Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thinking Ahead: Thanksgiving Recipes and Inspiration

Gobble, gobble. The autumn leaves and chestnuts are starting to fall from the trees and October is just around the corner. And you know what that means... Thanksgiving. Family gatherings, big dinners and that inevitable feeling of sleepiness from too much wine and turkey. Whether you're just starting to think about hosting a dinner or you've already set the date and sent out the invitations, here's a few recipe ideas and inspirations.

You can also hear me live on the CBC's On the Island tomorrow (Wednesday) morning chatting about this very subject from 7:50 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. If you miss the show, you can also download the podcast anytime. The interview with me is six minutes in.

So, when it comes to food, Thanksgiving is all about the sides. I mean the turkey is there but what I really get excited about is all the fixings. The stuffing and gravy, potatoes and Brussels sprouts and the cranberry sauce. Especially the cranberry sauce. For a twist this year, try a new recipe or simply make a little change to an old family classic. By changing or adding even one ingredient, you can add a flair to this year's dinner and really wow your family and friends.

Ideas for Thanksgiving Sides:
*Gravy: try adding freshly chopped sage or rosemary, a splash of red or white wine or a little Dijon mustard.

*Potatoes: add some caramelized onions, finely grated Parmesan cheese, garlic or chopped sauteed kale. You could also try mashing half potatoes with half sweet potatoes, parsnips or even cauliflower.

*Stuffing: try wild rice instead of bread. Or, you could try adding sausage, apples, apricots, fennel, dates, currents or golden raisins. You could also try using a different kind of bread then you usually do, like cornbread or sourdough.

One of my favorite thanksgiving traditions is making homemade cranberry sauce with orange juice, a little orange zest and Cassis black current liquor. I’ll stand in the kitchen and eat it by the spoonful if no one is watching.

Cranberry Sauce with Cassis
Inspired and adapted only slightly from Rouxbe's Cassis Cranberry Sauce
If you like a sweeter cranberry sauce, add one full cup of sugar.

1 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
1 bag fresh cranberries (14 ounces)
1/2 large orange, juiced
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup Crème de cassis (black current liqueur)

In a medium sauce pan, add water and sugar and bring to a boil. Once the sugar dissolves, add cranberries, orange zest and juice and bring back to a boil.

Once it's boiling, turn down the heat and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes. This depends on how thick you want your sauce. Add the cassis and stir everything together. Once you reach the consistency you want, turn off the heat.

Keep in mind the sauce will thicken as it cools. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to try that cranberry sauce. I really like the rich dark colour of it.

Theresa said...

It was great to meet you the other day -- I thought we all sounded great! Theresa

Melody Wey said...

Lovely meeting you too Theresa, I thought we sounded great too. Gregor Craigie made it easy for us.

Lauren said...

I have never made cranberry sauce with creme de cassis but I makes a huge difference in taste. I had cranberry sauce at a friends house last year and I could not figure out what the difference in taste was but she told me that she used this recipe. I will definitely be adding this to my Thanksgiving Recipes for this year. I work with Better Recipes so I am always reviewing recipes but Thanksgiving is personally my favorite holiday so I love finding new dishes.

Melody Wey said...

Lauren, it's so nice to hear such lovely feedback about a recipe. Thank you! The cassis makes a huge difference and I'll never go back if I can help it.

Thanks for the link to the Better Recipes Thanksgiving page too. Good resource.