Second Helping

Virginia Living staff recommend their favorite recipes from past issues.

Photo by Fred + Elliott 

Happy Thanksgiving! As we gather today in gratitude with family and friends and look forward to tucking into tables laden with turkey, stuffing and other goodies, we thought it would be fun to share some of our staff’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes. From oyster casserole to brunswick stew, these foods are full of flavor and Virginia heritage. Dig in!


Southern Fried Quail

Erin Parkhurst, Editor
Erin was voted most likely to decorate her tree in our Thanksgiving staff superlatives.

6 quail, all bones removed except leg bones
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon Texas Pete hot sauce
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and heat deep fryer to 350 degrees. In one bowl, mix Texas Pete and buttermilk. In another bowl, mix flour and seasonings. Fold wings underneath each quail. Using a small knife, poke a hole in one leg of each quail and thread other leg through the hole. Dredge quails in buttermilk and then seasoned flour.

Drop one at a time into fryer. Do not overfill fryer. Fry for 4 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Remove to a baking tray and bake for 4 minutes. Place on serving dish and drizzle with either sorghum molasses, honey or maple syrup.

Serves 6

Oyster Casserole

Liz Barnes, Campaign Consultant for Eastern Virginia
Liz was voted most likely to play Christmas music during dinner in our Thanksgiving staff superlatives.

1 quart of shucked oysters, sized “selects” 
1 ½ cup Saltine crackers, crushed 
1 ½ cup day-old breadcrumbs, fine ground 
½ cup each diced celery, onion, green pepper and poblano peppers 
¼ cup each chopped parsley and chives 
½ cup unsalted butter, melted 
3 tablespoons lemon juice 
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 
1 cup heavy cream 
½ cup whole milk 
Aleppo pepper 
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain the oysters, reserving the liquor. Combine the breadcrumbs with the crackers. 


Melt ¼ cup of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat and sauté the celery, onion, green pepper and poblanos until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside. 

Brush a 12-by-8 ½ inch casserole dish with some of the remaining melted butter. Combine the liquids: milk, cream, Worcestershire, lemon juice and oyster liquor. Layer the casserole beginning with the crumbs, then oysters. Drizzle with the liquid mixture. Add the sautéed vegetables and dot with the remaining melted butter. Sprinkle with the herbs. Repeat these layers until the casserole is full. Pour remaining liquid over the top and finish with a generous sprinkle of Aleppo pepper. 

Bake until golden brown, 35-45 minutes. Can be served warm or at room temperature. 

Serves 8

Cranberry Apple Cider Sangria

Kendra Denton, Circulation Manager
Kendra was voted most likely to have the best leftovers in our Thanksgiving staff superlatives.

1 750 mL bottle red wine
3 cups soft apple cider (non-alcoholic)
1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
½ cup Triple Sec or other orange liqueur
½ cup honey
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
sparkling water
1 cup freshly diced red and/or green apple cubes
cinnamon sticks for garnish

Combine red wine, apple cider, cranberry juice, orange liqueur and honey in a large pitcher. Add cranberries and diced unpeeled apples.

If desired, serve over ice, filling glasses 3/4 full and topping off with sparkling water. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a straw.

Mexican Roast Lamb

Ashley Hunter, Assistant Editor
Ashley was voted most likely to bake a pie from scratch in our Thanksgiving staff superlatives.

3 ½ pounds of lamb leg 
2 large yellow onions 
2 red peppers 
2 yellow peppers 
½ head of garlic cloves 
3 large jalapenos 
1 cup golden raisins 
Mexican oregano, salt and, black pepper 
3 Mexican beers 1 cup of red chili sauce (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Generously season the lamb with salt and pepper. Place in Dutch oven with rough (almost whole) chopped aromatic vegetables. Add beers and enough water to almost cover meat. Seal with a tight-fitting lid and cook in the oven for 3 hours until meat is very tender.

Remove oven and let the meat rest for about 30 minutes.

When cool enough to handle, coarsely shred the meat with your fingers or forks, saving the cooked vegetables, any fat and broth for the masa.

In a blender, puree the roasted vegetables with the red chili sauce. Combine puree with shredded lamb filling.

Makes about 1 ½ quarts

for the red chili Sauce
1 onion, quartered 
3 tomatillos, husked and washed 
2 tomatoes, quartered 
3 garlic cloves, peeled 
4 New Mexico chilies, stemmed 
4 Ancho chilies, stemmed 
1 ½ cups water, divided
salt to taste

Preheat the broiler. Put the onions, tomatillos, tomatoes, and garlic on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet under the broiler and cook without turning until vegetables start to get charred, about 7 minutes. Remove, set aside, and let cool to room temperature.

In a large dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the chili peppers, turning them over, for about 1 minute. Transfer them to a saucepan with enough water to cover chilies and boil for about 15 minutes until they are soft. Drain the chilies and discard water.

Divide the vegetables and chilies in half. Place half in a blender with ¾ cup of water and puree until the mixture is smooth. Season with salt. Repeat with other half of mixture.

Makes about 1 ½ quarts

Brunswick Stew

Sandy Parrish, 
Sandy was voted most likely to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in our Thanksgiving staff superlatives.

4 slices bacon
1⁄4 cup safflower oil
2 rabbits, cut into 6 pieces each
4 turkey legs
2 large onions, halved and sliced
3 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
5–6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bags frozen and shelled edamame
2 bags frozen white corn
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350. In a deep, heavy-bottomed, oven-proof pan, brown the bacon in the oil, then drain on paper towels. Season the rabbit and turkey with salt and pepper. Brown well in the oil, remove and drain on paper towels. Sauté the onion for 8–10 minutes, scraping browned bits from the pan. Return the bacon to the pan, and add the chicken stock, bay leaf and thyme. When the liquid has heated through, return all the meat to the pan, cover it and bake for 1 1⁄2 hours. Remove from oven, and remove the rabbit to cool. Add the edamame, corn and tomatoes. Return the pan to the oven. When the rabbit is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bones. Return the meat to the stew. Cook for another 15 minutes. Check seasoning, and serve with cornbread.

Apple Fried Pies

Bobby Agnese, Campaign Consultant for Northern Virginia
Bobby was voted most likely to go to the store on Thanksgiving Day in our Thanksgiving staff superlatives.

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup lard
¾ - 1 cup ice water
6 Granny Smith apples
1 lemon, zest only
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons cane syrup (can substitute honey, molasses or maple syrup) 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 2 tablespoons bourbon 1 egg 2 1/3 cups granulated sugar 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon


For dough:

Mix flour and salt together using pastry blender or fingers. Rub lard into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add water ¼ cup at a time, until dough comes together but isn’t too sticky. Shape into a large disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least one hour and up to two days.

For apple filling:


Peel, core and quarter the apples. Slice the quarters about ¼ inch thick. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add apples, brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, nutmeg, cloves and cane syrup. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples become tender but not mushy.

Combine cornstarch, vanilla extract and bourbon, then stir until cornstarch is dissolved. Stir into the hot apples and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and cool (this filling can be made ahead of time and refrigerated).

To assemble and fry: 

Mix together 2 cups granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon, set aside for dusting pies after cooking.

On a floured surface, roll half the dough into a large circle about 1/8-inch thick. Cut into smaller circles 6 inches across. Repeat with remaining dough (rolling out scraps) to make 10 circles total.

Mix egg with one teaspoon of water, then with a pastry brush smooth egg wash around outer edge of pastry circle. Place ¼ cup of apple filling in the center, then carefully fold the dough over the filling. Make sure no filling touches the rim of the dough. Crimp edges together firmly.

In a deep fryer, heat oil to 350 degrees. Fry pies, one or two at a time, leaving room for them to float freely in the oil. Cook until crisp and lightly browned, about 8-9 minutes.

Remove pies to drain on paper towels, and roll in cinnamon sugar while still warm.

Makes 10 hand pies

Crab, Roasted Pepper, Bacon and Scallion Bread Pudding

Garrett Souliere, Campaign Consultant for Central Virginia
Garrett was voted most likely to find Black Friday sales before midnight in our Thanksgiving staff superlatives.

4 cups heavy cream
10 eggs
2 teaspoons kosher salt
12 cups French bread, cut into ½-inch dice (about one 1 pound loaf)
1 ½ pound jumbo lump crab, shell pieces removed
½ cup roasted peppers, finely diced
6 strips applewood smoked bacon, cooked and diced
¼ cup scallion (about 1 bunch), green parts sliced thin 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cream, eggs, and salt in a large bowl with a whisk or immersion blender. Add diced bread and soak for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until custard is absorbed. Mix in crab, peppers, bacon and scallion.

Grease and flour eight 1 ¼-cup soufflé dishes or large ramekins. Spoon mix into soufflé dishes and fill to the top. Place dishes in a large roasting pan. Fill roasting pan with hot water about a third of the way up the soufflé dishes. Cover roasting pan with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, until bread puddings are springy.

When cool enough to handle, gently remove from dishes. If serving later, they can be cooled and stored in the refrigerator at this point. To reheat, place on parchment-lined sheet pan and bake at 350 until hot and puffy, about 20 minutes. 

Serves 12

Sage Crème Brûlée

Erin McPherson, Digital Editor
Erin was voted most likely to post to Instagram in our Thanksgiving staff superlatives.

2 ½ cups heavy cream
½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
4 fresh sage leaves 
½ cup sugar
6 egg yolks
sage 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pour the cream into a saucepan and add the vanilla bean and sage. Heat gently for 10 minutes, stirring often and making sure not to boil. Beat the yolks and sugar until fluffy. Pour a small amount of the cream mixture into the egg and sugar mixture and mix well. Continue adding cream until incorporated. Strain the mixture in a fine sieve. Carefully fill ramekins with liquid and place in a roasting pan. Gently fill the pan with boiling water until it comes halfway up the ramekins’ sides. Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly set. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and let the custard cool, leaving the ramekins in the pan. Once cooled, carefully cover and place the custard ramekins in the refrigerator overnight.  

Before serving, sprinkle the custard with a thin layer of sage sugar. Using a handheld torch, brûlée each top until golden brown, trying not to burn the sugar.


For the sage sugar:
½ cup superfine sugar
3 fresh sage leaves

Place the sugar and sage leaves in a container and refrigerate overnight.  

Serves 6


Coca-Cola Chocolate Pound Cake

Kenny Kane, Creative Services Director
Kenny was voted most likely to sing along with Christmas music in our Thanksgiving staff superlatives.

2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 cups sugar 
1 cups butter or margarine 
1 cup Coca-Cola 
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 
½ cup buttermilk 
2 eggs 
2 teaspoon vanilla 
1 teaspoon soda 
¼ teaspoon salt 
1 ½ cup miniature marshmallows 

For icing: 
½ cup butter or margarine 
6 tablespoons Coca-Cola 
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 pound powdered sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9×13” baking pan. Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl. Melt I cup butter or margarine in a heavy small saucepan. Add Coca-Cola and cocoa powder and bring just to boil. Stir into flour mixture. Blend in buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Fold in marshmallows. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean (about 35 minutes).

Meanwhile, prepare icing. Melt ½ cup butter or margarine in heavy medium saucepan. Add Coca-Cola and cocoa powder and bring just to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Fold in pecans. Spread icing over hot cake. Serve warm or cold.


See the rest of our Thanksgiving staff superlatives below:

Most likely to cook his turkey in an unusual way: Markus Schmidt, Associate Editor

Most likely to cook something other than a turkey: Torrey Munford, Sales Manager

Most likely to be a doorbuster Friday morning: Claudia Funes, Campaign Consultant for Western Virginia

Most likely to take a nap: Rex, Activities and Morale Director

Most likely to take a road trip: Bailey Jenkins, Campaign Consultant for Eastern Virginia

Most likely to leave the country: Rip Georges, Art Director

Most likely to go see a movie: Ward Saunders, Assistant Creative Services Director

Most likely to have a funny family tradition: Caitlyn Vanischak, Assistant Art Director

Most likely to check his work email: John-Lawrence Smith, Publisher


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