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Inspiring Thanksgiving Recipes

By HannahWednesday 19th November 2014

Thanksgiving decorations

Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays in America, and is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November each year, which means this year it falls on November 27th. This annual tradition is held to give thanks for a bountiful harvest season and the preceding year, similar to the religious traditions of harvest festivals celebrated in the UK.

Learn About Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dates back to the late 15th century when European settlers celebrated arriving safely after a long voyage across the Atlantic. In Canada thanksgiving, or Jour de l'Action de grâce, as it is known for French Canadians, is celebrated a month earlier on the second Monday in October. There are a number of fun traditions surrounding the holiday, including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade through New York, and the President of the United States ‘pardoning’ a turkey, granting it a long and happy life to wander carefree for the rest of its days. But here at Royal Caribbean, our favourite part of the celebrations has got to be all the amazing food that’s served! So, if you’re thinking of throwing a Thanksgiving dinner for friends and family, take a look at some of our delicious recipes to get you inspired. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Roast Turkey

It goes without saying, really, that the pièce de résistance is the roast turkey. Cooking this bird to perfection is really quite simple, it just takes a fair bit of time, due to its size. Start off by preheating your oven to about 230°C/450°F, whilst you prepare the turkey, which should be at room temperature. Remove any giblets and clean the inside of the bird, if the butcher hasn’t already done so, and then fill with the stuffing of your choice – we think a mixture of sage, onion, garlic and thyme works really well. Next, it’s time to baste the bird by smothering plenty of butter all over the skin; this will help turn it that beautiful golden-brown colour, and keep the meat from drying out. Place your turkey in a roasting dish with a solid base, cover the breast with aluminium foil and transfer it directly to the hot oven. Cook the turkey for between 30-40 minutes at this high temperature, before dropping it down to about 180°C/350°F for the remainder of cooking time, removing the foil about half an hour from the end. As a general rule, you can follow these guide lines for cooking your turkey:
  • allow 45 minutes per kg plus 20 minutes for a turkey under 4.5kg
  • allow 40 minutes per kg for a turkey that's between 4.5kg and 6.5kg
  • allow 35 minutes per kg for a turkey of more than 6.5kg
Ideally, you will have a thermometer to double check the temperature of the meat all the way through, to ensure it’s cooked. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat, around the thigh, and what you’re looking for is a constant reading of 70°C for a duration of two minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, make sure the juices all run clear, and the meat isn’t pink when you cut through it. After taking the turkey out of the oven, allow it to rest for about half an hour before carving it up. And to serve, we’ve also got some great ideas for delicious side dishes to complement the turkey meat – some people may even think they steal the show!

Mashed Potato

Everyone has a preference when it comes to their potato accompaniments. Personally, this time we’re going for mashed potato, and saving the roasties for Christmas! Now, when it comes to perfect mash, the secret lies in the potato you choose; ideally, go for a starchier variety as they break down better and turn into a rich, creamy mash. Our recommendation is the Russet. Making mash is really simple. Start by peeling the potatoes and rinsing in cold water to remove any excess starch. Chuck them in a big saucepan and cover with cold water by about 2”, before bringing them to the boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes or so, until they’re soft and falling apart. Drain the potatoes in a colander, and return to the pan and get mashing. Next, simply add warm, melted butter and milk or cream – adding these ingredients warm prevents the starch molecules in the potatoes from tightening up, which often leads to stiff, lumpy mash. Season your mash to taste with freshly ground salt and pepper, add any extras such as spring onions or cheese, and serve immediately.

Veggies

When it comes to vegetables, there is just so much choice, so we’re going to leave this up to you, and instead just offer a little inspiration. Whether you’re thinking more along the lines of a couple of classic side dishes, or trying something new and experimenting with flavours, the possibilities are endless. In the States, an old favourite is serving up a dish of green bean casserole, with mushroom cream sauce, shallots and a breadcrumb crust. Roasted carrots also go down particularly well, especially if you throw a little rosemary into the pan, adding another dimension to their sweet, earthy flavour. For something a little different, look to the squash family. Pumpkin Pie is traditionally served as dessert at Thanksgiving, but why not try pumpkin in a savoury recipe as a side dish. A popular choice, which often confuses us Brits, is yams topped with marshmallows. Yams are a close cousin to sweet potatoes, and when mashed with marshmallows melted on top, they make a delicious side dish that may surprise you! Plus, your kids are bound to love the texture of the mashed yams with the charred gooey marshmallows, making it a welcome addition to any family dinner. Alternatively, acorn squash is absolutely delicious, especially when stuffed with quinoa and herbs, making it extra healthy too!

Cranberry Sauce

As far as we’re concerned, it wouldn’t be a proper Thanksgiving dinner without a generous dollop of cranberry sauce on the side. True, it can often get overlooked, but not when you follow our recipe to add a festive, spicy kick! This recipe is super easy – a one-pot-wonder, if you like. In a medium-sized saucepan, simply add about 600g of cranberries, 3 tablespoons of agave syrup, the zest and juice of one orange, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, half a teaspoon of ground ginger, a quarter of a teaspoon of ground cloves, and a couple of grinds of black pepper. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally as the cranberries pop and until all the liquid has been absorbed. You’re aiming for a thick, chunky texture. When this is achieved, remove from the heat, and allow to cool, before refrigerating until needed. You can serve the cranberry sauce either warm or cold, however you prefer it, really. And get ready for the all the noises of greedy delight and compliments from your guests round the table!

What will be on your table?

Share with us your favourite dish or Thanksgiving recipe tip in the comments below. Alternatively, why not tell us what you’re thankful for this year? Happy Thanksgiving!

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