As we’re all starting to plan our Thanksgiving meals, I wanted to finally post a summary of what we served last year and what we liked about it, as well as some of our ideas for this year. So, I have a list before of everything we made last year, including a couple ideas for re-mixing leftovers, and some of the things on my list to try for this year. I’d love to hear your ideas, too. What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving? What new things are you thinking about trying this year? What traditions are always a part of your Thanksgiving meal?
Our 2009 Thanksgiving Menu:
- Lunch the day before: Butternut Squash Soup
- Thanksgiving breakfast: Pumpkin Brioche Cinnamon Rolls from Wild Yeast
- Brined Turkey from Mugnaini
- Dressing from Pioneer Woman: Yes, this dressing is kind of a lot of trouble since it uses 2 kinds of bread and you have to make the cornbread. But you can do a lot of it ahead, and it was truly incredible. I don’t think I’m ever making a different recipe for dressing again.
- Cranberries two ways: Cranberry Sauce and Cranberry Salad
- Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Wild Mushrooms from Gourmet: sort of an updated take on green bean casserole. We modified it to include pancetta, as in our favorite recipe for Brussels sprouts. That recipe is also a great substitute for something a bit lower maintenance.
- Twice-baked potatoes
- Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Hazelnuts, originally from 101 Cookbooks
- Corn Pudding
- Angel Biscuits
- Pumpkin Pie: we made my friend Stirling’s Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Pie
- Rum Raisin Apple Pie from Gourmet, adapted to replace the top crust with a crumble topping
- Maple Nut Pie from Gourmet: a really nice update for pecan pie. I expect this will be making a reappearance on our Thanksgiving table at some point.
- Breakfast Pancakes with Sweet Potatoes
- Turkey mole enchiladas with this sauce from Serious Eats: easy to make the sauce ahead, and extra freezes well
The main event:
This year, it’s going to be just four of for Thanksgiving, so it’ll be a bit smaller than our gathering last year. Although we’ll miss having a big crowd, and seeing my in-laws (and especially our new nephew who we won’t get to meet until Christmas!), the advantage of the smaller group is that there’s a little less pressure and for some reason we feel a little more interested in playing with tradition. Though I unfortunately haven’t been able to convince everyone to go with the Serious Eats Buffalo Fried Turkey (yet!), I do think we’ll end up trying some new things this year. Here are some ideas, some (but not all) especially geared toward smaller gatherings:
For the turkey:
- Mark Bittman’s Braised Turkey: I’ve seen great reviews for this. Although it involves cutting up the turkey so that you don’t get the Norman Rockwell photo, it sounds like a great solution to get both dark and light meat appropriately cooked. Plus, it involves both sausage and pancetta!
- Tuscan Roast Turkey Breast from Martha Stewart: We did a variation on this rolled-up turkey breast the last time we had a 4 person Thanksgiving. The disadvantage: no dark meat.
- Pimenton Brined Turkey: Add some smoky flavor to your turkey without the smoker!
- Butternut Squash, Lentil, and Goat Cheese Salad: Not sure if this will make it to our Thanksgiving table or not, but I definitely think we will try it at some point this fall. Looks like a great possible main course for a vegetarian Thanksgiving, too.
- Green Beans with Meyer Lemon Breadcrumbs, from Sunset: A fresh alternative to green bean casserole
- Sweet Potato Souffle with a Twist: Homemade marshmallows and a bacon garnish! Not sure I’m going to convince the rest of my family on this one either, and we usually skip the sweet potato/marshmallow combination. But just look at that beautiful photo!
That’s all I’ve got so far, so clearly I need some help on the dessert front! We will probably make a pie or two, either pumpkin or pecan, or maybe I will make my grandmother Meme’s chess tarts so I can finally share that recipe with you. And as always, we’d love to hear your ideas, too. What’s on your Thanksgiving table?