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Step into Milk Street's kitchen with Thanksgiving recipes

apple fennel salad with candied pecans


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A note from Courtney Hill, senior recipe developer:

This robust salad is modeled on one from Alon Shaya's cookbook, “Shaya.” We prefer to make our own candied pecans because they taste better than store-bought; they can be made a day to two in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If you don't have or can't find Aleppo pepper, substitute 1⁄2 teaspoon sweet paprika mixed with 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper for the spiced nuts, then sprinkle the finished salad with an additional pinch or two of sweet paprika. To season the dressing, Shaya uses pink peppercorns, which have a subtle pepperiness and sweet, floral flavor that complement the other ingredients. If you can't them, we found that 1 tablespoon fennel seed, lightly crushed, works nicely instead.

Don't cut the apples until you're ready to serve.


1 large egg white
1 cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons white sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, plus more to serve (see note)
Kosher salt
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, fronds reserved for garnish (optional)
2 medium crisp apples, such as Gala or Granny Smith
4 scallions, thinly sliced on diagonal


Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white until foamy. Add the pecans and fold until evenly coated. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pecans to a small bowl; discard the remaining egg white. Add the sugar, Aleppo pepper and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt; toss to coat. Spread in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Let cool completely on the baking sheet, then break up any clumps.

While the nuts bake and cool, in a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, pink peppercorns and 1 teaspoon salt. Halve the fennel bulb lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into thin slices. Add the fennel to the dressing and toss to coat; let stand for up to 30 minutes.

When ready to serve, halve and core the apples, then thinly slice each half crosswise. Add to the fennel, along with the scallions and pecans and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with additional Aleppo pepper and fennel fronds, if using.

beet and pumpkin seed salad


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Canned or refrigerated prepared beets make quick work of this robust salad. The sweet-and-sour dressing gets texture and richness from pumpkin seeds mixed with honey and vinegar. To keep the salad tasting bright and fresh, be generous with the honey and vinegar. Letting the shallots rest for a few minutes after dressing mellows their bite.

Start to finish: 25 minutes, servings: 4


1 pound cooked, peeled beets (canned or refrigerated), sliced 1⁄4-inch thick
1 medium shallot, sliced into thin rings
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped
1⁄4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups baby arugula OR lightly packed watercress


Arrange the beets on a serving plate; scatter the shallot over them, then season with salt and pepper. In a small saucepan, heat the oil and pumpkin seeds, stirring, until sizzling. Reduce to low and whisk in the vinegar and honey, tasting and adding more of either ingredient until you get a strongly sweet-and-sour dressing. Pour over the beets and shallots, then let stand about 15 minutes. Top with the greens and serve.

creamy zucchini pumpkin seed soup


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A note from Diane Unger, director of recipe development:

At Restoran August in Varaždin, Croatia, chef Goran Jelušić taught us this simple soup, called krem juha od tikvica sa bučinim košticama. “Krem” means cream, but the soup has no dairy in it. Instead, it gets its richness from toasted pumpkin seeds that are simmered then pureed with tender slices of zucchini; together they yield a silky, velvety texture. Fresh dill and lemon zest lift and brighten the flavors. Our inspiration recipe used pumpkin seed oil; if you can find it, use it in place of the olive oil—it will heighten the nuttiness of the toasted seeds. Vegetable broth and chicken broth work equally well here, so use whichever you prefer.

Don’t overcook the zucchini. A brief simmer is key for vivid flavor and color. Be sure to blend the soup mixture in batches. If the blender jar is too full, the burst of steam may loosen the lid and cause splattering.

Start to finish: 45 minutes, servings: 4


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or pumpkin seed oil
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 pounds zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces (7 cups)
1 bunch fresh dill, stems and leaves chopped, reserved separately
1 quart low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 1 lemon cut into wedges
Crème fraîche, to serve (optional)


In a large Dutch oven over medium, combine the oil and pumpkin seeds. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a small bowl; set aside.

To the pot over medium, add the onion and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until evenly moistened, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini and dill stems, stirring well, then stir in the broth and 2⁄3 cup of the toasted pumpkin seeds. Bring to a boil over medium-high, then reduce to medium and cook, uncovered and stirring, at a vigorous simmer, until the zucchini is translucent, 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and cool for 5 minutes. Using a blender and working in batches so the jar is never more than half full, puree until smooth; transfer each batch to a large bowl.

Wipe out the pot, then pour in the puree. Cook over low, stirring often, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in the dill leaves and lemon zest, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, dollop with crème fraîche (if using) and sprinkle with the remaining 1⁄3 cup pumpkin seeds. Serve with lemon wedges.

pumpkin seed pesto with cilantro and chipotle


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A note from Rose Hattabaugh, recipe tester and developer:

This spicy, smoky, earthy Mexican-inspired pesto comes from Milk Street Facebook Community member Carol McClendon of Houston. Toss it with a pound of cooked pasta, along with a little reserved pasta cooking water to help the pesto coat the noodles, but it’s also delicious in a quesadilla. Or try it as a finishing touch on roasted winter squash or spooned onto grilled chicken or pork chops.

Don’t overprocess the pesto or the pumpkin seeds will absorb all of the oil and the mixture takes on the consistency of a nut butter. To avoid overblending, it’s best to add the oil all at once and pulse to combine rather than stream it in while the machine is running.

Start to finish: 10 minutes, makes about 1 cup


1⁄2 cup pumpkin seeds
2 cups lightly packed fresh cilantro
1 ounce cotija cheese, crumbled (1⁄4 cup)
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon grated lime zest, plus 2 tablespoons lime juice
1 medium garlic clove, smashed and peeled
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


In a food processor, combine the pumpkin seeds, cilantro, cotija, chipotle chili, lime zest and juice, garlic and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper. Pulse until roughly chopped, 5 to 10 pulses, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the oil and pulse until incorporated, 5 to 10 pulses. Transfer to a small bowl, then taste and season with salt and pepper.

pumpkin seed rolls


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These rolls are best served the day they are baked. For ease they can be made in the morning, then reheated in 350°F oven for 10 minutes just before serving. The seed-butter mixture can be prepared up to three days ahead and refrigerated. Just be sure to pull it out an hour before using to bring it to room temperature.

Don’t be tempted to add extra flour when mixing the dough; it will look quite sticky, but will firm up as it rises. Otherwise, the rolls won’t have enough chew.

Start to finish: 31⁄2 hours (1 hour active), makes 15 rolls


For the sponge:
70 grams (1⁄2 cup) rye flour
1⁄2 cup warm (100°F) water
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons instant yeast

For the dough:
1 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
1⁄2 cup sesame seeds
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
343 grams (21⁄2 cups) bread flour
1 cup room temperature (70°F) water
21⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
Flaky salt, such as Maldon Sea Salt


To make the sponge, in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the rye flour, warm water, honey and yeast. Cover and let sit until doubled and bubbly, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium, combine the pepitas and sesame seeds and toast, stirring, until the sesame seeds are golden (some pumpkin seeds will pop), 5 to 8 minutes. Measure out 1⁄2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Transfer the rest to a food processor and process until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add the butter and process until just melted and combined, about another 20 seconds.

When the sponge is ready, add the bread flour, water and seed-butter mixture. Mix with the dough hook on low until just combined, about 1 minute. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the salt, then mix on low until the dough forms a mass around the hook, but still adheres to the sides, about 5 minutes. The dough should look and feel sticky but not wet. Cover the bowl and let the rise until tripled in size, about 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, being careful not to deflate it. Lightly flour the top of the dough and gently press it into a 10-by-6-inch rectangle. To create 15 equal portions of dough (about 2 ounces each), cut the rectangle into thirds lengthwise, then into fifths crosswise.

Gently fold each portion into a ball, creating a smooth, taught surface and pinching together any seams on the bottom. Arrange the rolls evenly on the baking sheet. Brush the tops generously with the egg and sprinkle the reserved seed mixture over them, pressing gently to adhere. Top each with a small sprinkle of salt. Cover, and let sit for 30 to 35 minutes, or until they have nearly doubled in size. Bake until deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes,
rotating the pan once halfway through. Using tongs, immediately transfer the rolls to a wire rack and cool at least 30 minutes before serving.


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