A Globally-Inspired Thanksgiving Menu Guide
This year, inspired by those international Friendsgivings, we created a menu that combines the global flavors we love with uniquely American traditions. Whether you’re celebrating with family or friends this year, and especially if you’re a first time host, this menu and guide is for you. Most of the recipes we’re featuring make enough for 8 to 10 people.
As a reminder, we’re having:
Green Bean Casserole with Umami Sauce Starter
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Berbere
Yeast Rolls with Zahtar
6 Days to Thanksgiving
You’ve agreed to host. Your guest list is set. Now is a good time to make sure you’ve got everything you need for the big day. Check to make sure you have all the necessary equipment: something to roast the turkey on, serving and baking dishes, linens, glasses, and—listen to me—a functional meat thermometer. I once had to make a panicked overseas phone call to my mother when the beautifully browned turkey I’d cut open to serve my hungry guests was raw inside. It was my (non-American) guests’ first Thanksgiving and, years later, it’s what they remember. Don’t be like me.
5 Days to Thanksgiving
Make an initial shopping trip now before your compatriots descend upon the grocery store like locusts in a Biblical plague, leaving empty shelves and traumatized teenaged cashiers in their wake. Buy the drinks. Definitely buy the butter. Do not underestimate the amount of butter you’re going to need. It’s more than you think. Make the cranberry sauce and freeze it. Make stock, and buy extra just in case (see: butter). Check this chart to see how early you need to start defrosting your turkey.
4 Days to Thanksgiving
Do you have enough paper towels? Do your guests know what they’re bringing? Should you make your own playlist or just find one on Spotify? How’s your fridge looking? Why do people say ‘tuna fish’ but not ‘beef mammal’? These are the questions you’ll ask yourself at 2:00 AM five days before Thanksgiving.
3 Days to Thanksgiving
You could take a walk on the wild side and take the day off, or you could make the Madras-Curry pie crust and freeze it. The choice is yours. You should make a list of the perishable grocery items you’re going to buy tomorrow, because it’s going to be a little crazy at the grocery store come Tuesday evening. Some people think it’s a good idea to make an hour-by-hour cooking schedule but that’s just, like, their opinion, man (it’s actually a pretty good idea).
2 Days to Thanksgiving
Go get those perishables! Double check that you have everything on your list. Did you buy enough butter? You could skip down a step here, and start prepping the little stuff now if you’re really organized. Print the recipes you’re using, if you haven’t already. Defrost your pie crust and set out the bread for stuffing, if you’re using it.
1 Day to Thanksgiving
Take your cranberry sauce out of the freezer and allow to thaw overnight, into the day of Thanksgiving.
Yeast Rolls with Zahtar: Bake for tomorrow.
Green Bean Casserole with Umami Sauce Starter: Trim your beans and thinly slice two large yellow onions.
Roasted Turkey with Porcini Rub: Peel and chop 2 carrots and pieces of celery into two-inch pieces. Peel 12-14 pearl onions. These will be your aromatics for the turkey tomorrow.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Berbere: Scrub well and leave them out overnight
Dessert: Bake your pie.
First thing’s first, get that bird out of the fridge. It needs to sit for about an hour at room temperature before it goes into the oven. Then have some breakfast and a big cup of coffee, because you’re going to need it.
Sweet Potatoes: Prep and assemble your Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Berbere, but don’t bake just yet.
Turkey: Depending on when you plan to eat, it’s time to get the turkey ready and into the oven to cook. Rinse the cavity and the outside skin thoroughly. Pat dry, place in roasting pan on top of the vegetables, and follow instructions for creating our Porcini Mushroom Rub. Place one oven rack in the center of your oven and another rack in the lowest position. Your turkey will cook on the lower rack while the other stuff cooks on the middle rack. Bake at 425 degrees, for 15 minutes per pound until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breast registers 165 degrees.
Assemble your Green Bean Casserole with Umami Sauce Starter. Once your turkey is just finished, remove from the oven and tent with foil. The sweet potatoes can go into the oven at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350° and place green bean casserole into the oven for 30 minutes.
While green bean casserole cooks, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil on the stove. It’s time to cook the macaroni for your Romesco Mac and Cheese. Once pasta is cooked to al dente, strain, reserving 2 cups of pasta water. Follow recipe directions for assembly and, once green bean casserole is bubbly, remove and place Romesco Mac and Cheese into oven.
Make gravy for the turkey, pour into serving vessel and, once ready, place casseroles and rolls back into the oven at 300° until warmed through. Then it’s time to try and get everything on the table while still hot and eat