Someone asked for some ideas for an Indian-inspired Thanksgiving so, I humbly offer you five of my own:
1) Tandoori Chicken or Turkey
My recipe would be enough for a whole chicken but you would probably want to double or perhaps triple it for a turkey. In this month’s Bon Appetit, there is a recipe for Tandoori Turkey; they recommend marinating the turkey in an oven-roasting bag, then on the big day, cooking it in the bag for the bulk of the cooking time. When there’s 30 minutes to go, rip open the bag and allow the top to brown. I might try this method, with my tandoori marinade recipe though. It seems a tad easier than theirs!
2) Butternut squash, lentil and coconut stew
This soup is a good starter and especially good if you’re a vegetarian or vegan; beautiful autumnal colours, lots of bright flavour. Plus, it fills up your tummy, so you’re less likely to eat that third or fourth (ahem) slice of pie.
3) Roasted Root Jumble with Feta Cheese
This one is so easy, and such a crowd-pleaser. Pick whatever root vegetables you love, toss them in oil and spices, roast until salivatingly caramelized. Top with salty feta cheese. Boomski.
4) Mujadara: Lebanese Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions
While rice may not be a standard addition at the Thanksgiving table, you aren’t going to get any complaints if you serve this one. We went to a Persian Thanksgiving last year, and there were not one, not two, but three different kinds of pilafs on the table. Colour this girl, very VERY happy. This Lebanese pilaf is packed with flavour, thanks to a healthy dose of black peppercorns and lots of caramelized onions. You could add some nuts and even some candied orange peel to make it a little more holiday-friendly.
5) The piece de resistance: My stuffing muffins!
This one requires a red carpet, trumpets, court jesters, the whole 9. My mum’s stuffing is one of the things I miss the most in the world. Originally, she came up with it when she was making roast chicken, slathering our own version of harissa, which we call meet mersang, all over the bird, then stuffing it with a bread-bacon-mint-raisin mixture. These days, I’m realising that it’s probably safer not to stuff the bird, but holy crow, this stuffing has written its name on my heart. I adapted the recipe a bit and turned them into muffins, so that there’s a good crispy-to-tender ratio in every bite. Mum would also put the whole lot in a loaf pan, and bake it, then cut into slices before serving. Yum. The recipe recently caught the attention of Oprah’s magazine, O! Check it out!