Our US friends tell us that, for meat eaters, the big bird is non-negotiable on the Thanksgiving table. We’ve chosen a recipe from Jamie Oliver — yes, we know he’s a Brit, but we don’t think you’ll find a more tasty and succulent option.
• 1 sprig fresh sage, leaves picked
• 12 strips higher-welfare pancetta or thinly sliced streaky bacon
• 1 bulb garlic, broken into cloves
• 4 medium red onions, peeled
• 2 sticks celery, trimmed and chopped
• 1 big handful breadcrumbs
• 1 handful dried apricots
• 300g minced meat of your choice – Jamie uses pork
• 1 lemon, zest of
• 1 pinch grated nutmeg
• 1 large free-range egg
• Sea salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 12 small sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus a few extra
• 4-4.5kg turkey, at room temperature
• 2 carrots, peeled
• 1 large orange
• Olive oil
• 2tbsp plain flour
• 1.1 litre organic chicken or vegetable stock
• Preheat the oven to maximum. Heat a saucepan until medium hot and add a splash of olive oil, the sage leaves and six of the pancetta or bacon strips. Peel and chop two garlic cloves and one onion. Add the garlic, celery and onion to the saucepan and fry everything gently until soft and golden brown. Take the pan off the heat, add the breadcrumbs and, while the mix is cooling down, chop the apricots roughly and stir them in. When the stuffing has cooled down, add the meat, lemon zest, nutmeg, egg and lots of salt and pepper, and mix everything together well.
• Slice the remaining strips of pancetta or bacon in half and slice one peeled garlic clove into thin slivers. Place a rosemary sprig and a garlic sliver on one end of a halved strip of pancetta and roll it up tightly. Repeat with the other pieces of pancetta until you have 12 little rolls. Stab the thighs and drumsticks of the turkey in six places on each side. Push a little pancetta roll into each hole until it just peeps out. This’ll give your turkey thighs a fantastic flavour and will keep them moist while they cook.
• Chop the remaining onions in half and slice the carrots thickly. Give your turkey a good wipe, inside and out, with kitchen paper, and place it on a board, with the neck end towards you. Find the edge of the skin that’s covering the turkey’s breast and gently peel it back. Work your fingers and then your hand under the skin, freeing it from the meat. If you’re careful you should be able to pull all the skin away from the meat, keeping it attached at the sides. Go slowly and try not to make any holes! Lift the loose skin at the neck end and spoon the stuffing between the skin and the breast, tucking the flap of skin underneath to stop anything leaking out. Pop the orange in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm it up and stuff it into the cavity. Weigh the stuffed turkey and calculate the cooking time (about 20 minutes per 500g).
• Place the bird on a large roasting tray, rub it all over with olive oil and season well. Surround with the chopped carrots, onions, remaining garlic, cover with tinfoil and place in the preheated oven. Turn the heat down right away to 180°C/350°F/gas 4, and roast for the calculated time, or until the juices run clear from the thigh if you pierce it with a knife or a skewer. Remove the tinfoil for the last 45 minutes to brown the bird. Carefully lift the turkey out of the tray and rest on a board covered loosely with foil for at least one hour, preferably two hours for bigger birds. When the resting time’s nearly up, skim the surface fat from the roasting tray and add the flour and stock. Place the tray on the hob and bring to the boil on a high heat. When the gravy starts to thicken, strain it into a bowl. Carve your turkey, serve with the gravy and dig in!
SAVOURY PUMPKIN PIE
Another must-have from one of America’s sweethearts, Racheal Ray.
• Flour, for dusting
• 1 store-bought pie crust
• 1 cup grated extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese
• 2 cups canned pumpkin puree
• 3 eggs, beaten
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• A few grates of whole nutmeg (about 1/8 teaspoon)
• 2 pinches salt
• 1tsp ground cinnamon
• A pinch of ground cloves
• 1 1/2tsp ancho chili powder
• 1/4 cup light brown sugar
• For garnish, sweet or sweet-and-spicy candied pecans, chopped
• Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
• Lightly flour a work surface. Unroll the pie dough and scatter grated cheese over it. Lightly flour a rolling pin, then roll the cheese into the dough. Line a nine-inch pie plate or tin with the dough, cheese-side down. Using your fingers, crimp the pie dough overhang along the edge of the pie plate in a decorative scalloped fashion.
• For the filling, combine the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl using a whisk. Pour the filling into the prepared pie plate and spread out evenly. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the centre is clean when removed. Remove the pie and cool to room temperature.
• Slice and serve garnished with candied chopped pecans.
SWEET POTATO GRATIN
This one is courtesy of one of Bahrain’s favourite celeb foodies, Wolfgang Puck, from his book Adventures in the Kitchen.
• 4tbsp unsalted butter
• 2.2kg Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, quartered, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 2-3.5kg sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into thinly sliced rounds
• 1/2tsp salt
• 1/2tsp cinnamon
• 1/4tsp freshly ground white pepper
• Freshly grated nutmeg
• 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk
• 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
• Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a 10-inch skillet, melt two tablespoons of butter. Over medium-high heat, sauté the apples until slightly caramelised, about six to eight minutes.
• Place the potatoes in a medium bowl and season with salt, cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg. Pour over the cream and mix well.
• Butter a 10-inch gratin dish and layer with half the potatoes, one overlapping the other. Cover with the apples and arrange the remaining potatoes on top. Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake for one hour, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the oven.
• Increase the oven temperature to 500°F. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the potatoes and dot with the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Return to the oven to brown, watching carefully to prevent burning.
• Remove from oven and serve immediately.