From sweet potato and marshmallow pie to home-made cornbread, the Americans go all out for Thanksgiving, which is one of the biggest events in the US calendar. Whilst celebrations may look a little different this year, the menu is bound to stay the same.
Roast turkey, of course, takes centre stage, but the reason why remains uncertain: was there a turkey hunt before the first Thanksgiving dinner in 1621? Or perhaps the choice was inspired by Queen Elizabeth I, who ordered goose to be served in celebration after hearing that Spanish ships had sunk on their way to attack England (some claim early US settlers roasted turkeys instead). Others say that as wild turkeys are native to North America, they were a natural choice for early settlers.
With the celebration approaching, we've rounded up our favourite recipes, from classic roast turkey to cornbread and pumpkin pie.
A simple, delicious cornbread is always welcome at the table. These are best eaten while still warm or lightly grilled with butter. The addition of a little paprika makes them wonderfully smoky.
Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 25 minutes
- 90g melted butter
- 20g cold butter for frying
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 large sweetcorn, kernels sliced off
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 150g plain flour
- 150g fine polenta or cornmeal
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 60g cheddar, grated
- 2 eggs
- 300ml buttermilk
- 100ml milk
- Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6. Prepare a 12-hole muffin tin with a little of the melted butter or arrange 12 muffin cases in a small baking tray.
- Melt the 20g of butter in a small pan over a medium-low heat and add the onion and a pinch of salt. Fry gently for 3 minutes before adding the sweetcorn, chilli and paprika and continuing to fry for another 5-8 minutes until the corn is tender.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, polenta, baking powder, sugar, salt and cheddar.
- Beat the eggs, then combine with the buttermilk and milk before stirring into the dry ingredients, followed by the 90g of melted butter and the fried sweetcorn.
- Spoon into the muffin tin or cases and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until they are golden and cooked through. As with cake, you can check that they are cooked by inserting a skewer – if it comes out clean they’re cooked. Eat warm for breakfast with crispy bacon and maple syrup.
No, you really don’t need to cook the macaroni beforehand. You just mix it in with everything else and stick it in the oven – amazing! If you like it really cheesy, add the parmesan as well, though it isn’t very authentic.
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour
Four to Six
- 500g plain cottage cheese
- 3 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp cayenne
- Generous grating of nutmeg
- 500g extra-mature cheddar, grated
- 100g parmesan (optional), grated
- 1 litre full-fat milk
- 450g dried macaroni
- Butter a 1½-2 litre gratin dish and heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/Gas 5.
- In a blender whizz the cottage cheese, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and some salt and pepper.
- Tip into a large bowl. Keep back about 100g of the cheddar and add the rest to the cottage-cheese mixture along with the parmesan (if using) and the milk.
- Stir in the raw macaroni and pour into the dish.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Take off the covering, stir and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Return the dish – uncovered – to the oven and bake for a further 30 minutes.
- Leave to cool for five to eight minutes before tucking in; it will be molten hot in the middle.
- Serve with a big green salad dressed with a mustardy vinaigrette.
Finished with a molten drizzle of butter and maple syrup.
How to produce a bird that's burnished and tender (without being overcooked).