Frankly, when it comes to our Thanksgiving menu, we’re fans of the tried and true. Don’t anyone try to throw anything extra into the family recipe stuffing or trade out the crunchy-sweet, brown-sugar-butter topping for marshmallows on the sweet potato casserole (don’t get us started on the marshmallows, really. As far as we’re concerned, they belong between two graham crackers blending with melty chocolate or pushed onto a long stick over a campfire, and nowhere else).
But we are more than willing to bring in a few new items. In fact, that’s how brown sugar bacon-wrapped asparagus ended up on our Thanksgiving hors d’oeuvres menu a few years ago (and now it’s the No. 1 request anytime more than three members of the family get together). In the spirit of all Thanksgivings everywhere, with family favorites and once-a-year-treats, we present a few of the best Thanksgiving recipes you’ll want to fold into your menu this year.
The Main Dish
Asian flavors probably aren’t your first thought when considering your menu for this most American of food-riffic holidays. But Epicurious thinks you’ll start once you try their Peking Turkey recipe. Using the flavors from Peking duck, this bird is “infused…with the flavor-boosting ingredients and techniques of the Asian kitchen,” creating a “roast turkey (that) tastes even juicier when slathered in a Peking-duck glaze,” they said.
If the Asian twist to Thanksgiving sounds good, see the rest of the menu including Brussels sprouts tossed with a Szechuan-peppercorn vinaigrette and carrots glazed in miso paste here.
Or, take a cue from Bon Appetit and add some Mexican flair to your Thanksgiving with their Chile-Rubbed Turkey. It’s part of their “25 Ways to Reinvent your Thanksgiving,” and so far there are a good dozen we want on our table, starting with the Cabernet Kumquat Cranberry Sauce (don’t try to say it 10 times fast; just make sure you make enough for a crowd).
On the Side
Chef Michael Symon updates Mashed Potatoes with Brown Butter and Crème Fraîche, and it’s as dreamy as it sounds. If you’re convinced your clan will miss the traditional buttery version slathered in gravy, serve them side by side. And don’t forget an extra helping of brown butter to drizzle on top, said Food and Wine.
Shake it up with an ooey-gooey side that is bound to become an annual tradition. This Corn Pudding with Mushrooms and Ham may turn you into a southern comfort convert.
Pretty enough to use as a centerpiece, this colorful Winter Squash with Spiced Butter dish marries “traditional Thanksgiving flavors (squash, cinnamon, butter) with a “beautiful Persian accent,” said Bon Appetit.
Fancy and delicious—the right combo for Thanksgiving dessert. These Mini Pumpkin Cakes look much harder to make than they are, can be whipped up in 30 minutes, and taste as good as they’d want them to.
We’re suckers for a good trifle. It’s easy to make, can be put together ahead of time, makes a beautiful presentation, and generally satisfies a range of age groups. Williams’ Sonoma’s Pecan Pumpkin Butter Trifle might just be our new go-to for all autumn/winter gatherings.
Call it the Cronut of the Thanksgiving table. This Pumpkin Pie-Croissant Pudding from Montréal chef Frederic Morin by way of Food and Wine pairs leftover croissants with raisins, rye whiskey, and pumpkin pie filling to make a traditional diplomat’s pudding with a twist.
To Wash It All Down
It’s not a festive occasion without a special drink. For adults, this Bourbon Maple Apple Cider will go down smooth. For the kids, try Apple Orchard Punch with ginger ale and a trip of juices (sub champagne for the ginger ale if you want to make a version for adults).
Which one is going to make it to your table this year?