Elegant Thanksgiving Menu
These are the dishes we love to share—our annual must-haves, daringly updated. You'll find everything you need to pull together a complete feast.
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pumpkin Seed-Oat Crumble
We use less sugar in this classic casserole and get sweetness instead from fragrant orange rind and vanilla. Turmeric boosts the orange color and adds a subtle earthiness to the sweet potatoes. Instead of an all-nut or marshmallow topping, an oat streusel made with pumpkinseeds adds crunch and contrast to the dish. Evaporated milk has a concentrated dairy flavor without the added sugar of sweetened condensed milk; it will help the potato base to thicken as it bakes.
Triple-Herb Pumpernickel and Sourdough Stuffing
This two-toned stuffing actually boasts five herbs, though hearty sage, rosemary, and thyme are most prominent. Look for packages of poultry herbs at the store; they’ll contain just the right amount of each these three herbs. You could also stick to just sage or rosemary, but leave the amounts as they are; otherwise they will overwhelm the dish. Look for bakery-style bread loaves, not presliced sandwich bread. If you can’t find pumpernickel, you can substitute seeded rye bread.
Cider-Glazed Turkey With Roasted Apples
A wet brine infuses the bird with apple flavor and plumps up the meat so it won’t dry out in the oven. Brining your own turkey also lets you control the sodium from start to finish. Line a roasting pan with the brining bag before adding the liquid and the turkey so everything stays in place. To make a quick gravy, strain the fat from the drippings and discard, then reduce the drippings with 21/2 cups chicken stock and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour until thickened.
Garlicky Blistered Green Beans and Tomatoes
Let the broiler do all the work, and enjoy the reward: crisp-tender green beans with a kiss of smoky char, juicy tomatoes, and a mellow roasted garlic sauce. Look for slender haricots verts (French green beans) in the prepared produce section of the supermarket. You can also use regular green beans, broiling a minute or two longer as needed. Follow the advice of our Test Kitchen experts and pile the leftovers onto a sandwich, or create a turkey Niçoise platter with the green beans, sliced roasted turkey, roasted potatoes, sliced olives, and a quick vinaigrette.
Balsamic Cranberry-Onion Jam
This jam is an excellent, refined sugar-free alternative to the traditional, often too-sweet sauce, and tastes even better a day or two after it’s made. Because fresh cranberries are so tart on their own, be sure to use a sweet onion such as Vidalia in the jam. Pair this condiment with your Thanksgiving plate, then use as a sandwich spread for holiday leftovers.