All photos/art by Heath Robbins
For most cooks, there’s no more challenging, high-stakes meal than Thanksgiving dinner. The sheer volume of food is daunting enough, with multiple mandatory side dishes, a giant bird that’s inherently difficult to cook, and pastry for dessert. Then there’s the challenge of reproducing the cherished family favorites so that they taste exactly as remembered from childhood, back when Grandma was at the stove … It’s enough to leave a cook feeling decidedly ungrateful.
So this year, we decided to make a fresh start. What if we took all those Thanksgiving standards and gave them a fresh twist: the green bean casserole reimagined as an Asian stir-fry with crisp shallots, the glazed sweet potatoes flavored with chai spices, the dressing enriched with apples and pancetta? We kept the methods simple and the ingredients lists reasonably short. We created a simple pumpkin ice-cream pie that even a non-baker can love. As for the turkey, we used a dry brining technique that’s simpler and more effective than the wet-brine method we’ve always loved. It’s practically foolproof.
So try something new this year, whether it’s a single recipe or all of them. The ease and novelty of this menu may well recharge your Thanksgiving batteries, and that’s something everyone can be grateful for.