Thanksgiving Menu Plan

19 11 2009

I was in a bit of a funk earlier this week.  I wasn’t even excited about Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday.  But last night, Nick suggested we get our menu plan written down, and all of a sudden the excitement showed up.

The Menu:

Roast turkey
Turkey gravy (Remember the velouté? That’s pretty much it, with pan drippings added at the end.)
Wild mushroom bread pudding (Original recipe from this book, but now I wing it.)
Kick-Ass Cranberry Sauce (recipe below)
Sour cream and green onion mashed potatoes
Brussels sprouts with caramelized onions
Potimarron pie with (time willing) pine nut-sage brittle


So enthused was I that I took a long detour on the way home from work today to pick up a bag of overpriced cranberries.  Last year I was unable to find fresh cranberries, and made do with a jar of Ocean Spray, but I missed the homemade stuff.  My recipe, for cranberry-orange-ginger sauce, has been a hit since its inception five years ago, and since I get to have it this year, I figure you should, too, if you want.

Just right

This year I was low on granulated sugar, so I used cassonade, aka raw sugar.  I think it’s made the sauce especially delicious, but I know from experience that it is just fine made with white sugar.  I also saw the bottle of Cointreau looking lonely on the shelf, and thought it might want to join in the fun.  I think some people like having whole cranberries in their homemade sauce, but I can’t help popping them.  Cranberry sauce is like the culinary equivalent of bubble wrap.  Once those little red jewels heat up, all it takes is a bit of pressure from the wooden spoon, and pop!  It is so intensely satisfying, and I can’t stop myself.  Before I know it, all the lovely berries are gone, and I’m left with a gorgeous, garnet-red, jammy sauce.  Still tastes good, though.

Jewel-toned and super tasty!

Before I get to the cranberry recipe, I’d like to give you a few more ideas for your Thanksgiving spread this year.  I think any of these would be welcome additions to the holiday table.

Balsamic roasted beets with bacon and chestnuts
Potimarron-fingerling gratin with cider-braised leeks
Roast parsnips and apples
Cumin-maple sweet potatoes with spiced pecans
Date crumble bars
Brown butter ice cream (try it with apple pie!)

And now, the cranberry sauce…

Kick-Ass Cranberry Sauce

The first year I hosted my own Thanksgiving dinner, I had a grand total of three people at the table.  That didn’t stop me from going all out.  (Needless to say, we had leftovers for days.)  I wanted to give the cranberry sauce a bit of a kick, and I thought orange and ginger would do the job nicely.  They did – to quote my friend who shall remain nameless “Wow, Camille, you kicked my mom’s ass!” – and I’ve never since gone back to plain cranberry sauce.

1 bag (340 g) fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 cup / 250ml water
1 cup / 200g granulated sugar or cassonade (raw or turbinado sugar)
A pinch of salt
Juice and zest of 1 orange
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
A splash of Cointreau (optional)

  1. Bring the water and sugar to a boil. You don’t have to do this first, but I like to hear the cranberries pop when they hit the pan.
  2. Add the cranberries, orange juice and zest, salt, ginger, and Cointreau (if using).  Return to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer until thickened and a deep garnet color, about 25 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a serving vessel and cool.  Chill, covered in plastic wrap, until needed.  (The sauce will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge.)

Makes about a pint – more than enough to accompany a turkey dinner for eight.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.




8 responses

20 11 2009
hungry dog

Every single recipe you’ve listed sounds incredible. I love thanksgiving too!! And oned of the things I’m responsible for bringing is the cranberries. I’ve been looking around for something new, this just might be it! Everything from the bread pudding to the beets to the brown butter ice cream sounds phenomenal. Have fun cooking/eating/photographing!

24 11 2009

hungry dog – Thanks! I hope you do try the cranberry sauce, and love it as much as I do. Have a great Thanksgiving!

25 11 2009

Ha! Cranberry sauce is the bubble wrap of the culinary world–that should seriously be on a T-shirt! The menu sounds fantastic–enjoy the holiday, Camille:)

28 11 2009

pastrychef – Glad you liked that. You have a lovely holiday weekend, too!

28 11 2009
Talking (Leftover) Turkey « Croque-Camille

[…] made, and the flavor, like that of French chickens, is somehow just more.  The menu went off just as planned, except in lieu of the brittle I served the potimarron pie with bourbon-maple whipped […]

2 12 2009

I did miss the savory bread pudding at our table. But as it was a pilot for my real trial of recreating Thanksgiving dinner, in Germany, for New Year’s Eve, I think I will throw it in to impress the parents 🙂

9 12 2009

I missed your Thanksgiving recommendations while my computer was on the fritz! Thank goodness blog posts can live on in perpetuity, so I can still have a go at your cumin-maple sweet potatoes (brilliant, mixing cumin & maple!). And I hope time willed the production of brittle to accompany your pie.

9 12 2009

Lissa – I’ve never seen anyone who wasn’t impressed by it. 🙂 Good luck!

Trisha – Hooray for the eternal internet! 🙂 Please do try the potatoes – they’re fantastic. Alas, brittle was not in the cards this year, but bourbon-maple whipped cream was just fine as a substitute.

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