If you’re still casting about for ideas for the big meal, here are a few recipes that can be carried out with pantry staples, or items easy to find in a quick last-minute trip to the grocery store. They come from across the nation, bearing flavors from around the world.
Carolyn Ling of Carmel, Ind., is a second-generation physician whose grandfather came to the United States in 1882 from southern China.
Her mother developed this vaguely Cantonese turkey, the bird roasted beneath a rich glaze of soybean sauce, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and alliums galore, then served with roasted potatoes basted in the sauce and drippings of the bird.
Despite the length of the recipe, the turkey is remarkably easy to prepare. Ling says it bears “the umami of soy and turkey fat.”
- 1 12- to 14-pound turkey
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil (such as canola)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 3-inch knob ginger, peeled and minced
- 6 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
- 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup soybean sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand preferred)
- 1 2-inch strip dried orange or tangerine peel (or use 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice)
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup rice wine or sherry
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 4 cups water, divided
- 3-1/2 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Place turkey on rack in a roasting pan and let turkey to come to room temperature.
Swirl 3 tablespoons oil into a wok or Dutch oven and set over medium- high heat until it shimmers. Add garlic and ginger and stir until golden, about 3 minutes. Add scallions, leeks and celery and cook, stirring often, until vegetables soften and cook down, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add soybean sauce, orange peel, sugar, rice wine or sherry, white pepper, soy and oyster sauces, along with 2 cups water. Turn heat to high and boil, then lower heat and let simmer and thicken, 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool 20 minutes.
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Spoon 1 cup of sauce over turkey and 2 tablespoons into the cavity. Tuck wingtips under the bird and truss legs. Pour remaining sauce and 2 cups water into roasting pan and transfer to oven. Roast turkey, uncovered, 30 minutes.
Reduce heat to 325 degrees. Baste turkey with pan juices and tent with foil. Roast another 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours, basting every 30 minutes with pan juices, until an internal thermometer reaches 165 degrees. Replenish liquid in pan with hot water 1 cup at a time if needed.
Transfer turkey to cutting board or platter and let rest at least 30 minutes. Pour pan drippings into small pot, adding warm water or stock to equal 1 cup; keep warm.
Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Grease a large sheet pan with oil; arrange potatoes on pan, cut side down. Season with salt and black pepper. Roast, undisturbed, until potatoes are tender and cut sides are browned and crisped, 30 to 35 minutes.
Drizzle reserved drippings over potatoes, toss and return to the oven to finish cooking, 5 minutes longer. Serve with turkey. Serves 8 to 12.
Hmong Egg Roll Stuffing
Choua Der Moua and Nhia Vang Moua found asylum in the United States three decades ago as Hmong refugees from Laos, where November is the time of new rice, a cause for feasting.
By happy coincidence, Americans, too, celebrate the fall harvest. Thanksgiving is a way to be American and Hmong at once.
On their farm in Junction City, Wis., they raise and slaughter the turkey themselves. Then they rub it with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, and stuff it with bean-thread vermicelli and shredded carrots, cabbage and cilantro doused with fish sauce, as if it were an egg roll.
- 5-1/4 ounces vermicelli bean thread noodles
- 1-1/2 cups shredded green cabbage
- 1-1/2 cups shredded carrots
- 3/4 cup chopped green onion
- 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Soak noodles in hot water for 8 minutes. Drain well.
Cut noodles in half and place in a large bowl, with all remaining ingredients. Mix well by hand.
Stuff both the body cavity and the front cavity of a seasoned turkey, then roast. Yields enough for a 16-pound turkey.
Italian Spinach Stuffing
All four of Lisa Conte’s grandparents were born in Torella, a tiny town in the southern Italian region of Molise. Together they immigrated to New Jersey in the early 1900s.
A century later the Contes’ menu for their Thanksgiving dinner is still determined by that first generation — especially by Lisa’s paternal grandmother, Pietronilla (known as Nilla), whose cooking skills remain legendary well after her death.
Lisa’s mother, Carmela, 72, now does most of the cooking, including this fluffy spinach- mushroom stuffing that Nilla adapted from traditional Italian fillings for pasta and game birds.
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 cups chopped sweet onion
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 (10-ounce) boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
- 2 cups chopped white mushroom caps
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 pounds well-trimmed chicken or turkey gizzards
- 4 large eggs
- 1-1/2 cups grated Parmigiano- Reggiano
- 1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add onions and saute, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, spinach and mushrooms; stir until well mixed and heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
Finely mince chicken gizzards. Season all over with salt. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add gizzards; stir until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain any drippings, then stir gizzards into spinach mixture. Let cool to room temperature.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. When spinach mixture is cool, add eggs, cheese, breadcrumbs and parsley and stir until well combined. Transfer to a 3-quart casserole and bake, covered, 1 hour. Serves 12 to 14.
Nutritional information unavailable.