Sweet and Savory Thanksgiving Menu
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.
A simple side of perfectly roasted carrots is the breather a crowded Thanksgiving table needs—a bit of palate relief (and ease for the cook) that still looks elegant. Sweet, slightly firm, and tossed with fresh parsley and cilantro, these carrots would fit here and all season long. Use any remaining cilantro in leftover turkey tacos or chili. For an extra-pretty presentation, cut the carrot pieces at a 45° angle before roasting.
Pear, Sage, and Golden Raisin Stuffing
Pears are at their peak in late fall and their firm texture is ideal for baking. Here we fold them into a classic sourdough stuffing with plump golden raisins and fresh sage. A little thick-cut bacon goes a long way here, leaving just enough drippings in the pan to sauté the vegetables. You could also use diced pancetta (such as Boar’s Head). Look for a whole-wheat sourdough loaf from the bakery section—the thick crust and hearty texture will absorb more liquid. Cut leftover stuffing into squares and reheat in the oven to crisp the edges.
Maple-Caraway Brussels Sprouts
Layer upon layer of bold flavor earned these Brussels sprouts our test kitchen’s highest rating. The sprouts get deeply caramelized in toasted caraway and browned butter, then are quickly finished with a sweet and pungent mixture of maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and sherry vinegar. Caraway has an anise-like flavor similar to fennel seed. Add to roasted carrots or parsnips, or sprinkle over whole-grain rolls or crackers. Start the caraway and thyme in a cold pan so they can infuse the butter as it browns.
Celery Root Puree with Almond-Mint Gremolata
Gnarled-looking celery root is truly an all-star in disguise: It adds delicate crunch to fall and winter salads and becomes velvety smooth once simmered and pureed. This puree, a great alternative to mashed potatoes, gets added body from cannellini beans and tangy sour cream. A chopped blend of fresh mint, almonds, and lemon adds texture and color. If you have celery stalks on hand, save the celery leaves for a pretty garnish that hints at the main ingredient.
For a twist on cranberry sauce this year, try this sweet, tart, and earthy beet-and-cranberry condiment. Toasted whole coriander and brown mustard seeds add warmth and take the chutney into savory territory. The chunky texture is part of the charm here, a great contrast to the mashes and casseroles on the table.