Whenever my mom and I host Thanksgiving, Mom will call me at the beginning of November to establish a game plan. The conversation is always the same:
Mom: I cannot believe Thanksgiving is three weeks away.
Me: I know. I haven’t even started thinking about Christmas gifts yet.
Mom: Let’s not think about Christmas. What should we serve for Thanksgiving this year?
Me: How about trying something new? I was thinking about [insert something nontraditional].
Mom: That sounds great, but you know everyone will want a turkey. Should we do both?
Me: No, that would be so much food, and they wouldn’t really go together. You’re right. Let’s stick to the usual. We can experiment at Christmas.
Jump with me for a fool-proof Thanksgiving dinner plan.
Pear, hazelnut, and dark chocolate mini cakes. Mushroom and thyme dressing.
Our family is super traditional when it comes to the Thanksgiving menu. I think this is because no one has had ‘holiday food’ since Christmas, so we are dying to have it all at once. We stuff ourselves with 20 different dishes that have made it onto the Thanksgiving table since the ’80s. By the time Christmas rolls around, we’ve finally downed the last of the leftovers, and everyone is so sick of holiday food that they are ready to experiment. But, for now, it’s time to produce some stellar holiday classics. Here is a step-by-step plan to throw your own classically delicious Thanksgiving feast at home.
The spread. Sweet potato gratin with rosemary and garlic.
Roast turkey with gravy
Orange and pecan cranberry sauce
Bacon-wrapped green beans
Sweet potato gratin
Mushroom & thyme dressing
Pear, hazelnut, and dark chocolate mini cakes
Citrus and pecan cranberry sauce. Bacon-wrapped green beans.
Make cranberry sauce
Butcher and marinate turkey
Wrap green beans
Slice sweet potatoes for gratin
Cube bread and slice mushrooms for dressing
Bake mini cakes
Tidy the house and set the table
9 a.m. Bake dressing and sweet potatoes
10:15 Roast turkey and green beans.
12:00 Make gravy
12:15 Warm all the fixin’s in a low oven.
1:00 Lunch is served
3:00 Food coma
Click here to download a pdf of all the recipes. (Scaled to feed 6-8 people.)
If cooking your own turkey completely stresses you out, don’t do it! Carol has tracked down places to pre-order your turkey, cooked or not.
Buy the chocolate sauce instead of making it.
Ask your guests to contribute a dish. Just make sure to ask them what they are bringing so you do not end up with 5 casserole dishes full of sweet potatoes.
SideDish is a food-related discussion among editors at D Magazine about the Dallas-Fort Worth dining scene -- everything from good meals to bad service, kitchen gossip to restaurant news, chefs' secrets to culinary trends. Bon appetit.