Wednesday 10 November 2010

Thanksgiving Food and Recipes

With Thanksgiving only a fortnight away, it's time to turn our attention to this most American of festivities.

Typically, the foods served at the Thanksgiving meal reflect those of what, traditionally, is known as the 'first Thanksgiving'; the 1621 feast at Plymouth colony that included: turkey, waterfowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Indeed, many of the foods included at that feast (with the notable exception of the seafood) have become staples of the modern Thanksgiving dinner.

The centrepiece, of course, remains the Turkey and this link: roasting meat, fowl and game will give you a guide for how to roast a whole range of meats successfully.

For many, no Thanksgiving meal is complete without a stuffing (or a 'dressing' as it is commonly known) and below is a recipe for a traditional cornbread stuffing:

Cornbread Stuffing

90g onions, finely chopped
180g celery, chopped (use the leaves and stalks)
200g butter
850g cornbread (either cut into cubes or crumbled by hand)
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1 tsp dried sage, crumbled (or to taste)
3/4 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped

Melt the butter in a large frying pan, and when hot add the onions and celery and fry gently for about 8 minutes, or until soft but not coloured. Add about 1/3 of the cornbread to the pan and sir to coat in the butter before taking off the heat.

Now pour the contents of the pan into a large bowl then stir in the remaining cornbread along with the salt, pepper, sage and thyme. Stir thoroughly to combine then, when ready to roast your turkey use this mixture to stuff the neck and body cavities of the bird. This recipe will provide enough for up to a 7kg bird.

Many creamed vegetable dishes are commonly served and below is a typical example:

Creamed Sweet Potatoes with Carrots and Turnips

2 carrots, scraped and diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 turnip, peeled and diced
120ml whole milk
4 tbsp dill, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1/8 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg

Bring a pan of very lightly salted water to a boil, add the carrots, sweet potato and turnip and boil for about 20 minutes, or until all the ingredients are tender. Drain the vegetables in a colander then transfer to a food processor and purée with the milk, dill and butter.

Transfer the resultant mixture into a bowl and season with salt and black pepper. Turn this mixture into an ovenproof dish, sprinkle the nutmeg on top then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 170°C and bake for about 15 minutes, or until heated through and golden brown on top.

No thanksgiving meal is complete without a dessert and below is one for a classic Pecan Pie:

Pecan Pie

3 eggs
180ml maple syrup
60ml bourbon, whisky or rum
125g sugar
65g butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
220g pecan nut halves
1/4 batch foolproof pie crust (enough for a single crust pie)

Prepare the foolproof pie crust according to the recipe then chill in the refrigerator as you prepare the filling.

Lightly whisk the eggs then beat in the maple syrup, bourbon, sugar, butter and vanilla extract. Add the pecan halves and stir to combine. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator then roll out on greaseproof (waxed) paper and use to line the base of a pie plate. Trim any excess pastry then pour in the filling.

Bake on the bottom shelf of an oven pre-heated to 175°C and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving with vanilla ice cream.

You will find hundreds more Classic Thanksgiving recipes by following the link given here.
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