If you need a stunner for Thanksgiving dinner, here’s your recipe, which is modeled on the traditions of coastal Veracruz. It results in a moist, juicy bird, with an irresistible adobo marinade and a to-die-for stuffing. The turkey is marinated for a day (or two) in a pineapple and orange adobo sauce. The adobo is poured over the turkey before it goes into the oven, so it caramelizes as it thickens and seasons the bird even more. The sweet and tart flavors in the adobo harmonize with those in the stuffing, which is made with a soft bread and a colorful mix of ingredients that include cashews, tomatoes, and chorizo.
I’m the type of person who adds extra cheese to pizza, so this cornbread is a tribute to my love for cheese. It’s a riot of flavor, with sharp cheddar; sweet, tiny nuggets of corn that burst in your mouth; and a little fire from the red chilli flakes.
When you cook a turkey on the pit the way we do, you don’t end up with a pretty, gold bird like the ones you see on the covers of the Thanksgiving issues of all the food magazines, But I don’t think most of those pretty birds taste as good as the one that’s been smoked on the pit or grill and seasoned the way we do. Spatchcocking the turkey allows us to cook it more evenly and get seasoning throughout the bird. You be the judge.
This flan, which is perfect for Thanksgiving, is almost like a crustless pie, but it’s much silkier than traditional pumpkin pie filling. My favorite part of the dessert is that it can be completely made ahead of time and refrigerated. In fact, the flavors meld together over a day or two and become even more complex. And at the holidays, its light texture is a welcome reprieve from all the richness that precedes it.
Like cilantro and circus clowns, pumpkin pie can be quite polarizing. Some take a hard pass, whereas others can’t imagine cold-weather holidays without it. My earliest pumpkin pie memories involve trying not to stick my fingers in a store-bought Mrs. Smith’s pie on Thanksgiving Day, baked from frozen that morning and cooling on the washing machine in the tiny laundry room off the kitchen at Gramma’s house, while the rest of the Thanksgiving meal was prepared. By the time dinner was finished and the desserts rolled out, I was more interested in stealing spoonfuls from the Cool Whip tub next to the pie than I was in the pie itself. I became a late-in-life pumpkin pie convert, especially the homemade kind (no offense to Mrs. Smith), and have grown to love the simplicity and warming spices in an amber slice at the end of a celebratory meal.
Sweet roasted pumpkin, filled with nutty, fragrant rice and sharp barberries. Serve it as a main course with a green salad.
Pickled cabbage may seem like a strange ingredient to add, but it lends this dish a subtle lactic tang—we got the idea from Isa Chandra Moskovitz, a blogger whose recipe for mac and ’shews (cashews) is widely loved.
As with the novel, the demise of the potato is much discussed but never actually materializes, at least not in my house. This is not an exhaustive list, but it should help you cook potatoes that will go with Mediterranean dishes, Eastern European food, Indian, Greek, or sort-of-French recipes. You can stick them in the oven on the shelf below (or alongside) whatever starch-less main course you’re cooking. The first recipe is the most basic and can take endless simple variations. You do have to make sure your potatoes are cut to the correct (and roughly the same) size, though these are forgiving rather than exacting dishes. Cooked potatoes are tender and the tip of a knife will tell you whether they’re ready or not.
I’m cheating here, because this isn’t entirely cooked in the oven, but the brief roasting is what helps Brussels sprouts achieve their optimum potential, instead of waterlogging them in a saucepan. I ate a similar dish at Rotisserie Georgette in New York—a restaurant that specializes in roast chicken—then came straight home and made this. It’s been a regular in my house ever since, and not just at Christmas.
The sauce here is rather like a vegetarian version of the Piedmontese anchovy sauce, bagna cauda (though it’s even more umami-packed). It’s not one of those vegetable recipes that feels like a side dish, where you keep searching for the focus, but has enough different flavors and textures from each vegetable to be layered and surprising.