Thanksgiving Dinner With Chef Lara Lyn Carter

By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA-It’s our noble American holiday, a celebration of family, friends and life centered on dinner table delights. Thanksgiving brings out the best in us. It’s our homecoming complete with food that whenever possible comes from our farms, prepared with new recipes and recollections of our mother’s cooking, dinners they more often than not prepared based on tradition and some heaven-inspired intuition.

Crowned by Canadian media with the appropriate title “Georgia’s Golden Girl,” and fresh from her whirlwind TV tour of Canada, Chef Lara Lyn Carter shares some of her original Thanksgiving recipes that will add even more magic to the big feast.

Wines have a hallowed place for Thanksgiving dinner. These should be American wines, which Lara Lyn and I paired in advance so you’ll have some guidance when you go shopping. Nothing extravagant; nothing cheap. Just delicious.


  • For the Turkey
  • 1 fresh turkey
  • 4 tbsp. butter at room temperature
  • For the Brine
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 6 whole cloves
  • Peeled zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • 2 lemons cut in half
  • 8 Earl Grey tea bags

Unwrap the turkey, remove all of the giblets and rinse the turkey under cold water. Pat the turkey dry. Fill a large stockpot with all of the brining ingredients and bring to a boil. Allow the brine to simmer for 15 minutes. Add 4 quarts of cold water to the brine and allow it to cool completely. Submerge the turkey in the brine and cover. Refrigerate overnight. Remove the turkey from the brine; rinse and pat dry. Rub the butter on the skin of the turkey. Roast the turkey in a 350-degree oven for approximately 15 minutes per pound or until internal meat thermometer reads 165 degrees when placed in the thigh.


  • 5 pears halved and cored
  • ½ cup toasted pecans toasted
  • ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • Viniagrette
  • 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup

Roast pears in a 350-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes to soften. Whisk vinegars oils and syrup together. Arrange pears on bed of arugula lettuces and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Sprinkle with toasted pecans and blue cheese.


  • For the Cake:
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. ground clove
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Mix oil and sugar until blended, add eggs one at a time. Add the pumpkin to creamed mixture. Sift together the flour, spices, soda, baking powder and salt and add it to the creamed mixture. Stir in the pecans. Pour batter into a tube pan that has been lightly sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray and the bottom of the pan lined with waxed paper. Bake the cake in a preheated oven @ 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let the cake cool in the pan.

  • For the Icing:
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1-¾ cups powdered sugar

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and bring to a boil stirring constantly. Boil for 2 minutes. Add the milk and stir until it returns to boiling. Remove the mixture from heat and let cool. When mixture has cooled, add the powdered sugar and beat until mixture is creamy. Spread icing on top of cake and let it drip down the side of the cake.


Miracles from Oregon. 2014 King Estate Pinot Noir should be opened, ready to pour alongside Acrobat Pinot Gris (2014) and to round everything out, a bottle of Rosé of Pinot Noir. These allow guests to make choices and no matter their preference, each glass will be delicious, drawing a few enthusiastic approvals. Why not encourage them to enjoy all three?

Lara Lyn Carter Roasted Turkey Pear Salad Pumpkin Cake Various Wines