By now, what was left of Thanksgiving has been gobbled up. The turkey was sliced, the gravy passed, scoops of seconds and thirds cleaned off of every plate. All that remains now are depleting Tupperwares of leftovers, maybe a few slices of pumpkin pie in the fridge, and the memories of a feast to be thankful for. Of course, our tried and true recipes also stick around—perhaps even literally.
Left stiff, crinkled, and bleeding with greasy ink spots, our recipes often take the brunt of the holiday. You can say that it’s the aftermath of having been recklessly thrown around in the bout of turkey-making madness, but it’s probably because those same pieces of paper have been referenced for like, a million years. At Thanksgiving, we’ve all come to expect the traditional staples and so every year the same index cards and magazine clippings come out.
Vary too much from the Thanksgiving recipe norm and you are venturing into dangerous, unwelcome territory. Bring out a tofurkey or a turducken, and your likely to experience some protesting. The reactions you get might go a little something like those in this scene from Everybody Loves Raymond:
I agree with the Barones. You want to get fancy? Pick another holiday. In fact, don't ever bring me a tofurky. Who doesn’t look forward to the once a year spread of Thanksgiving table veterans? Classic roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes in some shape or form—they never get old.
The bird is the word on Thanksgiving, but the sides are what I look forward to the most. Like a lot of people, I'll eat a little bit of turkey, and then go to town getting full on all the other good stuff. To save on time, oven space, turkey guts, and mainly Mom skeeving out, whenever Thanksgiving is at our house we order our bird from a caterer who slices it up and even provides the gravy. They do a great job and it allows me to focus on everything else.
Since culinary school, I’ve built up my own pile of Thanksgiving recipes, tweaking them a little bit each year. Along with Mom’s famous broccoli puff and sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, here is what I made: Click on the name of each dish for recipe.
|Vegetable, Fennel, and Herb soup in Paremesan Broth|
This soup is perfect before a big meal like Thanksgiving dinner because it is so light. It gets a nice sweetness from the fennel, but the real secret to its great flavor is the parmesan rind.
I found this recipe for James Beard's buttermilk biscuits on Kathy Gori's blog, The Colors of Indian Cooking.
Here's her post with great step-by-step photos.
I made this recipe especially for this Thanksgiving. My favorite part is the addition of amaretto and maple syrup. I'll definitely be making this again.
The underlying slab bacon, leek, and thyme mixture in Tom Colicchio's oven-roasted,"baker's" potatoes make them taste even more amazing.
|String Bean Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Apple Cider Dressing |
I love string bean salad. It's a great way to have your veggies on a holiday without having to worry about something else in the oven. I think the apple cider dressing gives it a nice autumnal touch.
|Cranberry Relish |
Made with apple cider, orange juice, and granny smith apples.
Light, fluffy, and sweet.
|Sourdough Chestnut Stuffing|
This comes out awesome and serves a ton. My suggestion would be to buy the chestnuts that come premade and save yourself a lot of trouble. Roasting chesnuts on an open fire is fun if that's all you're doing--not when you're preparing a Thanksgiving feast.
Click here for print out recipes of the entire Thanksgiving Sides menu.