Thanksgiving with a twist
November 4, 2010 2:02 PM   Subscribe

Thanksgiving with a twist: I'm looking for recipes that contain "Thanksgiving-y" and "Christmas-y" ingredients (turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin, pecans, etc.) but that aren't traditionally "Thanksgiving-y", as a whole. Perfect example: sweet potato salsa

I've started the tradition of hosting a very casual 'late Thanksgiving/Early Christmas' party, and since people go to half a dozen holiday dinners every season, I try to make mine a little unique.

Last year, I made, among other things, the sweet potato salsa, an amazing cranberry bacon chutney, and this year I'm thinking butternut squash ravioli and pumpkin pie jello shots or martinis.

So I'm looking for similar recipes that feature or include the following ingredients:
  • sweet potatoes
  • regular potatoes
  • turkey
  • pumpkins
  • cranberries
  • squash
  • collard greens
  • stuffing
  • green beans
  • mac n' cheese
  • pecans
  • apples
  • pomegranates
  • peppermint
  • gingerbread
No dietary restrictions, all suggestions are welcome!
posted by chara to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Last year we did a non-traditional Thanksgiving.

The things that worked out the best were cranberry jello shots and sweet potato brulee (with toasted marshmallow on top). Everything else was just Thanksgiving + booze: Guinness pumpkin pie, bourbon pecan pie, but it made for super sleepy mode after dinner.
posted by Gucky at 2:13 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

There's an Iranian dish my boyfriend makes called fesenjoon (sometimes fesenjan). It's really good--it consists of onions, turmeric, ground walnuts, and pomegranate paste (and, depending on the season, butternut squash). And, on normal days, hunks of chicken breast. But on Thanksgiving, his family uses it to accompany the turkey.

The best recipe for it is in the cookbook "New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies," and I can't find it online anywhere. There's a decent chance your public library will have it.
posted by phunniemee at 2:14 PM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Boozy recipes are great!
posted by chara at 2:17 PM on November 4, 2010

This is less a recipe than something to drink, but very worth picking up: Cranberry wine, from Plymouth, Mass.

Of particular note is the Red Gold - it's a cranberry mead which is really just so fantastic.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 2:22 PM on November 4, 2010

Ah, wait, I see here they don't ship. My apologies. Perhaps if you know someone out that way.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 2:22 PM on November 4, 2010

This recipe for roasted acorn squash is amazing. It's sweet and pepper-y at the same time. It might be too traditional for what you're looking for, but it's soooooo good.
posted by TooFewShoes at 2:27 PM on November 4, 2010

Wait, I can actually contribute something. Pumpkin curry soup! FAMOUS MOTHER made it for the family a while back and it's just phenomenal. There are a lot of recipes out there - have a look around, see which ones suit.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 2:29 PM on November 4, 2010

Best answer: I made sweet potato gnocci last year - it was easy and yummy! I'm sure you can find a way to booze-infuse the sauce.
posted by cestmoi15 at 2:31 PM on November 4, 2010

Ones I haven't made myself but have bookmarked from good sources:

Pumpkin bread pudding
Pumpkin cinnamon rolls
A vegan version of nikujaga (Japanese beef and potato stew); classic nikujaga
Korean potato side dishes
Daigaku imo (Japanese "university" sweet potatoes)
Japanese/Korean sweet potato pie (serve with creme fraiche, like Kirala in Berkeley...mmm)

Ones I have made and love:
New potatoes with spicy-sweet miso
Simple butternut squash curry
Mac and two cheeses with caramelized shallots
Butternut squash, spinach, and pancetta pasta (more or less what I do--I really just copied what the guy at the California Academy of Sciences restaurant did!)

Check out Just Hungry for recipes with a Japanese influence. Whole Foods' recipes are pretty reliable, as are Epicurious', and both have pretty useful apps (although it can be nice to go to the website so you can check comments for suggested alterations). Both seem to be pretty strong when it comes to this type of ingredient, which is why I mention them. :)

I love serving twists on things!
posted by wintersweet at 2:39 PM on November 4, 2010

Best answer: Make a big batch of wild rice (rice + 3 times as much water by volume, boil, cover, then simmer for 60-90 minutes).
Sautee onions, garlic, and diced butternut squash or pumpkin. Throw in some chopped fresh rosemary toward the end.
Stir this into the finished wild rice, along with craisins and toasted nuts of your choice.
I usually put in chunks of cooked chicken, but turkey is great too! Or you can just serve this as a side dish to a poultry entree.
(Salt & pepper to taste, of course.)

If you want to go a little less fancy, stirring the same fixings into prepared stovetop stuffing instead of wild rice is pretty delicious too, and even more thoroughly thanksgiving-y.
posted by vytae at 2:39 PM on November 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

Last year, I served a slow-cooked Cajun-Roasted Turkey Breast that turned out phenomenally. I made a strawberry-cranberry jelly sauce for it with jello, although that makes it closer to a traditional Thanksgiving meal:

12-ounce bag cranberries, thawed if frozen
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups cold water
6oz Strawberry Gelatin

Bring cranberries, sugar, and 3/4 cups water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until all berries have burst (10-15 minutes). Strain the juices from the pulp, discard solids.

Add water to the juices to make up 2 cups of liquid. Bring to a simmer in a saucepan, then add gelatin and stir until dissolved. Add 2 cups cold water and pour into a mold or bowl. Let chill until firmly set.
posted by bookdragoness at 2:41 PM on November 4, 2010

Google "Turkey Mole"

Mexican chocolate, sesame seed, chile and so forth goodness.
posted by leafwoman at 2:57 PM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

and with the leftover Turkey Mole, tamales with turkey mole!
posted by Allee Katze at 3:06 PM on November 4, 2010

Kadu/Kadoo is a really delicious Afghani recipe with pumpkin.

I made this cranberry syrup last year and have used it on tons of different things. Pancakes, ice cream, oatmeal, in drinks, ok, maybe not so many tons of things. But it was easy and tasty and I plan to do it again.
posted by sepviva at 3:16 PM on November 4, 2010

Strifto! Incredibly easy to make with phyllo sheets, chopped pecans, cinnamon and sugar. Crispety crunchy pecan goodness with lots of butter, but very light-tasting.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:01 PM on November 4, 2010

I'm not sure if this fits, but have you ever had Turducken? It sounds revolting/ridiculous, but hear me out - it's AWESOME in many ways

1. It comes frozen and you just stick it in the oven for a certain amount of time. Easy peasy.
2. The company's food chemists spent a long time figuring out how to make everything cook nicely, and it comes out super juicy.
3. All the flavors blend sooo nicely (there is stuffing inbetween the birds).
4. It tastes amazing.
5. It is kinda weird and a novelty for people who have never had it. Then they become converts.
posted by radioamy at 7:54 PM on November 4, 2010

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Burritos! I made these earlier this year and raved about them for probably at least two months. They are fantastic!
posted by troublewithwolves at 9:12 PM on November 4, 2010

Wolfgang Puck's pumpkin Risotto.

Cold Butternut Squash Soup.
posted by frmrpreztaft at 3:33 AM on November 5, 2010

I recently went to a party where the host served turkey and stuffing "wraps". It was basically turkey slices from a deli wrapped around stuffing and then placed in a baking pan, lightly drizzled with gravy and baked for a short amount of time, I think basically just warmed up. It was delicious and very easy to eat party food.
posted by citizngkar at 6:33 AM on November 5, 2010

Regarding apples, I submit to you Grandma's Cider Ice recipe. Particularly useful for fancier meals where you have a lot of different dishes to try (recipe explains why in more detail):

(Eater's note: this is Grandma / Mom's recipe - see below for more of my notes in parens. I am the Eater in question.)

This makes a lot. Could cut it in half. (Eater's note: don't cut in half, cause Cider Ice is the best T-day leftover ever. Its frozen dessert to follow up every post-holiday leftover meal. Yum.)

- Measure 2 and a half cups sugar in a mixing bowl
- Pour 1 cup lemon juice over sugar
- Add 2 cups apple cider and 2 cups ginger ale. Stir well.
- Freeze. When partly frozen (Eater's note: little more than halfway I think?) take out and beat it (Eater's note: No one wants to be defeated! Showin how funky and strong is your fight...) and pour it into glasses.
- Refreeze in glasses. (Eater's note: glasses are small-ish, like half the size of a water glass. It should be served along with the meal as a palate cleanser - you take small bites between tasting the different dishes, and it really brings out the flavor of each of the other dishes on the table by taking the taste of the last thing you ate away giving your mouth a clean slate for the next dish.)
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:36 AM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

I don't have a specific recipe to recommend, and a quick google search doesn't turn anyway up, but what about making some sort of Stuffing Blinis?
posted by couch fort dinner party at 9:48 AM on November 5, 2010

Oof, doesn't turn *any* up.
posted by couch fort dinner party at 9:48 AM on November 5, 2010

There are lots of dessert options out there - pumpkin mousse cups, pumpkin puddings, pumpkin tiramisu, pumpkin cream custard with cracked caramel (like a creme brulee).

We did a ravioli party a while back that I was considering modifying for Thanksgiving. Initial 4 batches were pumpkin, arugula, eggplant and beet, but you could do a turkey (say with sausage, or with chipotle pepper) a peirogi-like mashed-potato-and-cheese, a pumpkin (hazelnuts and nutmeg!), and a green vegetable (greens and onions, or broccoli, or peas). Serve with an herb butter sauce and a garnish of cranberry relish?
posted by aimedwander at 10:20 AM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: tl;dr you might find this Thanksgiving Turkey Cake amusing.
posted by mirileh at 5:09 AM on November 6, 2010

Response by poster: Yumtastic, y'all! Thanks! If any of you happen to be in the Kansas City area around early December, you're totally invited to my fiesta. No joke.
posted by chara at 9:55 PM on November 7, 2010

Response by poster: Well hey! This is what I settled on:

Homemade turkey meatballs
Cranberry bacon chutney
Butternut Squash & Sweet Potatoes with Brown Butter and Fried Sage
Pear & Gorgonzola Ravioli
Sweet Potato Latkes
Apple Cider w/Vanilla Vodka and Cinnamon (tastes like apple pie!)
posted by chara at 5:48 AM on December 23, 2010

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