It’s November – so I can officially start obsessively planning my big Thanksgiving feast. Although if I’m honest I may have looked at a few recipes in October or even September… I love the planning almost as much as the actual night, and if you’re feeding 15+ people you need to plan!
Thanksgiving might just be my favourite holiday. It’s so simple – just food and family or friends. No pressure about presents, no differences of opinion or religion, just a huge tasty meal to bring everyone together. I’ve celebrated every year since I’ve lived in the UK and my British friends all tell me how much they enjoy the excuse to get together and eat and drink on a dark night in November.
I’ve been refining my menu for eight years or so now, trying a few new things every time, particularly over the last four or five years. A few tasty things I’ve tried along the way which didn’t make the cut this year but might still suit your menus: cranberry nut bread, spicy pumpkin soup, hot spinach and artichoke dip, brussel sprouts with cranberries and pecans, chestnut and apple cornbread stuffing, and pumpkin swirl brownies.
But this year’s menu is just about set – maybe it will help you plan your own Thanksgiving dinner or any other excuses you’ve got for a big fat meal with friends and family…
Appetizers and snacks before the meal:
- Dip: I usually do that 70s dinner party classic of spinach dip in a bread bowl but this year they’ve been clamouring for the less traditional 7-layer dip with corn tortilla chips – we shall see if I cave…
- Roasted spiced nuts
- Cranberry cornbread: I’ll be using my favourite recipe but adding cranberries instead of the usual Mexican flavours
- Leek and mushroom stuffing: a new dish this year – will report back
- Green bean casserole with French fried onions: an American classic – you can buy something very similar to French fried onions in Indian shops in the UK too – hallelujah!
- Caramelised roast beets and onions
- Roasted sweet potato with sage
- Mashed potatoes with cream and roasted garlic
- My famous macaroni and cheese
- My favourite ever veggie gravy
- Pumpkin pecan pie: I make something similar to this recipe but in the UK you can substitute golden syrup for the ‘corn syrup’ and I use a real pumpkin rather than the canned version. Just roast, puree and squeeze through a sieve for a really smooth pumpkin puree. It works equally well with butternut squash, but be aware that the flesh cooks down a lot so 500g (1 pound) of pumpkin turns into about 1/2 cup of puree!
- Apple pie
- Gluten-free apple crumble for the coeliac who’s coming this year
- All served with vanilla ice cream
- Plus cheese and homemade chutneys for any late night snacking
For drinks I usually buy lots of mulled wine spices to add to red wine, cider or apple juice (spiked with Tuaca or bourbon of course) – although this year we might even try some of my first ever homemade fruit wines.
Oh and then there’s the big turkey question – as I’m a veggie I’ve done a year or two without one, or had meals where the big bird was cooked by and for any meat-eaters who were attending. For me it’s all about all those yummy veggie sides anyway. If you’re looking for a veggie main for your big feast, I can recommend my holiday veggie pie recipe as a filling dish with enough flavour to rival the big bird…
Anyway – whatever you’re eating and whoever you’re with, I hope your day is as tasty and friendly as mine always is!
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