Native New Orleanian Poppy Tooker presents a classic Big Easy Thanksgiving dinner natives will recognize and newcomers will savor. The renowned chef, cooking teacher and radio-show host shares nine recipes that aptly represent the rich flavors and history of the region—and are sure to jazz up your Thanksgiving menu. Ready to add authentic Southern flair to your Thanksgiving feast? Let’s dig in!
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“This is my most-sought-after recipe. Nobody takes a cooking class in New Orleans from me without learning how to make gumbo,” says Poppy. Serve this classic Creole dish over cooked rice.
“When my great-grandmother died, she didn’t leave written recipes,” says Poppy. “So I cooked everything I remembered eating at her table, including these mirlitons, and had my daddy taste it until he said, ‘Yes, this is just like Mamman’s.’ “
“I will never roast a turkey again in this lifetime, and it’s my bet, once you fry your first turkey, your bird will never be relegated to the oven again,” says Poppy.
“Bread stuffing would never have had a place in the rural parts of Louisiana where Mamman was from because wheat didn’t grow there,” Poppy explains. “Down here, we’re all about rice.” Poppy also offers these additional side dishes to add to your Thanksgiving table: Meat Dressing and Peas in a Roux.
“Mamman’s bread pudding made a big impression on me as a small child when it would come to the table dripping with sauce and filled with plump raisins and pecans,” Poppy remembers.
“Café brûlot is from the Armagnac region of France, where they call it café diable,” says Poppy. “I learned to make this from enjoying it at classic New Orleans restaurants, like Antoine’s and Galatoire’s, where it’s a standard ending to any festive meal.”