Celebrating Thanksgiving at the End of an Uncertain Year

This year holidays may be taking a different form than usual, so we asked some of our ranch staff how they would be spending Thanksgiving this year and have compiled a few of their responses here. Hope everyone stays safe and well-fed this holiday season!

“This year we are staying home and celebrating Thanksgiving with our closest family. We decided to mix up the meal and everyone is cooking four different Indian dishes. I’m most looking forward the the Homemade Naan Bread with all the different dipping sauces, and Coconut Beef Curry.”

-Tess, Business Development for Ranchlands

“Thanksgiving will be more low key this year, I’ll be spending it at Zapata with Harper.  To me Thanksgiving is all about the food and because of that it’s my favorite holiday but this year I’m actually embracing the idea of scaled back holiday, it’s a chance to only bother cooking the things we actually like and leave out the rest (bye mashed potatoes!). We compiled a list of essential dishes, most of which are desserts. The dish I look forward to the most is a sandwich made from the leftovers the next day. It changes every year but typically it consists of some combination of turkey, stuffing, a nice cheese, arugula and cranberry sauce  on good bread.”

-Chase, Head Chef at Zapata Ranch



“This will be my first thanksgiving in the US in 3 years, last year I was in Iraq, the year before I was in Afghanistan. I’m grateful to be in New Mexico this year with great people, great horses, cows, dogs, and chickens. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday by far. My favorite dish is turkey with a side of a ‘cold as the Rockies’ Coors lite.”

-Michael, ranching apprentice at MP Ranch




“This year we’re not going to Denver to visit family like we do most years, and no family is making it our way. Instead, this year we’re going to go fishing on the pond. And we’ll cook cornish game hens instead of turkey.”

-Nick, Manager for Frying Pan Ranch

“I learned this pheasant recipe on a hunting trip many years ago from the Schlomer Family, proprietors of the Snake Den Lodge in Presho, South Dakota. It uses wild harvested pheasant for a hearty and healthy dish that celebrates hunting season.”

Snake Den Lodge Pheasant:

3 pheasants, cleaned, breasted, deboned

1 26 ounce can of Cream of Chicken soup

1 26 oz can water

¼ cup minced onion

1 cup warm water mixed with 1 ½ teaspoon Chicken Base

¾ cup Cream Sherry 


Freshly ground Pepper 

Lowry’s Seasoning Salt

Dredge pheasant in flour and brown over medium heat, remove from skillet and season generously with pepper and Lowry’s salt. 

Transfer to dutch oven and mix the Cream of Chicken, water, chicken base, minced onion, cream sherry, and pour over the pheasant. 

Bake at 250 degrees for 5-6 hours, stirring every hour. Serve with mashed potatoes and use remaining mixture as gravy.

-Brennan, photographer at Chico Ranch

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