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Favourite FOODIE Thanksgiving Dish?

Of course a perfectly roasted turkey or other fowl can be foodie: foodie needn’t be elaborate, exotic or expensive.

But especially looking for meatless or other alternative dishes, and nothing too cloyingly sweet. Seasonal vegetables are a plus.

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  1. I make a great lentil & nut roast that can be done vegan if you like. It's from a random cookbook but I've made a few...improvements. Served with garlic/ginger cranberry chutney for full effect (the spicy, the sweet, the savoury--it's all there!). It's all neither elaborate nor expensive: red lentils, hazelnuts, and walnuts are the only even remotely specialty ingredients.

    For sides I always like a seasonal veggie roast, like carrots & parsnips done in maple pecan mustard glaze. A roasted squash is always welcome, as are mashed potatoes prepared with roasted garlic and celery root (ugly from the ground, nutty in the mash). My partner loves stuffing and we've been experimenting with cornbread style stuffing lately.

    This year I might go a little more...polished than usual, with courses of soup, vegetable, lentil roast, cheese plate.

    Now you've got me all excited. Thanksgiving is, like, American foodie Christmas, but secular and centered squarely around togetherness and food. These are a few of my favourite thiiiiiiings...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Nora Rocket

      Yes, based on Amerindian harvest foods, but incorporating European and even Middle-Eastern (Biblical) elements. As my spelling indicates, I’m from Canada, not the US. Our Thanksgiving comes in a couple of weeks.

      Since it is more of Protestant origin, it is not as important a holiday here in Québec than elsewhere in Canada, to say nothing of the US, but it is a good opportunity to eat local, seasonal foods.

      1. re: Nora Rocket

        Would you be willing to post the lentil & nut roast recipe? It sounds delicious!


      2. Roasted brussels sprouts with hazelnuts. (I sometimes add bacon, but you asked for veggie.) I made these w/o bacon for T-day last year and they went over very well, even among folks who dislike the b-sprouts.

        And, I have an obsessive love of cranberry sauce. From scratch, not too sweet. Add a slug of port and mmmmmmmmm.

        7 Replies
        1. re: slowfoodgrrl

          I was just about to say that until you've had roasted brussels sprouts, you haven't truly had brussels sprouts. I trim them, lightly parboil them for a couple minutes, toss them in olive oil and coarse salt and roast them until golden brown. Your hazelnuts intrigue me: tell me more.

          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

            I make mine like you do except I can't remember if I parboiled last time, and then add chopped, toasted hazelnuts and a little hazelnut oil (or you could use butter, or just rely on the olive oil for roasting). I made these with the hazelnut oil so the dish would be vegan for my friends.

            Another seasonal, sister recipe to this that I'm reminded up is one of my favorite pasta dishes printed in Food and Wine a few years ago... Oricchette with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon. OMG, it is amazing. Those three incredients plus some chix broth to moisten and parmesan = delicious.

            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

              I do the same thing, although I've found if you roast them at high enough heat, parboiling is unnecessary. And if your oven has convection capabilities, turn it on! I usually roast at 400 on convection for about 15 minutes and they're brown and some of the leaves are really crispy...mmm. I think I'll make some tonight! I've also added chopped pecans (thrown in for the last couple of minutes so they don't burn) and once added bacon, both of which are very good. But they're pretty darn amazing all on their own.

              1. re: kkbriggs

                I love brussel sprouts when they are sweet and good but how do you prevent them from getting skunky. That's probably not the right word but you know what I mean. Is there a trick? Or is it the batch of brussel sprouts themselves? Any wisdom?

                1. re: kary

                  It's the brussel sprouts themselves. IMO, the size doesn't necessarily matter but the relative freshness does. In other words, I've had big ass brussel sprouts that were sweet and without any skunky quality, and I've had tiny little ones that were skunky (although the smaller ones are less likely to be bad). My favorite way to prepare them is roasted as described above until the outsides are crispy. I've hatched a bunch of new brussels sprout lovers this way. Or, parboil, then saute in butter, with chopped shallots, bit of OJ or mustard to glaze, then add pecans or walnuts and dried cranberries. Also good simply baked in cream with grated asiago and pepper.

                  1. re: kary

                    If you can buy them still on the stalk, they tend to be younger and less skunky.

                    1. re: Indy 67

                      Personally, my feeling is that, y'know, they're part of the cabbage family. A certain amount of funk is to be expected. But a good rule of thumb is that the tighter and less springy a sprout is, the sweeter it is.

            2. I make my turkey with a hazelnut-prosciutto compound butter beneath the skin and add summer savory in addition to the usual sage. The gravy this bird makes is unbelievable.

              Vegetables, unfortunately, have been getting short shrift in these latter years since the family matriarch can't chew vegetables unless they've been boiled grey.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JungMann

                I make the same thing!!!! I've made it 4 years running. It's the bomb!

              2. Halve a butternut or other squash (may have to cut a teeny bit of the shell to let it sit upright in pan), remove seeds and strings.

                fill each half's (former) seed area with whatever ( mushrooms, mostly cooked crumbled sausage, cornbread crumbs, craisins, cranberry chutney? nuts? -- something red is good, and something crunchy and something savory)

                drizzle melted butter over stuffing, and bake in a baking dish with 1 inch water in the bottom to keep things steamy and moist. Cover with foil, and place in moderate oven -- say 375 or so, for maybe 45 minutes (though test about 1/2 hour for tenderness). temp. is flexible if you are making other sides in the oven. remember though, squash takes a while to cook through.

                VERY Easy. Yummy, and up to your own imagination. A hit with everyone. Plus, it is not SWEET except for the natural sweetness of the squash. A good respite at many Turkey day tables I have been at. You can feel virtuous eating it, and it is a pretty presentation.

                2 Replies
                1. re: alkapal

                  Wild rice (with other stuff, like the mushrooms suggested above and I would argue, cranberries!) makes a particularly good filler for this squash dish.

                  1. re: slowfoodgrrl

                    Absolutely -- I forgot wild rice. Shame on me!

                2. Last year I did a butternut squash ravioli with sage butter! It was delicious, but unfortunately, lost on most of my family : ) They could not understand the concept for using this at Thanksgiving : )

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: mtleahy

                    I LOVE that dish. Sage butter is the best! How did you do the filling?

                    1. re: alkapal

                      I used the Emeril's recipe from this link: http://dailyunadventures.blogspot.com... However, I cheated and used pre-made pasta dough, as I had enough other things to make for Thanksgiving.

                    2. re: mtleahy

                      Funny, because squash is one of the Three Sisters, the basis of the diet of the Iroquoians and other farming peoples of Northeastern North America, and of course just as important farther south in what is now the Southwestern United States, and Mexico… You can also make squash gnocchi - there is a great recipe in "The Vegetarian Epicure".

                    3. Oyster dressing (aka stuffing) with big, plump oysters. Also a cranberry dressing that is cranberries run through the food mill with orange peel. Our holiday salad (thanksgiving, xmas, etc) is romaine with slivered almonds, red onions and blood orange slices with a champagne vinaigrette.

                      1. Hi Lagatta --

                        My all time favorite is a recipe from Bon Apetit that I have modified -- A butternut squash gratin with rosemary breadcrumbs. Here is a link to the original recipe... http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...... And here is my version. Note that I use cubed bread rather than crumbs, which I think gives it a much better texture... I also changed the recipe to add the thyme in with the squash, which I like because then there are layers of herbs -- thyme with the squash, and rosemary mixed in with the gratin layer. Be sure to use fresh rosemary -- it is key.

                        Butternut Squash Gratin with Rosemary Breadcrumbs

                        2 Tbs butter
                        4 cups thinly sliced onions (about 1 pound
                        )2.5 pounds butternut squash – peeled, seeded, chopped into ½ inch cubes
                        ½ tsp salt
                        ½ tsp pepper
                        ¾ cup chicken broth
                        Splash of white wine
                        3 ½ cups cubed good bread – sourdough or the best is roasted garlic bread
                        2 to 2 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar
                        2 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
                        ¾ tsp dried thyme

                        Preheat oven to 350. Butter 13 x 9 x 2 glass baking dish.

                        Sauté onions in butter until light golden – around 8 minutes. Add squash, thyme, salt, and pepper, and sauté another 10 minutes, until onions and squash begin to caramelize. Pour this into the baking dish, pour broth and white wine over it.

                        Mix cubed bread, cheese, and rosemary together in a large bowl, then cover the top of the squash and onions with this mixture. Bake covered for maybe 20 minutes, then uncovered for another 10 until top is golden brown and crisp!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: fearlessemily

                          Oh, I make that too! Isn't it great? I make breadcrumbs out of toasted whole-wheat bread and use parmesan instead of cheddar--and at most a cup of it (I don't really remember now), not that huge amount. So good.

                        2. Because my SIL is a vegetarian my mother and I have been adding meatless seasonal dishes to our traditional holiday menus. Here are a couple of our favorites.

                          Eggplant (and other roasted veggies) and goat cheese lasagna from the Williams Sonoma Pasta(?) cookbook. It's rich, but as someone who loves goat cheese I can't get enough of it.

                          Mushroom breadpudding from Nov. '06 Bon Appétit. We ended up using a mixture of fresh and dried mushrooms.

                          1. Cabernet Cranberry Sauce. Simply substitute the wine for the water in the recipe on the cranberry package. I add a cinnamon stick while cooking it too.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Candy

                              That sounds so good! What a great idea. Does it jell properly?

                              1. re: Fuser

                                Cranberries have so much pectin in them, you could probably jell them with any sort of liquid.

                                1. re: Fuser

                                  It is not exactly a gel like you get in canned cranberry sauce. It does thicken and is a spoonable whole berry sauce so it is a bit softer. It does not exactly taste winey either. It just seems like a more complex cranberry sauce.

                                  1. re: Candy

                                    That sounds tasty. I drive myself nuts every year making cranberry sauce with chopped orange rind, minced ginger, chopped tart dried apricots, and toasted pecans. I have to make this in huge quanitity because my brother and I both proceed to eat it by the bowlful. So it's a lotta chopping of tiny little things. But so very yummy.

                                    1. re: BostonCookieMonster

                                      i also add frozen strawberries to mine. makes for a nice thick, chunky sauce, and a more complex flavor.

                                2. re: Candy

                                  Yep...we've been eating the Cabernet Cranberries for a few years now...SO darn good...especially nice if you can use grated tangerine peel instead of orange peel...my recipe is like yours, Candy...I add a cinnamon stick to it also and I just LOVE to lick and suck out the juices from the cinnamon stick after removing it from the cooled mixture, a guilty pleasure.

                                3. My brother and I have both been making the Wolfgang Puck Oyster Stuffing recipe for 5+ years. It is decadent, rich, and delicious. Just make sure to REALLY drain the spinach. Last year I cooked the spinach ahead of time and really squeezed it dry in a kitchen towel - it never came out better! Can't wait to have it again this year :-)

                                  Here's the recipe. It looks right to me.

                                  1. My cranberry relish. It's just fresh and wonderful.

                                    1 bag cranberries, 1 large granny smith apple, 1 large navel orange, 1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar.

                                    Cut apple to remove core, do not peel. Cut orange in quarters remove any seeds, again, do not peel. Put cranberries in food processor 1/2 a bag at a time, pulse until fine, like pickle relish. Then do the same with apple, and orange w/ rind. Mix in a bowl with sugar. Place in an air-tight container and let set in the refrigerator for at least 5-6 days. It is beautiful with all the colors and so delicious, and not even remotely bitter

                                    1. I'm all about the butternut squash, spinach and walnut strudel. Or a sweet potato mushroom crumble.

                                      1. Here's my menu...I LOVE THANKSGIVING

                                        Local free range turkey stuffed with chopped up apples, pears, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, walnuts, raisins, cranberries, cashews, and garlic tossed with salt pepper and nutmeg.

                                        Sauteed bitter greens- chards, kale, turnip, mustard

                                        Baked stuffed butternut squash- stuffed with cubes of homemade banana walnut bread

                                        Pureed turnips with exotic mushrooms

                                        Brussels sprouts

                                        Dessert is coconut custard pie

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: OrganicLife

                                          The Baked Stuffed Butternut Squash and the Pureed Turnips with Exotic Mushrooms both sound wonderful.

                                          1. re: OrganicLife

                                            Yum! I'd take everything but the turkey.
                                            This year, I'm making vegetarian eggplant haggis for T-day. Just found the recipe in this great little cookbook called "Ontario Seasonal Cooking". What a revelation!

                                            1. re: piccola

                                              I guess I'll have to find that, for a Scottish friend who is vegetarian and celebrates Burns' day. He had been buying tinned vegetarian haggis (which is not as dreadful as one might think, of tinned things).

                                          2. This recipe will either clean out your sinuses or kick your butt. Either way you won't be able to stop eating it.

                                            Cranberry Jezebel Sauce Recipe

                                            1 cup water
                                            1/2 cup sugar
                                            1/2 cup light brown sugar
                                            1 package fresh cranberries, picked over
                                            3 tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained
                                            1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

                                            Bring water and sugars to a boil, stir until sugars are dissolved. Add the cranberries. Return to boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add the horseradish and mustard. Chill.

                                            1. I live in Maine and I like to make an all-local cranberry sauce: cranberries, apple cider, and maple syrup.

                                              1. roasted chestnut soup with a soffritto of slowly caramelized carrot, onion, and celery, dice, san marzano tomaotes, shavings of parmigiano reggiano and a drizzle of new La Macchia olive oil

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: fayehess

                                                  I have a fanastic roasted chestnut soup with mushrooms that I make at Christmas time. I've never thought about serving it at Thanksgiving as I always have so much food. Maybe this year I'll give it a try.

                                                  1. re: kkak97

                                                    The only thing I would suggest about serving this soup, because it can really fill you up--there is always so much on the table--is go small. I just serve it as a taster in an espresso cup, and then there is plenty on the stove, if people want to have a serious bowl. It is the perfect fall thing and unusual at the same time, for vegetarians who can't eat the turkey (or they skip the parm and have it be dairy free as well) The absolute best extra virgin olive oil is critical. fayefood.com

                                                2. Sweet Potato Fries: Super easy, slice up the potato, drizzle with your favorite Olive Oil, add a little S&P and bake at 350, turning after 10 to 15 minutes depending on how thick you like them. They're great, good for you and the kids eat them:)

                                                  1. Not necessarily foodie, but I don't see it a lot at normal Thanksgiving: Pumpkin rolls and corn pudding

                                                    I tried risotto with butternut squash and pancetta one year, but that didn't seem to fly. I love fresh cranberry chutney, frown my head at the families who use cans (like the BF's, don't tell!)

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: ktmoomau

                                                      I read too fast, thought you made fresh chutney and your BF's family threw it at your head.

                                                      Thanksgiving is by far the best holiday--no shopping, no songs, no religious rituals--just food!

                                                    2. One thing I do is put peeled turnip slices that have been tossed in olive oil and a little rosemary in the pan with the turkey during the last hour of cooking. My grandmother used to make a turnip puree at Thanksgiving and this is my little homage to it.

                                                      1. This could not be easier--leek gratin from James Peterson's "Vegetables" cookbook:
                                                        Take some leeks, cut them and clean them however you normally do (lengthwise is pretty), put them in a shallow baking dish and cover them with cream, at least halfway up the side of them. Bake, I believe at about 375, until they are tender and you should have some browning. Give them a bit of a stir after about 20-30 minutes.

                                                        You could top them with some bread crumbs, but these are great without anything else and taste far more complex than any two ingredient dish should.

                                                        1. Smoked Turkey. I brine and smoke the turkey on our Weber kettle grill every Thanksgiving. I've done this for the past 3-years. When I tried to go back to a regular oven baked turkey, my family objected.

                                                          1. I think that I'm making Thanksgiving this year for the first time.

                                                            I saw Giada De Laurentiis make this "Raffy's Turkey Sausage and Chestnut Stuffing" a few years ago, and it looked sensational. I've always wanted to try it.

                                                            Has anyone ever made it, or tasted it?


                                                            1. String beans with mushrooms:

                                                              Have some string beans blanched and ready to go (I do mine a day or two before and store them wrapped in a paper towel in a plastic bag in the fridge), and some mushrooms washed and ready to go. Chanterelles are particularly good, but even plain old field mushrooms are good. They should be cut into smallish bite-sized chunks.

                                                              Mince a small shallot and saute in some butter (and a little olive oil, if you like). When it's just soft, toss in the mushrooms and cook until they start to gild around the edges. Add the string beans and toss everything around until the beans are cooked. Salt and pepper to taste. A splash of sherry vinegar is good in this too, as are chopped, toasted hazelnuts.

                                                              1. nine treasure wild rice dressing: wild rice with bacon, mushrooms(a mix of shitakes chanterelles and whites), onions, diced red bell pepper, celery, chicken livers(diced) (all sauteed), baby green peas, sultanas and diced roasted chestnuts all tossed and seasoned with salt black pepper , a little melted butter and chopped flat leaf parsley. also root veggie roast with carrots, parsnips, turnips new potatoes, beets abd brussle sprouts, all parboiled in chicken stock with lots of garlic, then tossed in some melted butter and roasted at 400 until good and crusty on all sides(usually about an hour to 1 1/2 hour)

                                                                1. wild mushroom ragout with red wine & herbs
                                                                  balsamic roasted root vegetables
                                                                  buttermilk mashed turnips & potatoes
                                                                  butternut squash soup
                                                                  crispy shaved brussels sprouts with shallots
                                                                  lentil-walnut paté
                                                                  gingered berry sauce
                                                                  sautéed chard with dried cherries & toasted pinenuts

                                                                  1. My family loves French green beans with carmelized shallots and lemon. I is so easy and can be made very quickly. Carmelize shallots in olive oli and remove the shallots from the pan. In the same oil quickly saute the greens beans. Add the shallots back into the pan. Add lemon juice and lemon rind and serve.