanksgiving. My mom, my sisters and I make apple pie, pecan pie, and mince pie (which was one of my father’s favorites).”
When she’s not enjoying a leisurely nap in front of the fire (another holiday tradition), Long-Furia runs Elizabeth’s Bistro, a charming, award-winning restaurant in Lewisburg, PA, with a focus on products from the Susquehanna Valley.
We partnered with Long-Furia to pair her Thanksgiving menu with Pennsylvania wines. Make opening a couple of local bottles your family’s new tradition.
What better way to welcome your guests on an autumn afternoon than with a warm snack and a glass of bubbly?
“Any kind of celebration, I like to start with a sparkling wine because I just think that gets people going” says Long-Furia.
This Lehigh Valley sparkler is crisp and dry, but with roundness from a second fermentation in the bottle. It’s sure to inspire smiles and zippy conversation.
“As for the brie, I prep it the night before,” she adds. “Slice it lengthwise, stuff it with some apple chutney or cranberry chutney, wrap it with buttered phyllo dough [from the freezer section at the grocery store], and put it in the oven 25 minutes before people arrive. We usually do a display with grapes, apples, crackers, things like that.”
Roasted butternut squash, pumpkin & apple bisque paired with Whispering Oaks Vineyard Apple Cider Wine
Roasted beet salad with citrus vinaigrette and Nimble Hill Vineyard & Winery Pinot Grigio
Now it’s time to lure folks to the table. A bowl of soup or a plated salad are two great options — or you could do both!
Long-Furia’s riff on a seasonal squash soup has a little bit of sweet and a little bit of heat.
“The butternut squash mellows out the pumpkin flavor, and then I add roasted apples to it,” she explains. “We purée that and mix in a little bit of cream. The other thing we do is top the soup with a curry-brown-butter drizzle, which gives it almost an Indian flavor.”
The chef pairs this dish with Whispering Oak’s Apple Cider Wine, an off-dry wine made from five different apples that will make the bisque’s individual ingredients shine.
After the richness of the soup and the brie, it’s time for something different. Assemble a salad of beets, bitter greens (endive, radicchio, fennel), pears, walnuts, shaved pecorino, and tangy dressing. These are all ingredients that can be dressed in advance without wilting, making the host’s life slightly less complicated.
“I’ve done this salad in the restaurant for years,” she says, noting its versatility. “We might do pears one year, apples another. The endive and the radicchio is really nice — it makes your mouth get going.”
According to Long-Furia, go for a dry PA Pinot Grigio with lemon notes and a little bit of minerality. It will let the flavors show through.
Roasted turkey or pork tenderloin, mother’s corn stuffing, and thyme gravy
Truffled scalloped potatoes
Roasted baby carrots with maple syrup & apple cider vinegar
Roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon & shaved pecorino
Long-Furia’s Thanksgiving spread is all about taking iconic dishes and adding a twist. In a bit of blasphemy, she suggests pork tenderloin as an alternative to the big bird. It will play well with the same gravy and side dishes.
“Not everybody wants to cook a turkey,” she explains. “I think pork tenderloin is a great option. It’s also a lot faster.”
The chef takes her mom’s stuffing — made with roasted corn, sausage, onion, and day-old bread — and updates it by using turkey sausage from local supplier Landis Poultry Farm and upping the amounts of fresh sage and thyme. At Elizabeth’s Bistro, they make their own bread, and she’s found that leftover, toasted challah adds sweetness and heft to the family classic.
For the truffled scalloped potatoes, Long-Furia recommends buying truffle powder and then infusing your cream with the beguiling magic dust. This dish certainly has an aesthetic advantage over classic mashed potatoes, especially when the tubers are layered carefully, topped with cheese, and served in your best dish.
When it comes to vegetables, use smart additions to enhance their natural charms. Sweet carrots get a boost from maple syrup (which will also help with caramelization) and zip from apple cider vinegar. The earthiness of roasted Brussels sprouts is accentuated by a couple of umami-rich ingredients (smoky bacon and delightfully stinky pecorino). The dish is finished with a sprinkle of lemon zest.
To serve alongside this feast, Long-Furia suggests a red and a white. For the former, she chose a Lemberger from Lewisburg’s own Fero Vineyards. Pinot Noir is a classic Thanksgiving wine, and this dry red shares a few key characteristics: balanced tannins, gorgeous color, and enchanting red-fruit flavors.
When it comes to the white, “I think Chardonnay really works well because it’s supple and rounded,” she explains. “When I’m looking for a main course, I’m looking for a wine that just works with the food and doesn’t overpower it.”
- Apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce paired with Shade Mountain Winery & Vineyard Late Harvest Riesling
“I really, really like apple pie,” says Long-Furia with deep conviction in her voice. “I think a lot of people do. The late-harvest Riesling from Shade Mountain is not overly sweet and pairs really well with apples. When you’re pairing desserts, you want to know how sweet the wine is — you don’t want to make a pie so sweet that it drowns out the wine.”
To take her pie from pleasing to paragon, the chef uses local Honey Crisp apples and tops the slices with vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce. The latter adds a background edge of bitterness from the browned sugar and a scrumptious toasted note.
Of course, this pie will taste even better as that final post-nap snack.
This article was previously published by the Pennsylvania Winery Association. Find PA wineries, wine trails, events, and more at PennsylvaniaWine.com.