Magazine article Sunset

A Really American Thanksgiving

Magazine article Sunset

A Really American Thanksgiving

Article excerpt

A really American Thanksgiving Making good use of the produce and game they found in the New World, the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving with a menu based on indigenous ingredients. Americans still use this menu as the basis for their own holiday meals. This year we expand on nearly 370 years of tradition by including a broader range of native ingredients, from both North and South America.

These foods, mainstays of dishes to go with the turkey (cook it the way your family likes best), include corn, cranberries with chilies, green beans and jicama, sunflower seed, quinoa with wild rice, and two kinds of potatoes.

For dessert, rich ice cream parfaits blend native flavors of pumpkin or vanilla with chocolate, caramel, or caramelized goat's milk. They're eaten with sugar-dusted pine nut cookies. A prickly pear fruit punch is served as an aperitif or throughout the meal.

Native Thanksgiving for 12

Green Bean and Jicama Salad Sunflowr Flatbread Roast Turkey Giblet Gravy Wild Rice and Quinoa Dressing Roasted Sweet and White Potatoes Scorched Corn Pudding Cranberry Chili Relish Pumpkin or Vanilla Ice Cream Parfaits Pine Nut Cookies Prickly Pear Punch

If you only have one oven, you'll need to juggle a bit to have all foods ready to serve at once. To help, most dishes have steps that can be done 1 to 2 days ahead. On Thanksgiving, bake the bread and partially bake the potatoes early in the morning. When the turkey comes from the oven (buy a 12-to 14-lb. bird, larger if you want leftovers), drape it with foil and keep it in a warm place for 30 minutes to 1 hour; juices will have time to settle into the meat while you make the gravy.

Meanwhile, bake the dressing and corn pudding (which were assembled ahead), and finish baking the potatoes. If you want the bread warm, reheat it for just a few minutes in the oven.

The ice cream parfaits come straight from the freezer, and the made-ahead cookies still taste fresh 2 days after baking.

Green Bean and Jicama Salad

3/4 pound green beans, ends and strings removed 1 pound jicama, peeled and rinsed 6 tablespoons white wine vinegar 1/3 cup olive oil or salad oil 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon dry oregano leaves 2/3 cup thinly slivered red onion Salt and pepper Watercress springs, rinsed and crisped

Rinse beans and cut into julienne strips with a food processor, French bean cutter (the grate found on the end of many vegetable peelers), or a knife. Bring about 2 quarts water to boiling in a 3- to 4-quart pan on high heat. Immerse beans in water and cook, uncovered, just until tender-crisp to bite, about 1 minute. Drain and at once immerse beans in ice water. When cool, drain.

Meanwhile, cut jicama into very thin matchstick-size strips.

In a small bowl or jar, mix 5 tablespoons of the vinegar, oil, mustard, and oregano. If made ahead, wrap beans and jicama airtight separately and cover dressing. Chill vegetables and dressing up to 2 days. Mix onion, remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1-1/2 cups cold water; let stand at least 20 minutes or up until next day. Drain onions and mix with beans, jicama, and dressing; add salt and pepper to taste. Mound in a serving bowl; if made ahead, cover and chill up to 2 hours. Garnish with watercress. Makes 12 servings.

Per serving: 80 cal.; 1 g protein; 6.1 fat; 6 g carbo.; 41 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Sunflower Flatbread

1-1/2 pounds thawed frozen white bread dough 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese or freshly grated parmesan cheese 1/2 cup packed coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (coriander) 1/4 cup salted toasted sunflower seed Coarse salt

Cut dough into 6 equal pieces. On a lightly floured board, roll each piece into a 7-to 8-inch round. Lightly coat 3 baking sheets, 12- by 15-inch size, with some of the olive oil. Place 2 rounds of dough well apart on each pan, then brush dough with remaining oil. …

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