Are you in the spirits, ready to cook up a storm this Thanksgiving? In a pickle, trying to decide whether to walk down the traditional route or whip up something contemporary and innovative?
A scrumptious thanksgiving spread is certainly a miss without roasted turkey or silky potato mash. Could you settle without the flavorful gravy though or the rich and sweet berry sauce? The importance of having pumpkin pies ready to be forked into goes without a saying. Is it worth skipping the dinner rolls or the braised green beans? Maybe not!
In a nutshell, the time-honored dishes are favorites and classics for a reason. A twist in the recipes could be forgiving. But, switching up a classic thanksgiving menu for the not-so-famous or new dishes is indeed a bummer. Not walking into a platter crowned with turkey undoubtedly wrecks the essence of indulging in a lush Thanksgiving spread. From the appetizers and the meaty goodness to the drinks, and desserts, beating the classics is harder than you picture.
What’s in a classic menu?
1. Roast turkey – If anything tops the charts of a traditional Thanksgiving menu, roast turkey it is. The bird is usually fairly large in size. So, you must be mindful when picking the right-sized turkey. Pot-roasting the turkey is a time-consuming affair. You might want to stick the turkey in the oven and leave it baking and cooking for a good three or four hours.
Wondering how to rack up perfectly golden, crisp, and delicious skin? Oodles of butter is your answer. More the butter, easier is the basting, and more luscious and palatable is the meat. Do not carve into the turkey as soon as you pop the bird out of the oven. Allow the meat a few minutes to rest before slicing it up. The flavors are brimming in the drippings. Do not toss the drippings away.
2. Mashed potatoes – Whipping up the flavorsome, steamy, and silky mashed potatoes is a game-changer. Do it wrong and it could sway off the flavors and balance of the meal. Did you think that mashing up the potatoes was it for the recipe? No! The technique involves a few too many cooking steps. For example:
– Picking the right kind of potatoes. Not all potatoes are waxy enough. The brown-skinned veggie or the russet potatoes have a beautiful silky texture. Variants like the Yukon Gold make up for a good recipe too.
– You cannot be a skinflint with butter. A tablespoon is not enough. Pop in sticks of butter
– Milk rich in fat is a core ingredient. The skim or low-fat ones do not add to the taste of the mash
– Go heavy-handed with your seasoning. If the mashed potatoes are immaculately seasoned, the rich buttery flavors are supremely enhanced
– Take the reigns and pop in cheddar, parmesan, or whatever cheese fills your heart with joy. You could throw in chives or bits of bacon too.
3. Pumpkin pie – Doesn’t matter if you are filled to the gills. There’s always room to chow down a velvety and tasty pumpkin pie. If prepping the dough or baking the pie in blazing hot temperatures sounds like a hassle, getting a hand on, way before the dinner starts is a good idea.
Pop in cold butter for a perfectly flaky crust. Wondering if there’s a trick to soften the crust slightly more? Using a tad bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar could help you bake a crust that’s a melt-in-your-mouth. Have your assorted spices like ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger ready to be used.