Thanksgiving Special – New England Tradition Goes Contemporary

ThanksToday seemed like a good day to share three different menus for the perfect Thanksgiving feast. Whether you and your family are hungry for traditional fare, a five course bistro dinner or a rustic Italian feast, I’ve decided the turkey is sacrosanct at Thanksgiving. However, the rest of the menu is fair game. Feel free to take a menu from soup to dessert or mix and match! So stay tuned, there’s more to come!

For a traditional New England feast with a few contemporary touches …

Start with soup!

If it’s Thanksgiving in New England, you can’t bet more traditional than Butternut Squash Soup

Move on to the main event!

The star of the show has got to be Roast Turkey with Mom’s (or your Mom’s) Stuffing and Giblet Gravy and Cranberry Sauce.

Growing up my grandmothers and mother made squash puree, turnip puree, creamed onions and mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. After the lovely soup, I figure two will do. First, I like a little something green on the plate. Broccoli Puree is one of my favorites. You can make it a day ahead which is a real bonus. Then again, I love roasted vegetables. Either Roasted Green Beans or Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Pearl Onions would be a great choice for your Thanksgiving celebration. And second, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes! My Decadent Cheesy Potatoes are rich and over the top wonderful. An added plus, you can make them ahead! I’ll be bringing two big pans of these spuds to the three-family extravaganza I’m attending this year. (It’s the first time in a long time that I have not been hosting Thanksgiving.) Another good choice are my version of my mom’s fabulous Mashed Potatoes.

For a sweet finish!
My Pumpkin Cheesecake takes traditional pumpkin pie up to the stratosphere and it a definite a family favorite. If you have a big crowd coming, Apple Crisp with Cranberry Coulis is a great choice. Just double or triple the recipe and use a bigger dish. Otherwise, you might like to bake another favorite. Or make some whoopies with my Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.

The Game Plan

Now!
If you haven’t done it yet, order the turkey!

Saturday morning before Thanksgiving:
Finalize your menu, gather your recipes and make your shopping list. Check it twice.
Pick up any and all nonperishable items and everything with a long expiration date at the supermarket and farm stand.

Sunday:
If you don’t already have a batch in the freezer, roast and puree the vegetables for the butternut squash soup (steps 1-3). Cool and store the puree in the freezer until Thursday morning.

Monday:
Find 20 minutes or so to make the Cranberry Sauce and the Cranberry Coulis if you plan to serve Apple Crisp.

Tuesday:
Set the table and pull out your serving dishes.

Wednesday:
It’s Thanksgiving Eve, time to move into high gear. Check and double check your lists and head to the store. Pick up the fresh turkey, perishables, flowers and anything you forgot on Saturday.

Make your stuffing and store it in the refrigerator.

If you are serving Broccoli Puree, make it and store in the refrigerator. If you’re making beans or Brussels sprouts, clean and prep them but don’t roast them yet. Toast the walnuts.

If you are serving Decadent Cheesy Potatoes, prepare them and store in the refrigerator. If you are going with mashed potatoes, wash and dry the potatoes.

Cheesecake is best made the day before you plan to serve. If you plan to serve Pumpkin Cheesecake, bake it, cool to room temperature, cover and store in the refrigerator. Same goes for the whoopie pies, make them on Wednesday if they are on your menu/

Turkey Day:
First thing in the morning, bake the apple crisp. With sweet and spicy apples bubbling in the oven, the house will smell like Thanksgiving.

Don’t forget to remove the squash puree from the freezer. Put it in a large soup pot to thaw with more chicken broth.

If you haven’t already, check your recipes and based on your dinner hour, make a list of start times for each and every dish.

About a half hour before it’s time to shove the turkey into the oven, remove it from the refrigerator. Do not forget to remove the neck and bag of giblets from the turkey’s cavity. Stuff, tie and truss the bird.

While the turkey roasts, make broth for the gravy with the turkey neck and giblets.

As dinnertime approaches, roast the beans or Brussels sprouts or warm the broccoli in the oven. Bake the Decadent Cheesy Potatoes until hot and bubbly or put the potatoes on to boil and smash. Finish making the soup.

When the turkey has finished roasting, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about thirty minutes before carving. Make the giblet gravy.

Carve the turkey, transfer the stuffing to a serving bowl and cover both to keep warm. Keep the other side dishes warm. Follow my Nana Nye’s example and put the apple crisp in the oven which is off but still warm.

Ladle the soup and dinner is served! Relax and enjoy.

Bon appétit and Happy Thanksgiving!

For a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog Click Here!!

What are you cooking for Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus!  © Susan W. Nye, 2014

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