Thursday is Thanksgiving in America, the holiday where our transatlantic neighbours get together to give thanks, watch the National Football League and consume mass amounts of roast turkey and mash.
ELL’s resident thankful yanks Laura Liszewski and Sasha Filimonov crafted a 2012 guide to the celebration for those in London.
If you are feeling in the holiday spirit, why not try out some of our hand-picked recipes or have a look at what is listed below for the best spots to get a Thanksgiving dinner in our boroughs.
Give thanks in the ELL boroughs at these hotspots:
The Breakfast Club, 2-4 Rufus Street, Hoxton, N16PE; Spitalfields, 12-16, Artillery Lane, E1 7LS
Serving a traditional three-course meal for £28 with advance booking and £10 deposit. Sittings available at 7 or 9 PM. All meals come with a glass of hot mulled cider.
The Beard to Tail, 77 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, EC2A3BS
Special Thanksgiving à la carte menu of macaroni and cheese, chicken wings, turkey, bacon, sweet potato, and pumpkin pie.
Dukes Brew and Que , 33 Downham Road, De Beauvoir Town, N1 5AA
Smoked turkey, candied yams, baby sprouts and pearl onions, mashed potato and pecan and pumpkin pie will be available à la carte menu from 4 PM. Reservations recommended as tables at Dukes tend to fill up quickly.
The Diner , 128-130 Curtain Road, EC2A 3AQ
À la carte Thanksgiving menu available until Christmas including a hot buttered rum drink for £7 and £10 turkey schnitzel hoagie, to name a few.[/success]
Missouri Angel , America Square, 14 Crosswall, EC3N 2LJ
Three course traditional menu for £45 per person for lunch or dinner. Bookings accepted.
Tomkins, 4 Pan Peninsula Square, Canary Wharf, E14 9HN
Three course dinner for £29.95.[/notice]
Maggie’s, 322 Lewisham Road, Lewisham, London, SE13 7PA[/info]
Albert’s Table, 49 C Southend, CR0 1BF
Cockneys of Croydon, 51 Frith Road, CR0 1TB[/error]
Besides the roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, traditional Thanksgiving dinner consists of stuffing, sweet potato, creamy green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin or pecan pie for dessert.
Here’s a small selection of recipes for kitchen enthusiasts and fans of Americana: traditional pumpkin pie, sweet potato with marshmallows, a cranberry whiskey sour, and turkey pho for your leftovers.
Pic: Jamie Schler
Recipe by Jamie Schler, American expat in Nantes, France from Life’s a Feast blog
2 cups fresh pumpkin purée
1 1⁄2 cups milk (I use low fat)
1⁄2 cup pure maple syrup
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbs flour
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg + 1⁄2 tsp ground ginger
1⁄2 tsp salt
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
2. Lightly butter a pie plate and line with the uncooked sweet pastry pie dough, trimming off any excess dough. Prick lightly with a fork.
3. Purée pumpkin by cubing the pumpkin flesh and putting in a large pot with about an inch of water. Bring to the boil, lower heat, cover tightly and let steam until soft. Pour into a collander in the sink and let drain really well, allowing it to cool at least slightly. Purée and measure, draining any excess water if necessary.
4. Put the purée into a large bowl. Add the flour, spices and salt and stir until well blended. Add the eggs, or if the purée is still hot, add just enough milk to cool it a bit then stir in the eggs quickly. Add the milk and maple syrup and stir everything together until very well blended.
5. Pour into the pie shell until filled about half way. Transfer the pie onto the rack of the pre-heated oven and then carefully pour the rest of the filling into the shell (this should avoid sloshing it onto the floor while carrying it to the oven.)
6. Let cook about 40 minutes or until the centre is just set and the shell is browned around the edges and underneath.
If you have leftover dough, you can roll it out and cut out shapes (such as pumpkins or leaves) and very carefully place on the pie about 10 minutes before the pie is finished baking.
Sweet pastry pie crust
1 1⁄4 cups flour
1⁄4 cup sugar
7 Tbs (100 grams) unsalted butter*
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. Stir flour and sugar together in a bowl. Add the butter cut into cubes and, using thumb and finger tips, rub the flour and butter into each other vigorously until it resembles sand on the beach and there are no more large chunks of butter.
2. Pour the lightly beaten egg over the flour-sugar-butter mixture and stir vigorously with a fork until all of the dry ingredients are moistened and it starts to clump. With fingers, press together into a ball and place on a floured surface. With the heel of one hand, smear the dough forward quickly, a little at a time (a tablespoon maybe) until all the dough has been “smeared”. This blends in the last of the butter. Scrape the dough together and work briefly, just enough to form into a smooth ball.
3. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge until needed or, if making your pie right away, just until it is firm enough to be easy to roll out without sticking to your rolling pin.
*most pie crust recipes call for the butter to be chilled. I have found that butter at room temperature is easier and quicker to work into the flour and the dough seems to be fluffier. If it is too sticky to roll out right away, 5 to 10 minutes in the fridge should do the trick.
Pic: Sherry Nappa
Recipe by Sherry Nappa, Orlando, Florida from Olives‘n Okra blog
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
8 sweet potatoes
half cup light brown sugar
half cup unsalted butter
1 bag of miniature marshmallows
1. Wash sweet potatoes and prick each two or three times with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees (180 C) until tender and cooked through. When cool enough to handle, scoop the insides out of each potato.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add butter, brown sugar, and potatoes. Beat potato mixture with an electric mixer on low-speed for two or three minutes or until potatoes are smooth and free of lumps. You can also use a hand-held potato masher, but this may take longer.
3. Pour potatoes in a medium size casserole dish. Spread evenly then top with marshmallows. Bake at 350°F until the marshmallows are brown.
Yields 8-10 servings
Pic: Winifred Abramson
For your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers:
Recipe by Winifred Abramson of Hudson Valley, New York, USA – Healthy Green Kitchen blog
Makes 2 big bowls of soup
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
4 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 quart homemade turkey stock (or homemade or store-bought chicken stock)
1 bunch green onions (green top parts only) chopped
1 3-inch chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
1 teaspoon brown sugar, or more to taste
1 tablespoon fish sauce, or more to taste
1-2 cup kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Half pound leftover turkey breast, shredded
1 bunch (approx. 2 oz.) cellophane/bean thread noodles (or enough flat dried rice noodles to serve 2)
1-2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped- for garnish (optional)
1-2 tablespoon chopped green onions (white parts only), minced- for garnish (optional)
Half lime, cut into wedges
Sriracha chili sauce to taste
1. Heat a cast-iron skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves, star anise, and cinnamon stick and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices into a bowl to avoid burning them and set aside.
2. In a large pot, add the toasted spices and all ingredients from stock through fish sauce and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.
4. Taste the broth and add more sugar or fish sauce, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Add the kale and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
5. Add the shredded turkey and the cellophane noodles. Allow to sit for a few minutes while the noodles soften.
6. Ladle the broth into bowls. Divide the kale, shredded turkey and the noodles evenly into each bowl.
7. Sprinkle on the garnishes and add sriracha to taste. Squeeze lime juice to taste over the top of your bowl before eating.
Pic: Frank Mcgivern
Here is a recipe for the delightfully decadent Thanksgiving sour – a great postprandial concoction (turkey sandwich garnish optional):
Recipe by Frank McGivern, head bartender at Bounce London.
50ml bourbon (preferably Maker’s Mark)
10 ml port
1 level tsp castor sugar
1 small tsp cranberry sauce
Dash egg white
1. Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake without ice, this will help bind everything together.
2. Following this, add ice to the shaker and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
3. Strain into a handled ale glass filled with ice.
4. Garnish with a lemon twist and cinnamon stick for stirring.