Brooks Robinson was asked for his favorite Thanksgiving dish, and his mouth watered like it was that two-hopper hit to him for a 5-3 putout that clinched Baltimore's 1970 World Series championship.
"Mashed potatoes and turkey," said the Hall of Fame third baseman and 16-time Gold Glover. "That's it. That's all I want. With gravy. A lot of gravy."
:: Baseball's Giving Spirit ::
For those who are about to do the cooking and the rest who eagerly await the epicurean joy that is Thanksgiving, it is time for MLB.com to ask people around Major League Baseball to share their favorite recipes. In addition to Brooksie's turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, we've got some homemade cornbread, stuffing, Moroccan lamb tagine with sweet honey figs, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, candied yams, Kuminda krioyo from Didi Gregorius' native Curaçao, pumpkin cheesecake, sweet potato pie, and bourbon.
Ricky's Corny Cornbread
Nancy Buechele, wife of Rangers bench coach Steve Buechele
2 roasted ears of corn (taken off the husk)
1 can corn (not drained)
1 can of cream corn
8 oz sour cream
2 eggs (beaten)
1 box Jiffy corn bread mix
1 stick butter melted
Mix everything together and put in a casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.
Cardinals catcher Brayan Pena
"I love the traditional turkey with the entire family. The fact that we didn't have this in Cuba makes me appreciate it even more. And the holiday is extra special for us because my first boy, Brayan Pena Jr., is a Thanksgiving baby."
Lisa Corrigan, wife of Rockies broadcaster Jack Corrigan
Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs said his favorite Thanksgiving dish is "a real good homemade bread dressing baked in the oven. I love it when it comes out just a little crispy on the outside and still tender and flavorful on the inside with some sage and chicken broth seasonings. Of course, smothered in gravy."
Lisa Corrigan is here to help. Here are her ingredients:
2 cups water
2 sticks butter
2 bunches celery stalks (chopped)
1 medium sized onion (chopped)
1-1/2 large loaves white bread (cut into small squares)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (undiluted)
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 lb ground beef
Salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano
Directions: Brown ground beef and drain. Remove from stove. Place water, butter, celery and onion in a large pan. Boil until celery and onion soften and half of the liquid has been cooked away. Generously add seasonings to taste during this process. Remove from stove.
In a large bowl, add the mixture to the bread, ground beef, mushrooms and soup. Mix thoroughly. Place enough stuffing into the turkey cavity, with the remainder going into a large baking dish. Or you can place all of it in a baking dish, if you prefer. The stuffing inside will cook with the bird. For the remainder, bake at 350 degrees for about one hour.
"The quantity is large," Corrigan said, "but everyone usually wants more than one helping."
Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Sweet Honey Figs
Royals pitcher Danny Duffy and wife Sara
For the meat tagine:
1 red onion, sliced in half moons
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 lbs lamb, cut in large chunks
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. saffron threads
Salt, to taste
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
Water, as needed
For the fig and chestnut garnish:
7 ounces of dried figs
1 cup of jarred, roasted chestnuts
2 tbsp. Butter
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. orange blossom water, optional
Parsley, for garnish
Directions: Layer the bottom of a tagine with sliced onion and vegetable oil. Gently heat over medium and cook to soften the onions.
Meanwhile, gather your spices. Saffron lends the most haunting flavor to the tagine, while ginger and garlic give it kick. And cinnamon makes everything better. Cut the lamb in large chunks and toss with spice mixture. Add to tagine and cook on simmer until tender (two to four hours). The Duffys' recipe is courtesy of globaltableadventure.com.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes said of his favorite Thanksgiving dish: "Probably the sweet potato casserole, because it's absolutely delicious. It's like eating dessert with dinner."
For specifics, we turn to Reds broadcaster and former reliever Jeff Brantley, who said his wife Ashley's version is quite the hit. Here is Ashley's recipe, starting with these main ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
6 sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled, sliced
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup sugar Topping ingredients
1/2 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 tbsp. butter (melted)
1/2 cup pecans (chopped)
Directions: Add butter to hot potatoes. Combine with next six ingredients in blender or with mixer. Place mixture in a greased two-quart casserole dish. Mix topping in a small bowl and put on top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Diane Musgrove, mother of Astros pitcher Joe Musgrove
"When I was a young girl, I never cared for yams. Family members were assigned what to bring over for the holiday, and to me, the yams were basic and plain. Nothing to them. After I married, I was introduced to this candied yams recipe from Grandma, and it changed my opinion. These yams complemented the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing so well, it became a family favorite with everyone in my family. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do and may you have a blessed Thanksgiving with your family and loved ones."
6-8 medium size yams
2 large granny smith apples
1/4 cup pineapple juice (optional)
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch ground cloves
Directions: Peel and coin yams, 1/4 inch thick. Place yams in a large pot of water, enough to cover them. Bring the water with yams to a boil for five minutes. Drain yams and set aside. Peel two large Granny Smith apples and cut into small chunks (be sure to remove the core). Take a 13 x 9 glass Pyrex dish and lightly butter the bottom of it, using a napkin. Take yams and cut apples and mix the two together and pour into Pyrex dish, spreading evenly on the bottom.
Melt (but don't brown) the stick of butter in a two-quart saucepan. Lower heat and add while stirring 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1/2 cup of light brown sugar, 1 tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract, 1/4 cup or less of pineapple juice and a pinch of ground cloves. Cook on low for one minute or until thoroughly mixed, then pour mixture over yams and apples. Take a slotted spoon and mix the yams and apples and coat well.
Bake yams at 375 degrees in a preheated oven uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove yams from oven and cover top of yams/apples with miniature marshmallows. Place back in the oven for about four minutes to melt marshmallows. If you make this dish in advance, add marshmallows just before serving for best results. Over time, you can adjust your ingredients to your liking.
Jeff Conine, former Marlins player and current special assistant to the president, endorses this selection. Asked for his favorite Thanksgiving dish, Conine said, "My mom's candied yams. They're just buttery and sweet. She cooks them all day long. It's almost like a soup by the end of the day, but I look forward to that more than anything. Growing up, that was my favorite Thanksgiving dish."
Thanksgiving the Evan Longoria Way
The Rays' veteran third baseman likes to try new dishes and he likes to get in the kitchen himself, which prompted him to go into the restaurant business with Ducky's Sports Lounge, which has several locations in the Tampa Bay area. While Ducky's has some unique dishes, such as duck-fat-fried sweet potato tots and roasted Buffalo cauliflower, Longoria said, "I'm pretty traditional when it comes to Thanksgiving."
"I really enjoy the basics. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing -- but not dressing, and cranberry sauce.
"I do make a cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries, sugar, orange juice and orange zest, gives it a little tang, not too sweet. Finally, plenty of good red wine and digestifs. A good glass of Bourbon, preferably Pappy 12 or Michter's 10."
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius
"When I go back home (to Curaçao), it's food from home, it's where everything is at. It's what we call Kuminda krioyo. We cook a big plate for everybody. You've got chicken, you've got fish, you've got everything in there. A little bit of turkey, too."
Here is the Curaçao Chronicle description of this particular Creole food there:
"Local food is heavy and hearty. Main dishes such as fried fish, stewed goat (kabritu), chicken and beef are served with peas and rice (aros moro), potatoes or funchi, a boiled cornmeal paste that resembles polenta.
"Mixed with beans and sugar, funchi becomes tutu. For the really adventuresome there is stewed iguana (yuana), with a taste remarkably like chicken."
Anna Anderson's Pumpkin Cheesecake
From the wife of Brewers pitcher Chase Anderson
"My wife's family says she can't come to Thanksgiving if she doesn't make her pumpkin cheesecake," Chase said. "She makes it from scratch. That's her thing, every Thanksgiving ... I'm pretty sure she'd share it with the baseball world."
Total time: 11 hr 55 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive: 9 hr
Cook: 2 hr 45 min
Yield: 12 servings
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 3/4 cups sugar
2 lbs cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
6 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 cups sweetened whipped cream
1/3 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped (optional)
Directions: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush a 10-inch springform pan with some of the butter. Stir the remaining butter with the crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, packing it tightly and evenly. Bake until golden brown, 15-to-20 minutes. Cool on a rack, then wrap the outside of the springform pan with foil and place in a roasting pan.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups sugar and beat until just light, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed. Beat in the sour cream, then add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, one teaspoon salt and the spices and beat until just combined. Pour into the cooled crust.
Gently place the roasting pan in the oven (don't pull the rack out) and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake until the outside of the cheesecake sets but the center is still loose, about 1 hour, 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the door briefly to let out some heat. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for one more hour, then carefully remove from the roasting pan and cool on a rack. Run a knife around the edges, cover and refrigerate at least eight hours or overnight.
Bring the cheesecake to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Unlock and remove the springform ring. To finish, place a dollop of the whipped cream on each slice and sprinkle with the toasted pecans.
Sweet Potato Pie
Former Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield
"Obviously turkey, but I'm a big sweet potato pie guy. I don't know why. It's something that my grandmother used to make a long time ago. I get my turkey and mashed potatoes, but the sweet potato pie is my favorite."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. MLB.com reporters contributed to this story.