More than just American pie

More than just American pie

Discover a feast of all-American delights on this Thanksgiving menu

Thanksgiving is one of America’s best-loved holidays. Commemorating a legendary feast held by the early Pilgrims in 1621 to celebrate the harvest, today it simply means family, friends and lots of food. Try your own Thanksgiving feast with these classic recipes from our world menu: turkey, cornbread, sweet potato mash, and cranberry sauce, with a pumpkin pie to finish. Lay out the gingham tablecloth, put out the stars and stripes, and get stuck into these dishes.

Cornbread is the perfect accompaniment for Thanksgiving: native Americans made a similar dish for centuries and it sustained the early Pilgrims. Try this recipe for soft cornbread with a crunchy crust.

Ingredients: 150g of all-purpose flour; 150g of coarse cornmeal ; 2 teaspoons of salt; 2 teaspoons of baking powder; 240ml of buttermilk or yoghurt; 2 eggs; 1 tablespoon of sugar; 100g of butter.

Instructions: Heat the oven to 220°C. Mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk (or yoghurt) and eggs, and then stir it into the flour-and-cornmeal mixture. Melt the butter in a 24cm ovenproof frying pan (use cast iron if you have it) until it starts to sizzle and turn brown. Pour the butter into your batter, stir well, then add the whole mix into the hot pan. Transfer to the over and cook for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Invert onto a wire rack and serve warm, cut into chunky squares.

Stuffed turkey
America gave turkey to the world: put it in its rightful place as the centrepiece of the Thanksgiving meal. A little extra effort in the preparation makes for a perfect moist result.

Ingredients for the stuffing: 50g of bread; 300g of cooked, peeled and chopped chestnuts;100g of butter; 2 small onions, peeled and chopped; 2 celery sticks, chopped; 2 tablespoons of fresh sage; 600ml of vegetable stock; ½ tablespoon of salt; 10g of parsley; freshly ground black pepper

Instructions: The day before, chop the bread into squares 2cm wide, place them onto a single layer on two baking trays and leave them overnight, uncovered. Melt the butter in a large pan on a medium heat, add the onions and celery and cook until soft. Add the finely chopped sage along with a ladle of stock and cook for five more minutes. Pour into a large bowl, then mix in the chestnuts, bread, parsley and the remaining stock. Season with salt and pepper. Use part of the stuffing mix to stuff the turkey, and add the remainder to a buttered pan, cooking covered with a lid or foil at 180°C for 25 minutes. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes more, or until golden brown.

Ingredients for the turkey: 1 large turkey (allow for 500g per person); 340g of melted butter; 60g of butter at room temperature; 1 bottle of white wine; 2 teaspoons of salt and pepper; cheesecloth; kitchen string; toothpicks

Ingredients for gravy: 750ml of turkey stock (or chicken stock); a glass of white wine; a heaped dessertspoon of plain flour

Let the turkey stand for 2 hours at room temperature. Set the oven to 220°C. Heat the butter and white wine together and soak a large piece of cheesecloth in the liquid. Tuck the wingtips of the turkey under the body and place it breast-side up in a roasting pan. Stuff the turkey, including the neck cavity, right before you put it in the oven, but don’t pack it too tightly. Pin the flap of skin at the neck down and secure it with tooth picks. Tie the legs together loosely with string. Rub the turkey with butter and season with salt and pepper, then cover the breast and legs with the cheesecloth. Roast for 30 minutes, then baste the cheesecloth and expose parts of the turkey with more of the wine and butter mixture, placing it back in the oven at 180°C. Keep basting it every 30 minutes. After two hours, remove the cheesecloth, baste the turkey with pan juices, and return to the oven. A 5kg turkey will be cooked in three hours ten minutes – add an extra 20 minutes for every extra kilogram. To check whether it’s ready, pierce the turkey where the thigh meets the body: if the juices run clear, it’s done.

Put the turkey aside to rest and prepare the gravy. Pour the cooking juices from the roasting tin into a jug, let the fat separate out and skim it off. Put the roasting pan over two burners and add the juices and a little of the fat. Add the flour and stir to mix it with the roasting juices. Pour in the glass of wine and let it cook for a minute, deglazing the pan. Then pour in the stock, stir it together and reduce it down to a thick glossy consistency.

Cranberry sauce
This traditional accompaniment adds a delicious tang to a rich Thanksgiving meal.

Ingredients: 210g of sugar; 240ml of water; 340g of cranberries; 1 orange (juice and zest)

Preparation: Wash the fruit. Bring the sugar and water to the boil in a saucepan. Add the cranberries and cook for 5-6 minutes, skimming off any froth as it appears. Add the zest and the orange juice, stirring well. Allow the mixture to cool and serve at room temperature.

Sweet potato mash
Enjoy the velvety texture and rich buttery taste of this comforting side dish.

Ingredients: 400g of sweet potatoes; 20g of butter; 100ml of single cream; 2 tablespoons of brown sugar

Instructions: Wash and peel the sweet potatoes and boil them for 30 minutes. In a saucepan, bring the butter, cream and sugar to a simmer. Add the potatoes and mash until smooth, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Pumpkin pie
Add the finishing touch to your Thanksgiving spread with a traditional favourite. This all-American pie is packed with sweet spices.

Ingredients (for a 22-cm diameter baking pan): 150g of plain flour; 1 egg; 50g of sugar; 50g of butter in small pieces; 1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest

Ingredients for the filling: 400g of pumpkin; 3 eggs; 110g of sugar; 120g of whipping cream; 1 teaspoon of cinnamon; 1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped ginger; a pinch of salt.

Preparation: Using a large knife, halve the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and any stringy parts. Cut it in to quarters and pare off the skin. The cut the flesh into chunks and steam for 15 minutes, or bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then mash it to a pulp.

Meanwhile, pour the flour into a bowl, adding the egg, butter, sugar and orange zest and kneading them together quickly into a soft, even dough. Cover the pastry dough in clingfilm and allow it to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge. Butter the inside of a 22cm flan tin. Then roll out the dough until it’s thin enough to line the tin. Place it inside, pressing into the base and edges. Cut off any excess, and piece the pastry with a fork. Place the flan tin in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then cover the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill the pastry case with baking beans. Put in the over for 15 minutes at 180°C, remove the paper and beans, and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.

In a bowl, prepare the filling. Mix the eggs, sugar, a pinch of salt, chopped ginger and cinnamon powder. Add the cream and the pumpkin mash, and mix together until smooth. Pour into the pastry base and bake for 40 minutes at 180°C. Allow to cool for an hour before serving.
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