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Nov 15, 2010 07:22 AM

What does your Thanksgiving menu look like?

I'm looking for some inspiration and riffs on the classics. Here's what I have so far:

Herb roasted turkey
Sausage/chestnut stuffing
Mashed potatoes (these are changes allowed)
Cranberry sauce (Mom's recipe)

What I need to still figure out are two more vegetable sides, a salad and appetizer to munch on all afternoon.

Thoughts? What are you planning on making?

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  1. Parents and in-laws have retired and moved to warmer climates.
    Kids out of the house living in another state, college and another married.
    A very small dinner for my wife and I. Hurray! :-)
    Turkey breast the rest is still in the works.
    Of course, we'll end up with food for 6 to 8 since we haven't learned how to downsize our recipes yet. lol!

    1. I have been loving fresh brussel sprouts with pancetta and carmelized onions. And another good dish would be roasted root veggies like parsnips, carrots, maybe even fennel. You could just throw that in the oven and forget it.

      Appetizers, I found a cool idea for figs in a blanket. Figs, blue cheese and arugula in a crescent roll. I love this idea. I also find lots of good ideas at, new inventive things to do with their variety of doughs.

      4 Replies
      1. re: in bocca

        I'm totally stealing the figs in a blanket. Sounds great!

        1. re: invinotheresverde

          Oh those figs sound good. Fresh or dried?

          1. re: Flaxen_Vixen

            I'm using dried because I had them on hand but I'm sure either would work. I bet dates would be good in this too maybe with fontina. yummmmm

            1. re: in bocca

              I used dates and it was awesome. The family loved it, too. Thanks again.

      2. Lentil and mushroom pot pies topped with gouda biscuits
        Turkey purchased from Whole Foods for the only non-veg in the house
        Mashed potatoes
        Either broccoli romanesco or roasted brussels sprouts
        Apple crisp with homemade cinnamon or vanilla ice cream
        Martinelli's sparkling cider

        5 Replies
        1. re: janehathaway

          I'm doing it pretty classic:

          Roast turkey with garlic butter
          Stuffing of mixed breads, with pancetta
          Cranberry sauce with orange zest
          Whipped yukon golds
          Corn niblets with butter
          Cool grean bean salad with truffle oil and walnuts

          We might bake off some Pillsbury biscuits, or just get some rolls from the market.

          Snacks are chips/dips/pretzels and a cheese plate - I might have to get a hunk of this incredible Comte I picked up the other day.

          Dessert is pumpkin cheesecake I made and put in the freezer during Halloween. I might make/buy an apple pie if my in-laws don't bring. Perhaps a small box of artisinal chocolates.

          Drinks - Variety of sodas and a bottle of wine from the cellar - I'm thinking I might pull out a dry Rose this year and see how she rolls.

          Ok, now I'm getting pumped! Need to replace my broken thermometer and buy a proper roasting pan as well...

          1. re: janehathaway

            What's broccoli romanesco? Can you share the recipe or prep method?

            1. re: janehathaway

              The lentil and mushroom pot pie sounds great. Can you share where to find the recipe?

            2. Spiced Pecans
              Marinated Olives
              Pumpkin Bisque
              Roast Turkey
              French Gravy
              Cranberry Sauce with Port and Dried Figs
              Garlic Mashed Potatoes
              Cauliflower and Broccoli Gratin with Pine Nut-Breadcrumb Topping
              Brussels Sprouts with Lardons
              Roasted Sweet-Potato Rounds with Garlic Oil and Fried Sage
              Pinot Gris & Red Zinfandel
              Chocolate Pecan Pie
              Pumpkin Pie
              Pumpkin Bread

              I'm cooking for 16 - last year it was 13 and I made what turned out to be enough for 50, so I'm trying to dial it back a little this year...

              29 Replies
              1. re: aching





                That sounds wonderful, aching!

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Thanks, Linda! I'm really excited. I just LOVE Thanksgiving!

                2. re: aching

                  Could you put up the recipe for the Cauliflower and Broccoli Gratin? Thanks.

                  1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                    Certainly! It's adapted from a similar recipe from Bon Appetit. That recipe called for brussels sprouts, not broccoli, which I'm sure would be delicious, but my husband really loves broccoli. I made this over the weekend to test it out for Thanksgiving, and it was truly delicious - with that much cream and cheese, how could it not be? And it was even better the next day, which is great - I plan to make it on Wednesday and have one less thing to worry about on Thursday.


                    1½ lbs. broccoli, trimmed, cut into small florets
                    1½ lbs. cauliflower, trimmed, cut into small florets
                    2 cups heavy whipping cream
                    ½ cup shallots, chopped
                    1 T. fresh sage, chopped
                    1½ T. olive oil
                    ½ cup plain dry breadcrumbs
                    ½ cup pine nuts
                    2 T. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
                    2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided

                    • Preheat oven to 375°F.
                    • Bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil.
                    • Cook cauliflower for 2 minutes. Add broccoli to same pot; continue to cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes longer. Drain.
                    • Combine cream, shallots, and sage in large saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until mixture is reduced to 1½ cups, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.
                    • Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish; arrange half of vegetables in dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then 1 cup Parmesan. Arrange remaining vegetables evenly over, then sprinkle with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Pour cream mixture evenly over.
                    • Cover gratin with foil. Bake covered 40 minutes.
                    • While gratin is baking, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and pine nuts; stir until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl; cool. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
                    • Uncover the gratin; sprinkle breadcrumb topping over and bake uncovered 15 minutes longer.

                    Makes 10-12 side servings.

                    1. re: aching

                      thank you for this recipe i am totally making it this year!

                      1. re: aching

                        I am definitely adding those pinenut bread crumbs to my chard, chanterelle (or celaric) and farro gratin (which I am improvising as I type)! I usually add toasted pecan or almonds, but I think the pine nuts will add something special to the meal - thanks so much for a great idea!!

                    2. re: aching

                      I love your menu! The broccoli & cauliflower gratin sounds really good. I'm so torn, I want a creamed spinach dish but then yours dish does sound good too. Then I dream about this creamy corn dish that's decadent and rich.... I also make a sweeet potato or should I say yam dish that I must have. I'll have my menu completed by the end of the week.But being curious, what's French gravy?
                      Just noticed that I'm not the only one that doesn't make a green salad. I do make my mom's waldorf salad every year. Her dressing, and the giblet gravy are a must.
                      I do run into walls so I so love all the ideas here,

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        could you tell us about the corn dish you dream about:) I too am very undecided as to veggie dish...

                        1. re: geminigirl

                          I can but I don't know if I'll succeed in conveying anything close to a recipe.
                          Okay, if any chowhounders have heard this song before please feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

                          I want a creamy, corn pudding like dish that had garlic and jalapenos in it that I had years ago. The friend that made this wonderful side said she found it in her River Road Recipes. She was even nice enough to gift me the book. One small problem, the recipe for the corn dish that she made and I had, was nowhere to be found in it, So, I'm thinking she probably used fresh corn (it was summer) she mentioned that it included cream cheese and butter. It was served like a gratin, with cracker crumbs on top, omg delicious I wanted to eat the whole dish. But I just don't know. The times I've tried to recreate it, I end up with a very stiff corn pudding. Next I'll leave the tablespoon of flour out, and go from there. I'll need good frozen well drained corn and precook it. Saute the green onion, shallots, or onions, garlic, and jalapeno. Then add that to the corn, mix cream cheese and either milk or half and half, put it all into a dish, cover with the bread crumbs, and bake it. That's my idea. How about you? Do you have any suggestions? It was unlike any corn dish I'd ever had or yet to have, it was wonderful. She is from Louisiana if that helps, she sure had a flair with yummy food.

                          1. re: chef chicklet

                            There are several RR Recipes (I, II, and III at least) chef--maybe it's in another ed. I'm afraid mine were lost in Katrina, and I've never replaced them, but maybe someone out there can find the recipe in one of the RRs you don't have.

                            1. re: chef chicklet

                              CC, are you creaming any of the corn before you construct the rest of the dish? Every corn pudding I've ever had used either all creamed corn or a blend of creamed and regular. The creamed corn imparts quite a lot of moisture to the dish that I think might be lacking if skipped.

                              1. re: onceadaylily

                                No I'm not. but then do I use egg or flour?

                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  I've only used corn pudding recipes that use egg and cornmeal, no flour. I was just wondering if that was one of the culprits in being unable to replicate the recipe, as most corn puddings I've had are somewhat firm. Buttery, rich, and delicious, but firm.

                                  If you google creamed corn pudding, there is an entire variation that relies on the corn being mashed, and coming into the recipe with a heavier liquid base. And if you google corn *custard*, that is a whole different ballgame, and seems closer to what you describe.

                                  1. re: onceadaylily

                                    You're genius! You are exactly right, " *custard*, that is a whole different ballgame, and seems closer to what you describe." I don't know why I couldn't get it out, but you did, it's like a custard. Thank you. I've had the other type you mentioned and although its not the what I was hoping to achieve. At least now I can research and get closer to the one I'm hoping for. thanks oadl!!

                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                      The first time I ever had corn pudding, I was confronted by something that needed to be sliced into squares, and said, "Well, that just isn't pudding AT ALL." It was good, but I still pouted, and then did some research that netted me nothing, until the light bulb went off.

                                      Unfortunately, the boyfriend loves the poser pudding, so I haven't had a chance to try my hand at it. If you get what you're looking for, I'd *love* the recipe.

                          2. re: chef chicklet

                            I don't know if French gravy is a real term or just what my mom calls it - but it goes like this:

                            • Add turkey giblet and chicken broth to the turkey pan juices when the turkey is done, scraping to collect any bits stuck to the pan.
                            • Pour into a small saucepan, stir in ½ cup vermouth and ½ cup cream, and bring to a boil.
                            • Continue to boil while stirring until gravy coats a wooden spoon.

                            And then watch it disappear - people go nuts for this gravy!

                            1. re: aching

                              Sounds very Julia Child to me! French and delicious, so your mom is right as usual.

                              1. re: aching

                                Me neither, but that sure sounds good! I have never added cream to my turkey gravy (hmmm might have to try that), but I definitely use vermouth. What I learned from my mom was to start the neck off early with onion and garlic in water or broth on the stove top. Then add the gizzard and liver. I shred the neck meat and finely chop the parts, it all gets strained, as you know there's a undesirable scum with the gizzard, but then I use the broth. . I usually buy extra necks and gizzards just for the gravy. I take almost everything from the pan after deglazing, then go from there to thicken. (There are as you say, nice bits left there) so they go into the gravy.
                                My mom used the potato water to thicken her gravy but I haven't tried that yet. I almost forgot, my mom without fail every Thanksgiving and Christmas would have, HAVE to make her rutabagas. We would groan and moan about the smell, but she sure loved them. I've never eaten one and wouldn't no what to expect, I probably should make a couple just because. Any possiblity you have a recipe for French Apple Pie? Not a terribly thick apple pie but the filling perfect, not runny and the top is the crumble type???? We've searche and searched. I finally found the old timey pie pans, there very dark, and there a little metal thing that runs around the bottom to unstick the pies, probably from the 40s.

                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  Rutabagas! Oohh, I love them and I definitely think you should make some. But then, I don't think I ever met a root vegetable I didn't like:) I am, ahem, aware that not everyone else feels the same - but basically if you like turnips you'll like rutabagas. The only odd thing about them other than their size is that they're usually sold coated in wax for some reason.

                                  1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                    I think this is the year to try them. Thanks, do you just add butter, mash them up? Any milk?

                                  2. re: chef chicklet

                                    Yes! I didn't want to get into the minutiae of it, but the way my mom does it, the neck and gizzards are simmered in chicken stock the whole time the turkey is cooking, along with a chopped carrot, chopped celery, and chopped onion. As you said, you do have to skim off the gross stuff occasionally. When basting the turkey, she alternates between using vermouth and the stock - so the pan juices are insanely good.

                                    1. re: aching

                                      oh the celery, forgot that! Yes start it at the beginning add moisture as the turkey cooks if it needs it. Gosh I am getting in the mood!

                                    2. re: chef chicklet

                                      And I DO actually have a good French Apple Pie recipe (although I don't know how authentically French it really is)!

                                      FRENCH APPLE PIE

                                      1 Single Pie Crust
                                      7 cups cooking apples, thinly sliced
                                      ¾ cup granulated sugar
                                      1 t. cinnamon
                                      ½ t. nutmeg
                                      zest of 1 lemon
                                      ½ cup butter, softened
                                      ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
                                      1 cup all-purpose flour
                                      ½ walnuts, chopped (optional)

                                      • Prepare Pie Crust per recipe.
                                      • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
                                      • Place the sliced apples in a large bowl.
                                      • Add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon zest. Toss to mix.
                                      • Arrange apple slices in bottom crust. Pour any liquid in the bowl over the top.
                                      • Mix butter, brown sugar, flour, and nuts (if using) until crumbly.
                                      • Spread topping over apples, pressing lightly.
                                      • Bake for 45 minutes, until crust is nicely browned and juice begins to bubble. Monitor topping – if it is getting too brown, place a sheet of foil on top.
                                      • Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (if desired).

                                      Make 8 servings.

                                      1. re: aching

                                        This looks great! Thank you, I'm going to try this on Thursday morning or tomorrow night. Do the apples set nicely? I love this pie!

                                2. re: aching

                                  Mmmm chocolate pecan pie!
                                  Aching do you have a favorite recipe you can share?

                                  1. re: Island

                                    I'm not aching but I made this one last year:

                                    It was incredibly rich, like eating a candy bar. I followed the recipe exactly except that I added a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt to the finished product. A keeper for sure.

                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                      Thanks biondanonima. Good tip about the sea salt.

                                    2. re: Island

                                      Happy to share! I made this last year for the first time at my husband's request and it got rave reviews. I started with this recipe from Epicurious:


                                      But I changed it a lot. Here's my recipe:

                                      CHOCOLATE PECAN TART

                                      ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
                                      ¼ cup sugar
                                      1 large egg yolk
                                      1/8 teaspoon salt
                                      1¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour

                                      3 large eggs
                                      ½ cup (packed) golden brown sugar
                                      1 cup dark corn syrup
                                      ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
                                      1/8 teaspoon salt
                                      1½ cups coarsely chopped pecans
                                      1 cup chocolate chips

                                      • Using electric mixer, beat butter in medium bowl until smooth. Add sugar, egg yolk, and salt; beat until blended. Add flour and beat just until dough begins to clump together.
                                      • Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Roll out dough on lightly floured work surface to 10 1/2-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork. Cover and refrigerate.
                                      • Place crust in freezer 30 minutes before filling and baking.
                                      • Preheat oven to 350°F.
                                      • Whisk eggs and brown sugar in medium bowl until well blended. Whisk in corn syrup, melted butter, and salt. Stir in pecans.
                                      • Spread chocolate chips in unbaked crust and bake until chocolate is melted, about three minutes.
                                      • Remove from oven and pour filling into crust. Place tart on rimmed baking sheet.
                                      • Bake tart until filling is slightly puffed and set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.
                                      • Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (if desired).

                                      Make 8-12 servings.

                                      Note: Crust can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Tart can be made 1 day ahead. Tent loosely with foil after cooled and let stand at room temperature.

                                      Adapted from Bon Appétit (November 2007).

                                      Most chocolate pecan pie recipes I've seen call for mixing the chocolate into the filling, but I actually really like having it as a separate layer - I think it's a more elegant presentation and I like having the flavors stay distinct. A friend from Texas (where they take this dessert seriously, I'm told) taught me to do it this way.

                                      1. re: aching

                                        Aching That original recipe wouldn't have caught my attention, but what you've done with it...well, now we're talking! Thanks for posting your alterations. Some may say everything is better with bacon, but I've got to give it to chocolate...or green chiles!

                                  2. I will have a house full of eaters who have been instructed to bring containers for leftovers.

                                    To prevent a revolution, we're having the family's expected:
                                    roast turkey
                                    roast pork loin
                                    Mom's bread dressing
                                    Mom's giblet gravy
                                    mashed potatoes
                                    cauliflower in cheese sauce
                                    other Sister's cranberry-nut-sour cream "salad"
                                    Sister's favorite peas (LeSeur) w/mushrooms and onions
                                    mustardy creamed onions
                                    brussels sprouts w/apples and creme fraiche and pistachios (well, I may be the only one to revolt if BS aren't on the table)
                                    assorted pies, most made by Mom, and her apple cake

                                    What's different:
                                    I'm not making oyster dressing as Gulf oysters this year are scarce, cost a king's ransom

                                    I am going to make an alternate dressing--debating between a fennel, leek, apple, and bacon dressing (inspired by a Mamachef recipe) and a wild mushroom, leek, pancetta one

                                    Still trying to decide:
                                    Thai-inspired sweet potato gratin or the Noble Pig SP gratin (as posted on another thread)
                                    (at least) one of several cranberry relishes posted on that thread

                                    That thread, BTW, is full of fantastic ideas for sides:


                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                      thanks for the link, I get the idea that I'll have my traditional dishes, but want to try some new ones this year...

                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                        Any possibility that you might share your mom's apple cake recipe? Too bad about the oyster dressing. Your lineup sounds great! Good luck.

                                        1. re: danieldumont

                                          Here it is, exactly as dictated to me, which is something. At least it doesn't include the instruction "bake until it's done" or an exasperated "you just know!" Since I was putting it out there on "that internet," she was on her best behavior : )

                                          My mom has made this as long as I can remember. Two of my sibs insist upon this cake at every family gathering. DH and I love to eat the leftovers, slightly toasted under the broiler, for breakfast.

                                          Mom's Fresh Apple Cake

                                          Preheat oven to 350

                                          1 ¼ cups Wesson oil
                                          2 eggs
                                          3 cups flour
                                          3 cups apples (chopped)
                                          1 cup chopped nuts
                                          1 teaspoon baking soda
                                          1 teaspoon cinnamon
                                          2 teaspoons vanilla
                                          ¼ teaspoon salt
                                          1 cup white sugar
                                          1 cup brown sugar

                                          Beat eggs
                                          add sugar, oil – beat 3 minutes
                                          sift other dry ingredients together and add slowly to creamed mixture
                                          add apples and nuts; add vanilla last

                                          Bake in greased tube/bundt pan for 1 hour and 15 minutes
                                          (do not flour pan)

                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                            Sounds delicious. I think I'll make that to go along with the pumpkin pie my (future) mother in law is making. I'm not that fond of pumpkin pie.

                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                              My mom makes this same cake. I just requested her make it yesterday for T'giving. Soooo good.

                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                Thanks so much! Looks like my mom's Echo Lake Apple Cake
                                                Happy Thanksgiving!

                                                1. re: danieldumont

                                                  I have no idea where she got this recipe, and she doesn't remember either, but probably from some women's magazine in the 1960s or possibly one of her sisters.

                                                2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                  I got that same apple cake recipe from my mom! It's absolutely wonderful!!!