The concept of a Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate the bountiful harvest of the past summer and to give thanks for all the good things in life before the hard cold winter sets in is something I have always enjoyed. Of course it also happens to have become a major food holiday so that can’t hurt either. But if you’ve lived in New England and can empathize with the early English settlers in the region some 400 years ago, and the harsh winters they endured, it’s easier to appreciate the underpinnings of the holiday. When we first moved back to Manila, we used to have a Thanksgiving dinner every year, complete with turkey and and several side dishes. But in the last few years, we have skipped the holiday due to other commitments, or scaled it back a bit. Last year, we had what I will call a “Mock Thanksgiving Dinner”…
Instead of a turkey, we had a medium sized capon, at say 3-4 kilos that we roasted with butter and herbs. It was good for about 6 persons and had a nicely golden skin and moist meat. The capon was roasted on a rack over several root vegetables like potatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs.
We also served a cranberry relish as a side dish to approximate the normal Thanksgiving menu, and for greens we did some french beans with bacon and roasted chestnuts.
If you wanted a variation on the roasted root vegetables, roughly mash them all together to get this colorful and chunky mash. Add some gravy to your sliced chicken and for less money and a lot less time in the kitchen, you can still enjoy the essence of the holiday with just slight alterations to the typical menu. Oh, and we threw in a pumpkin pie just to finish this off on a really traditional note. Minus the pumpkin pie and cranberry relish, this could also very well just be a nice meal at any other time of the year. I hope those of you in North America are gearing up for your own Thanksgiving celebrations next week… Happy Cooking!