Andrew Zimmern's Thanksgiving Celebration Starts With Oyster Chowder - Exclusive

Looking for a way to liven up your Thanksgiving celebration? While the autumn holiday is often characterized by classic dishes that appear on the menu year after year, there's always room to create new culinary traditions with your friends and family. We recently connected with celebrated chef, television personality, and cookbook author Andrew Zimmern at this year's New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) for an exclusive interview, where he shared his plans for the upcoming holiday — specifically, the less common tradition his Thanksgiving guests have come to rely on.

"I don't do new for Thanksgiving. I rotate things through," he said. "My two favorite meals of the year are Seder and Thanksgiving. 'Seder' in Hebrew means 'order,' because there's an order and a progression to both the service at the table and the food. [For] Thanksgiving, it's the same thing." What can holiday guests expect when they arrive at Zimmern's for the Thanksgiving meal? A dish you may have never even considered serving at Thanksgiving: oyster chowder. But the way Zimmern explains it, the chowder certainly has its place in the delicious celebration.

Oyster chowder and beyond

Chowders are often thought of as staple comfort food because their warmth, creaminess, and richness coat the stomach by delivering deep flavor and sustaining nourishment. What could be more wonderful to savor after traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday in chilly weather? Guests who have the pleasure of dining at Andrew Zimmern's table for Thanksgiving don't have to wait long for their bowl of comfort to appear. "Everyone who comes to my house knows there's chowder at the door while you take off your coat and your boots. [Right away], you get a hot mug of soup in your hands," he shared.

Zimmern makes his oyster chowder with a sumptuous combination of butter, old bay seasoning, heavy cream, and fish stock. And after enjoying their chowder, of course, guests have a feast waiting for them. "I do two turkeys — one with the cornbread stuffing and one with turkey liver and chestnut stuffing," Zimmern added. At the end of the meal, Zimmern's guests have two pie options to choose from: "my pumpkin pie and my pecan pie."