4 Thanksgiving Recipes You Need At Your Dinner Party

 Photo by Gabriel Cabrera

Photo by Gabriel Cabrera

Thanksgiving is all about embracing family, friends and traditions. (Grandma’s mashed potatoes! Aunt Sally’s cranberry sauce!) But want to know our not-so-secret secret? It’s even more fun to put your personal stamp on the day by reimagining the classics.

Whether you’re hosting a sit-down Thanksgiving or a Friendsgiving buffet this year, these recipes give our favorite dishes a modern twist. On the menu: a boozy cheese board (yes, it’s a thing), an unexpected salad, a next-level turkey and ombré pears (also a thing). Developed exclusively for west elm by food stylist Gabriel Cabrera, this spread is a great play on the quintessential Thanksgiving—and it’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the stomach.

Find the full recipes below, and happy feasting!

 Photo by  Gabriel Cabrera

Drunken Cheese & Pickled Crudites Platter

Serves 4-6

  • For the pickled crudites:
    1 bunch radishes, trimmed, washed
    1 handful green beans, trimmed
    1 small head of romanesco broccoli
    1 shallot, trimmed
    1 tsp juniper berries
    ½ cup apple cider vinegar
    1 cup water
    2 tsp sea salt
    2 tsp sugar
    1 garlic clove crushed
    1 tsp black peppercorns
    1 bay leaf

For the cheese and crackers

  • A selection of “boozy”cheeses (cheese infused with some spirit). A few of them can be: Cahills Whiskey Cheese, Kerrygold Aged Cheddar with Irish Whiskey, red wine cheddar, Port wine derby cheese, etc.
    Seedy crackers and/or flatbread

It is best to pickle the veggies overnight but if you’re low on time, then a couple hours will do.

1. Cut all the veggies into chunks, no need to be super fancy.

2. Add all the veggies plus the rest of the ingredients into a clean glass jar with a lid, make sure all veggies are covered in liquid, if needed, add a touch more vinegar and water to cover. Taste the liquid and make sure it’s not too watered down (it should be vinegar-y and slightly salty). Let the veggies pickle overnight or for at least 2 hours.

To make the board, prepare your cheese and place them in a board with the crackers, add some of the pickled veggies and garnish with anything else you like such as fresh herbs, olives, or dried fruits

 Photo by  Gabriel Cabrera

All The Tops Salad

Serves 4

For the salad

  • 2 acorn squash
    2 carrot top bunches (note: if you go the market and they already cut them off, ask if they have them! Most times they use them on something else or compost them).
    2 beet top bunches (same as above)
    Try to choose celery with lots of leafy bits!
    1 bunch of cilantro

For the dressing

  • ½ cup roasted peanuts (unsalted)
    2 toasted chile de arbol peppers (toast for 5 min on a dry pan) OR sub for 1/2 chipotle in adobo pepper
    3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
    1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    1 lime, juiced
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 345F

2. Trim and seed the delicata squash (no need to peel!) and cut in half lengthwise. Then cut in slices (so you have half moon-ish shapes). Drizzle some olive oil on them and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30-45 min until they look amber/dark brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.

3. Wash all the greens. Rough chop the carrot tops, if the beet greens are huge, then also rough chop but I like having them as is for contrast. Rough chop the cilantro (use as much as the stem as possible). Toss all the greens with the room temp cooked delicata squash to mix them up.

To make the dressing, place all the ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and pulse a few times, add a generous drizzle of olive oil and pulse again, taste for seasoning and adjust. The consistency should be chunky with loose oil (don’t process too much or you’ll have peanut butter).

To serve, place the salad in a large bowl with the dressing on the side. People can add as much dressing as they want (I find some people find peanuts too intense so I let them do it themselves).


 Photo by  Gabriel Cabrera

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

This sauce has shiso leaves in it. They add a clove-y, spicy flavor that goes really well with the miso glazed turkey recipe.

This cranberry sauce is more on the sour side of things to cut through the other rich flavor. Feel free to add extra sweetener.

3 cups frozen cranberries
½ cup orange juice
2 tsp fresh orange zest
3-4 fresh shiso leaves (if you cannot find fresh shiso sub for a couple pods of star anise)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 clove
2 tbsp brown sugar
Pinch of salt

Maple + Miso Glazed Turkey

This recipe makes a whole roasted turkey on a bed of roasted leeks, brussel sprouts, and ombré pears.

Turkey

  • 1 whole turkey, thawed or fresh. NOTE: you can also use a brined turkey which add extra flavour (highly recommended). For this recipe we used a 12 ish pound turkey.
    3 lemons
    1 large fresh bouquet garni (fresh thyme, parsley, bay leaf, sage, rosemary)
    2 butter sticks (you can use salted), soften at room temp
    ⅓ cup miso paste (use Shiromiso for a subtle flavour, Genmai for a stronger one)
    ¼ cup dark maple syrup
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tbsp smoked paprika
    1 tbsp dry thyme
    Salt and pepper to taste
    2 cups turkey or chicken broth

1. Place the turkey in a roasting pan and preheat the oven to 425F

2. Using a blender or spatula mix the butter, miso paste, maple syrup, paprika, thyme, and season with pepper. Do not add salt yet! The miso paste is quite salty, taste a bit of the butter and make sure is salty enough, if needed add an extra touch of salt. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.

3. Rub the turkey skin with the miso butter paste making sure to get in all the spots, save a bit for the end so you can add it just before serving (so it’s nice and glisten-y)

4. Cut the lemon in quarters and stick it inside the turkey along with the bouquet garni.

5. Pour the broth at the bottom of the roasting tray and place in the oven and drop the temperature to 350F. Roast for 2.5 to 3 hours (for a 12 ish pound turkey, but roasting time may vary depending on size) or until deepest part the breast, in and outer thigh registers 165F. Note: you’ll want to go in and check the skin, this recipe makes the skin crispy and extra dark, but, to be safe if you think it’s getting too dark too soon, place some aluminum foil on top to keep it from browning too much.

6. Once it’s done let it rest for 20 or so minutes before carving. Make sure to add the extra butter on top to make it nice and shiny.

Leeks and Brussel Sprouts:

  • 2 full leeks, trimmed, chopped
    2 lbs Brussel sprouts, trimmed, sliced
    ½ cup orange juice
    Olive oil
    Salt and pepper

1. Place the leeks and sprouts on a large frying pan with oil over high heat. Let them sear and brown without touching for 5-7 minutes, toss and repeat. Add orange juice and season with salt and pepper, toss and finish in the oven roasting for 15 minutes at 400F.

Ombré Pears

This sweet component is an upgrade on the regular apple sauce.

  • 4-5 small pears, almost ripe (don’t buy them super ripe or they’ll fall apart)
    4 cups water
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 cinnamon stick
    2 cloves
    ½ cup red wine

1. Peel the pears and leave the stem on, don’t worry about cutting them and coring them. Grab a large pot, place the water, sugar, cinnamon and clove and submerge the peeled pears in the liquid (use a small plate on top to keep them from floating) bring to a slow simmer and poach for 15-20 minutes until they start to soften. Once soft remove from the liquid.

2. Add the red wine to the liquid and reduce by half. Remove reduced liquid from the heat. Now place the poached pears in the reduced wine making sure they stand up and the liquid doesn’t go pass half the pears. Let it chill in there for 1 hour and you’ll see the ombré effect. Heat up just before serving.

Assemble:

To assemble this feast, take a large platter that will fit the turkey . Place the cooked turkey on it. Then fill the rest of the plate with the leeks, brussel sprouts, and ombré pears. Use fresh bay leaves as garnish.

When serving, carve some meat, grab half a pear, some veggies, and you’re good!

 Photo by  Gabriel Cabrera