What are some of the best (classic) Thanksgiving dishes?

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What are some of the best (classic) Thanksgiving dishes?
July 19, 2023

The Heart of the Feast: Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without a beautifully browned, succulent roasted turkey at the center of the table. This classic dish is the centerpiece of the meal and is usually prepared by roasting in the oven for several hours. The key to a perfectly roasted turkey is to keep it moist and flavorful. Many cooks achieve this by brining the turkey before roasting or by basting it with its own juices during the cooking process. Aromatic herbs like sage, rosemary, and thyme are often used to enhance the flavor of the bird. Some people also like to stuff the turkey with a savory stuffing which makes it even more delicious.

Keeping Tradition Alive: Stuffing

Stuffing, or dressing as it's sometimes called, is another Thanksgiving classic. Typically made from bread cubes, chopped celery, onions, and a variety of herbs and spices, stuffing is either cooked inside the turkey or in a separate baking dish. There are countless variations to this dish, with some recipes including ingredients like sausage, apples, cranberries, or nuts. The end result is a savory, comforting side dish that pairs perfectly with turkey and cranberry sauce.

The Sweet and Savory: Cranberry Sauce

No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without cranberry sauce. This sweet and tangy condiment provides a delicious contrast to the rich, savory flavors of the other dishes. Cranberry sauce can be made from fresh or canned cranberries and is usually sweetened with sugar. Some versions also include orange zest or juice for an added layer of flavor. Whether you prefer it smooth or chunky, homemade or store-bought, cranberry sauce is an essential part of any Thanksgiving spread.

The Creamy Companion: Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a staple in many Thanksgiving meals. They're creamy, comforting, and the perfect vehicle for gravy. The key to great mashed potatoes is choosing the right type of potato and mashing them while they're still hot. Many people also like to add butter, cream, or sour cream for extra richness. For a twist on the classic, try adding roasted garlic, cheese, or fresh herbs.

Gravy: The Perfect Pour

What would turkey and mashed potatoes be without a generous pour of gravy? Gravy is a simple sauce made from the drippings of the roasted turkey, thickened with flour or cornstarch, and seasoned to perfection. It adds moisture and flavor to the turkey and mashed potatoes, tying the whole meal together. Making homemade gravy can be a bit of a process, but the end result is well worth the effort.

Essential Greens: Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is a classic Thanksgiving side dish that adds a much-needed dose of vegetables to the meal. It's made from green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and French fried onions, and baked until bubbly and golden. This dish is a favorite among kids and adults alike, and it's a great way to get everyone to eat their greens.

Adding Sweetness: Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potato casserole is a delicious mix of sweet and savory flavors. The base is made from mashed sweet potatoes, which are naturally sweet and creamy. The top is usually covered in a layer of toasted marshmallows or a crunchy pecan streusel. This dish is a great way to incorporate some sweetness into the meal without going overboard.

The Finale: Pumpkin Pie

No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without a slice of pumpkin pie. This classic dessert is made from a creamy pumpkin filling flavored with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, all baked in a buttery crust. It's traditionally served with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Not only is pumpkin pie delicious, but it's also a great way to end the meal on a sweet note.

Adding a Twist: Cornbread

While not as traditional as some other dishes, cornbread has become a staple in many Thanksgiving meals. Its sweet, hearty flavor pairs well with the rest of the meal, and it's a great alternative to rolls or biscuits. Plus, if you have leftovers, you can use it to make a delicious cornbread stuffing the next day.

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