Thanksgiving is a time for seeing family, remembering what we are grateful for and sharing a wonderful Thanksgiving turkey dinner together.
Every family has their Thanksgiving traditions: Some prep the stuffing and cranberries while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Some gather around the flat screen for turkey day NFL Football. Some go to a special church service the evening before. But whatever you do, for the main meal, the turkey is the centerpiece.
Tradition is important, not least because it’s comfortable and easy on a holiday that’s meant to be relaxing. However, lots of cooks like to add a little interest to tradition. Consider changing things up a little this year with some international flavors on your Thanksgiving turkey, or even just the side dishes.
Here are four concepts (with links to recipes and menus!) for Italian, Mexican, Korean and Indian-inspired dishes sure to wow your family on this year’s Thanksgiving table.
You love to go for red sauce pastas and pizza on other holiday weekends — why not add Italian spice to your Thanksgiving turkey, too?
On the Food Network, Giada De Laurentiis makes her Thanksgiving Italian-style with ciabatta stuffing, studded with chestnuts and made with pancetta (Italian bacon). Pancetta is wonderful in lots of side dishes, from Brussels sprouts to broccoli.
And for dessert, try Kasper’s apple-rosemary tart with lemon sugar: “So much easier than apple pie and so much lighter, this tart will not be overkill after a celebration meal,” she writes.
Southern flavors are a natural fit with almost any Thanksgiving menu (gravy, anyone?) but take it a bit further south with Saveur’s wonderful Mexican-themed menu.
The popular cooking/travel magazine has great ideas for Mexican starters, like sopa de chile poblano (a mildly spiced chile soup), Brussels sprouts with chorizo (shown above) and tostadas de camarón seco (shrimp tostadas). To give the Thanksgiving turkey a Mexican twist, Saveur adds chiles de arbol, New Mexico chiles, cumin and cloves.
Korean marinades and barbecue glazes are some of the most intoxicating around the globe, with their wonderful blend of sweet, spicy and nutty flavors. Soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and green onion, as well as mirin (cooking wine) and ginger, are all common ingredients in the Korean pantry.
In “Thanksgiving with a Korean Twist,” Kay Chun shared some of her recipes with Real Simple for an American Thanksgiving with Korean spices. The centerpiece is a maple-glazed turkey, surrounded by chestnut fig stuffing, sesame green beans and persimmon tea with pine nuts.
Warm Indian spices are so perfect for fall. Anise, cardamom, cinnamon and cumin give a subtle heat and complexity to roasted vegetables and pureed soups.
In Bon Appetit, a complex yet approachable Thanksgiving menu featuring Indian spices includes a tandoori roasted turkey, seasoned with coriander, curry, peppercorns, cardamom, chili, cinnamon, cloves and fenugreek, among other things.
Side dishes take carrots for a spin with whole cumin seed, replace stuffing with a rice pilaf made with almonds and raisins, and conclude with dark chocolate souffles with cardamom creme anglaise (above).
For more ideas on how to make this year’s Thanksgiving turkey the best you’ve ever had, download our FREE Ultimate Turkey Guide (click the link below).
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