Recent natural disasters have reminded us of hardship, but also of Thanksgiving. Where better to take you, then, than the Gulf Coast, where a spirit of resilience lives. We’re serving up a Gulf Coast Thanksgiving, sprinkled with sumptuous seafood side dishes, lots of Southern tradition and classic Creole accents.
The Food Channel has chronicled the ongoing comeback of the American Gulf Coast. Frankly, we’re inspired by the efforts of the people along the coast in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Texas as they continue to rebuild. That same admiration now goes to the upper East Coast after Hurricane Sandy.
This Thanksgiving menu is dedicated to those who have suffered, and yet will raise their glass in thankfulness along with the rest of the country. Here you go:
Before diving into the big meal, you may wish to begin the proceedings with appetizers and cocktails. We suggest a French 75 Champagne Cocktail, made famous at Arnaud’s, a renowned New Orleans restaurant. It features cognac, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and sugar, topped off by the bubbly.
On to the main event, where our Creole-Butter Roasted Turkey plays the starring role in this Gulf Coast Thanksgiving saga. We get under the skin of the bird with creamy butter seasoned with a blend of fresh herbs, garlic pepper sauce and Creole spices. Garnished with colorful concord grapes, sprigs of fresh thyme and flat leaf parsley, it looks simply stunning—and the flavor is amazing. Our Thyme-Cream Turkey Gravy makes an excellent accompaniment, and can be made a day ahead to alleviate some of the Turkey Day tension.
We’ve stuffed the bird with a New Orleans Oyster Dressing, a traditional favorite that dates back many years. The chef tells us the secret to creating the perfect crust for your holiday dressing is using a cast iron skillet.
Side dishes, so many side dishes. Is there any other meal served during the year, where the side selections are so fussed after—and savored? We lead off with another traditional New Orleans favorite, Crab-Stuffed Artichokes, topped with rich Hollandaise Sauce. This wonderful dish takes some time and effort, but the good part is, you can prepare it in steps and much of it can be made ahead, so the Thanksgiving Day prep is fairly minimal. Our chefs insist this dish is worth the extra effort. One of them called it the piece de resistance, pronouncing the phrase with a noble attempt at a French accent.
Another side dish standout is our Corn Maque Choux.* Pronounced corn “mock shoe,” this authentic South Louisiana dish features corn cut fresh from the cob, slow-simmered with onions, bell peppers, rich cream and a shake of cayenne pepper. Fabulous!
You’re going to love our Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls.* They’re big and puffy, yet light—and so easy to make. There’s a real sneaky shortcut to this Thanksgiving recipe. Check it out.
We plus up the can’t-have-Thanksgiving-without-them Mashed Potatoes* by mixing in cream cheese with our Yukon Gold mashers. Indulgent, yes, but so good. Again, these can be made the day before, so all you need do on Big Thursday is heat them up in the microwave.
For dessert, three luscious choices. Our Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Bourbon Sauce* is definitely worth saving room for. A fantastic finish to this incredible feast. Equally delightful is our Sweet Potato Pecan Pie—it’s kind of a cross between pumpkin pie and pecan pie, southern style all the way, and sensational. Finally, the rustic style Pear and Cranberry Tart offers up the classically sweet flavors of an American Thanksgiving.
Plus, if your guests would like to munch on a little something sweet after dinner, but don’t have room for dessert you might want to try our recipe for Southern Style Pralines. They’re ideal for enjoying with a cup of coffee.
That’s it. Our American Gulf Coast Thanksgiving Dinner, a salute to our friends down south. We know you’re on the comeback trail.
*Recipes which include “How We Do It” videos