Several years ago Master Chef contestant, Pauline McAloon, put together a fabulous Thanksgiving menu, complete with recipes, just for the readers of Imperfect Women. Her menu was delicious and had a great combination of traditional and new recipes. They were easy to follow and many of her recipes can be prepared in advance. She indicated that she “designed the menu to give the cook a chance to actually spend quality time with their loved ones on Thanksgiving and not just hours in the kitchen.”
We decided to update the post and place all of her recipes right here in one place and on our “Easy Recipe” program where they can be easily printed out. We hope you enjoy!
By Pauline McAloon
Perfect Roast Turkey
If you are using a frozen Turkey, then defrost completely in the fridge. This will take approx 3 days. So buy your bird in plenty of time. A fresh turkey is of course the best option, but the price does go up quite a bit per lb. Do what ever suits your budget.
- 1 stick of unsalted Butter
- 8 Slices of streaky Bacon
- 1 Lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh Thyme leaves
- 1 large bunch fresh Rosemary.
- 1 whole Lemon, halved and quartered
- 1 large Onion, quartered, no need to peel
- 1 head Garlic, halved crosswise no need to peel
- Melt the butter in a small pan. Add the zest and juice of the lemon and 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves to the butter mixture. Set aside.
- Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, halved lemon, quartered onion, rosemary and garlic. Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay the slices of bacon over the entire Turkey to cover. Tie the legs together with butchers string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.
- Roast the turkey about 2 1/2 hours – 3hrs, after 2 hrs remove the bacon and continue to cook for another 30mins-1hr or until the juices run clear . Remove the turkey, cover with foil and rest.
Leek, Sage and Cranberry Stuffing
This stuffing can be done well ahead of time, 2-3 days before Thanksgiving, just wrap it tightly in foil and keep in fridge. Just warm through before serving.
- 1 loaf of French bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 10-12 cups)
- 1 Large Leek, trimmed and diced
- 2tbsp Chopped Sage, or if using dried 1tbsp will do.
- 1 cup Dried Cranberries
- 1 cup each, chopped Onion and Celery
- 6 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Green Apple, peeled, cored, chopped
- 3/4 cup of Golden Raisins
- 1-2 cups of low sodium Chicken Stock
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Parsley
- Salt and freshly Ground pepper (to taste)
- Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat. Melt 3 Tbsp butter in the pan, add the bread cubes, and stir to coat the bread pieces with the melted butter. Then let them brown, turning occasionally to toast on all sides.
- In a large Dutch oven or large skillet, on medium heat, sauté chopped onions and celery on medium high heat with the remaining 3 Tbsp butter until cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Add the bread. Add chopped green apple, raisins, leek, cranberries & parsley. Add one cup of chicken stock (enough to keep the stuffing moist while you are cooking it). Add sage, salt & pepper.
- Cover. Turn heat to low. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until the apples are tender. Check every ten minutes or so and add more stock as needed while cooking to keep the stuffing moist and keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Vegetables
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
- 4 Parsnips
- 4 Carrots
- 4 tbsp Olive oil
- 6 cloves Garlic
- few sprigs Rosemary
- Salt and Pepper
- Peel the potatoes and parsnips and cut into quarters. Halve and quarter the carrots. Try and keep roughly the same size.
- Boil potatoes in salted water for 8 minutes, adding the parsnips to the pan for the last 3-4 mins. Drain the vegetables. Set aside.
- Pre-heat a roasting pan with the olive oil, add potatoes, parsnips, carrots, unpeeled garlic cloves and rosemary. Toss to cover well with oil.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast in oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown
Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Bacon Mash
You could add the bacon from the turkey to the mash for added flavor, just chop and stir in. You can make the mash well in advance, just leave out the Crème Fraîche and chives until ready to serve. Warm thoroughly.
- 1 Cauliflower
- 1lb Sweet Potatoes
- 2tbsp unsalted Butter
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 3 tbsp Crème Fraîche or sour cream if you cannot find crème fraîche
- 2 tbsp fresh chives/spring onions
- Peel sweet potatoes, dice and boil for 15 minutes, or until fork
- Meanwhile, trim a medium-sized cauliflower and cook in another pan for 10-12 minutes, or until just fork tender Drain.
- Melt butter in a pan and cook1 tsp cumin seeds for 1 minute.
- Mash the cauliflower and sweet potato with the melted butter and cumin, plus 3 tbsp crème fraîche/sour cream.
- Stir in 2 tbsp fresh chopped chives/spring onions, season and serve.
Crunchy Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
Such an unusual way to have Brussels sprouts, especially for those in the family who think they hate them, I guarantee you will change their minds with these, even the children will love them. Don ‘t make this dish ahead of time, best fresh and warm.
- 1lb Brussels sprouts
- *Chef’s Tip – 1tbsp brown Sugar
- 2tbsp Flour, seasoned
- 1 Egg, beaten
- ¼ cup white Breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup fresh Parmesan, finely grated
- 3 tbsp oil for shallow frying
- Cocktails sticks
- Trim and clean the sprouts. Cook in slightly salted water, add the sugar to the water, this will give the sprouts a sweet taste until just tender. Drain and allow to cool.
- When ready, toss the sprouts lightly in the seasoned flour.
- Line up the following: a bowl of beaten egg, a bowl of the breadcrumbs and Parmesan mixed together, and a large clean plate or tray.
- Pierce a sprout with a cocktail stick and dip in the beaten egg, then coat with the Parmesan crumbs. Lift onto the plate and remove the stick.
- When all the sprouts have been coated, heat enough oil in a large non-stick frying pan to cover the base of the pan. Gently fry the sprouts for 2-3 minutes, in batches, turning frequently until they are crispy. Drain onto absorbent kitchen paper to serve.
There are so many recipes for trifle that it’s hard to choose. This one is very simple to do and is very traditional in Scotland. I use fresh fruit, berries mainly, but my Mum and Grandmother always used canned pears and or peaches. It was just how it was then, especially when fresh fruit during world war 2 was a rare thing to have, so they made do. I have done it with both and they are as equally delicious.
This dish can be done a few days ahead of time. Just leave adding the whipped cream until the morning of Thanksgiving. Make sure that you place some plastic wrap over the top of the custard to stop a skin from forming.
- 1 Angel Food Cake
- 1lb fresh Berries, raspberries, strawberries or caned fruit of your choice
- 1pkt Jelly, strawberry or raspberry
- Rind from a lemon, finely grated
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- Quarter pint double (whipping) Cream
- Quarter pint medium Sweet Sherry
- 2 tablespoons Drambuie, optional
- Glace cherries,
- 4 Egg yolks
- 2 Egg whites
- 1 pint full fat Milk
- 1oz caster (granulated) Sugar
- Put the milk and sugar into a saucepan and bringing to the boil.
- Mix egg yolks and whites and pour the hot milk over them, stirring well.
- Return to the saucepan and stir over a gentle heat with a wooden spoon. When the custard runs in ribbons down the back of the spoon, strain into a basin and cover with dampened greaseproof paper to stop a skin forming.
- Cut the angel cake into 1inch slices and put into a glass serving bowl.
- Sprinkle with the lemon rind. Mix the sherry and Drambuie and pour over the sponges. Leave to soak. (Overnight or for several hours)
- Add the fruit, if canned fruit is being used drain before adding.
- Make jelly as per instruction on packet. Allow to cool slightly. Pour jelly over fruit and allow to set firmly
- Pour the cold custard evenly over the fruit.
- Whip the cream until stiff and sweeten a little, if preferred. Spread over the trifle.
- Decorate with glace cherries (halved) or you can use “hundreds and thousands”.
- Chill for at least an hour before serving.
We hope you find one or all of these Thanksgiving recipes helpful and that you have an absolutely fabulous Thanksgiving holiday!