Creative Thanksgiving

We're having two Thanksgivings -- one in early November with my parents and then actual Thanksgiving with my in-laws. My parents will also have Thanksgiving at their house on the actual day. The real Thanksgivings will be super-traditional New England style so when my parents visit and we do pseudo-Thanksgiving I'd like to do a variation on the theme. What are people's favorite Thanksgiving dishes that are different than the uber-traditional meal?

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15 Comments

Sam1148 October 17, 2012
The cut I use for the lamb is the 'crown roast' cut..and have the butcher cut off 2 to 3 chops per person, depending on size you see for the chops at the butcher.
Grilling, grill pan, broil is what use for those..so it's seared on both sides and rare to med inside.
 
lloreen October 15, 2012
I once made quail in puff pastry (just like in Babette's Feast). It was quite fun to create, but a ton of work. Cornish game hens would be an easier riff off a giant turkey.
 
Sam1148 October 14, 2012
Oh BTW...Birds Eye used to make a frozen whole green bean product that's perfect for the green bean application.
I can't find it anymore now...it was gold foil wrapped and only needed a defrosting..and the beans where intact (not snipped off) and had the little pointy bits. I haven't seen those in ages tho..maybe your market might have them.
 
MTMitchell October 16, 2012
I'll look for those. My dad likes to help with prep so I might put him to work on green beans. I'm going to look for lamb chops or I might do a shoulder. Throw it in the oven and let it go. Good snacks, good wine, and I found a pumpkin bread pudding recipe for dessert. This is shaping up to be a really lovely menu and I think my parents will love it. That (and the wine) is the most important thing!
 
Sam1148 October 14, 2012
HAHA..Thanks MTM, I do the lamb thing in the spring..but your local meat place might have the little cute "lollipop' chops, about 2-3 per person--the small ones..and french them, soak them, grill, grill pan..broil. It think it would be easy to pull off for a small crowd. The polenta, can be held in a improvised double boiler for a couple of hours. And the green beans can be held and then deployed. So, you can some minimal pre-prep.

The only thing I'm not quite sure of is a reduction sauce for the lamb chops. Depends on what wines you have, sweetness balance etc. For Italian, maybe the gratin served after the salad/bread..as a palate cleaner..before the heavy meal?
 
Sam1148 October 14, 2012
If you can get small lamb chops..frenched and trimmed. Marinate those with balsamic vinegar, garlic, rosemary, salt and oil for a few hours. Dry them and grill...preferably over a charcoal grill with some hickory chips.

Polenta ,made with beef stock and garlic, could stand in for the mashed potatoes. and plate the chops over that with a wine reduction sauce for the lamb, using some reserved marinade. (check acid balance there tho).

To stand in for the "Green bean casserole"
Fresh small green beans, blanched...and tossed in garlic/rosemary oil; heat olive oil on very low with a sprig of rosemary remove the herbs/garlic after it's given up flavors, add some matchstick cut procutsuttio ham. Then add the green beans to warm through...and finish with bread crumbs and good parmasean cheese shavings. (sundried tomatoes are also good in that--in the oil..chopped and added to the ham at the last min of ham cooking). Make the oil ahead of time and leave it on the stove and store the blanched beans..then warm and toss the beans in the oil before serving.
Roasted carrots could add some color balance to the plating.

And of course a salad/bread course to start...and a desert to finish; maybe a orange or peach gratin, or a cheese plate with seasonal roasted nuts, with a Marsalsa wine.
 
MTMitchell October 14, 2012
Sam1148, you just wrote my menu. Thanks! I wanted to maybe lean towards Mediterranean /Italian influenced (family) and wasn't quite sure how to pull it together. Hadn't thought of polenta. My parents will love this.
 
MTMitchell October 14, 2012
I really like the idea of doing lamb. I'd love to try a turducken but I'm not sure we can pull it off...thanks!!
 
Linn October 14, 2012
My ultimate all time favorite is the most expensive, most authentic heritage bird I can find.
 
Linn October 14, 2012
My ultimate all time favorite is the most expensive, most authentic heritage bird I can find.
 
Linn October 14, 2012
My ultimate all time favorite is the most expensive, most authentic heritage bird I can find.
 
Patti I. October 14, 2012
Make a Turducken! Chef Paul Prudome has a recipe for it but it is time consuming.
 
Greenstuff October 13, 2012
There are so many directions! Last year, we had lamb, and it seemed like every time I turned around, I heard of someone else who had also had lamb--legs or racks mostly. We've had lobsters. Whole roasted fish (sometimes with stuffing). Goat. Birds of every size, including one year, it was just my daufpghter and me, and we had quail. When the common theme is autumn fest, there's a lot you can do and not miss a turkey.
 
nasilemak October 13, 2012
I was fortunate to be a guest at a memorable and interesting Thanksgiving dinner that had delicious Mexican overtones - i remember the turkey was roasted in adobo seasonings and came with a red-chile gravy. The host got the recipe from Gourmet. One of the side dishes was a simple but lovely sauteed chayote with garlic.
 
Merrill S. October 13, 2012
My mother makes this nearly every year -- it's a great substitute for (or addition to) cranberry sauce: http://food52.com/recipes/2558_tuscan_onion_confit
 
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