Thanksgiving cooking challenge - tackle a difficult dish

So much of Thanksgiving advice it about making things easier, less challenging, and more fool-proof. But this year I'll be on my own for the holiday and would love to tackle something really challenging and exciting -something I could never attempt when guests were coming. My first thoughts were cassoulet or paella, but I'm allergic to duck and shellfish. Is there such thing as a turkey souffle? I'd love to hear any suggestions.



QueenSashy October 28, 2017
Turducken. It is an idea I am still getting used to, but no doubt it is an ultimate challenge. (I also loved Jeffrey Steingarten's story in "It Must've Been Something I Ate")
C S. October 25, 2017
If you want to make paella you do not need shellfish - you can make it with chicken and rabbit, or all vegetables, or with many combinations. The challenge is mostly having the right pan and a surface to cook it on, some good rice, broth and olive oil. It lends itself to all sorts of variations and makes a dramatic presentation. Have fun whatever you choose to do.

Voted the Best Reply!

Tracy October 25, 2017
How about Beef Wellington?
caninechef October 25, 2017
An alternate idea -- maybe there is a group supplying free Thanksgiving dinners that would be happy for an offer from someone with a free oven to roast a turkey for them.
Stephanie B. October 24, 2017
How about making ramen from scratch? It's not very Thanksgiving, but you could play with flavors and get some turkey in it. I only made it once before, and I probably won't do it again for a long time. But it was worth the effort for the occasion and was absolutely delicious. I used Serious Eats:
The link includes about 4 other recipe links for making other ramen toppings: soy eggs, chashu pork...not an undertaking for the faint of heart, but if you like cooking and want to get fancy it's fun.

I couldn't find all the ingredients - I used other cartilage heavy pork bones like knuckle bones and got broth that was the right consistency. No luck with fresh noodles either, and I had to use dry.
HalfPint October 24, 2017
Along this note, I wanted to suggest making beef pho.

Or Hunan honey ham with lotus buns,
AntoniaJames October 24, 2017
Cassoulet with a sharply dressed green salad, preferably one with apples and nuts, followed by a showstopper dessert that also makes a great breakfast / snacks the next day, to wit, a Paris-Brest. Cassoulet also provides wonderful leftovers and you can use a turkey leg as one of the meats - perhaps a smoked turkey leg? -- if you want. The cassoulet is a hearty dish, while the Paris-Brest is a not a rich dessert. I made one for Christmas a few years ago using this Cook's Illustrated recipe with Alice Medrich's vanilla rice flour pastry cream: One of the best, most-raved about and appreciated desserts I've ever made. ;o)
Nancy October 24, 2017
No, don't know of turkey souffle, but think this is a great question, and a great way to make a Thanksgiving on your own a special day.
A couple other ways to go at it
1) What, to you, are dishes that stand for feasting and joy? whatever they are, make one or two of them the center of your meal.
2) Pick a dish from a top movie food scene, make that for dinner, take a break to watch the movie. Finish up with dessert or turkey sandwiches (whatever your tradition). Or even Jack Nicolson's chicken sandwich without the toast.
Some favorite movies with food scenes:
a) Big Night - the timpano the brothers make at the end of the movie
b) Babette's Feast - cailles en sarcophage
c) Eat Drink Man Woman - various Chinese dishes from Taipei
d) Tampopo - search for the perfect ramen noodle soup

Or look at these sites for more ideas:
Nancy October 24, 2017
PS. On Jack Nicolson, Five Easy Pieces, I meant, "without the chicken"
Stephanie B. October 24, 2017
Nancy, I love suggestion number 2! What a fun way to kick back and enjoy cooking on your own.
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