Classic Thanksgiving

All the turkey-day basics

By
November 10, 2008

Here’s our roundup of the classic Thanksgiving basics, by dish. Pick a few to try and assemble your own turkey-day menu. If you have mounds of leftovers, try them in Smoked Turkey and Roasted Red Pepper Roll-ups, Smoked Turkey and Cheddar Quiche, Chicken Pot Pie, or simply piled together in a sandwich.

  1. Roasted turkey
    Turkey. There are many ways to roast a turkey, but unless you’re going vegetarian for Thanksgiving (Tofurky, anyone?), you’ll probably have some version of the bird on your table.
    Recipes: Brined and Roasted Turkey
  2. gravy
    Lazy Gravy
    Gravy. Whether you choose to use a homemade turkey stock or ordinary store-bought chicken stock, making a batch of gravy ahead of time saves last-minute stress.
    Recipes: Turkey Stock, Lazy Gravy, Homemade Gravy
  3. Apple-Pecan Stuffing
    Stuffing. Dry or moist? Sausage, oyster, or chestnut? Breadcrumbs or cornbread or rice? Whatever recipe or style you prefer, stuffing (also known as dressing or filling) is one of Thanksgiving’s most popular dishes.
    Recipes: Apple-Pecan Stuffing, Apple and Sausage Stuffing, Wild Rice Dressing with Bacon, Meme’s Cornbread Dressing
  4. spiced cranberry sauce
    Spiced Cranberry Sauce
    Cranberry sauce. Please, don’t buy the canned stuff; homemade cranberry sauce is a snap to make and takes just a few minutes on the stovetop. Like gravy, it’s an easy dish to make ahead.
    Recipes: Cranberry Sauce, Spiced Cranberry Sauce
  5. dinner rolls
    Dinner Rolls
    Starchy sides. Even with the starch factor of stuffing, most folks like to have extra carbs on table; potatoes and rolls are two of the most popular choices.
    Recipes: Dinner Rolls, Potato and Mushroom Gratin, Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
  6. Roasted Sweet Potato and Vanilla Bean Gratin
    Veggie sides. Warm vegetable casseroles are an easy side dish to make ahead and warm up just before serving.
    Recipes: Roasted Sweet Potato and Vanilla Bean Gratin, Roasted Green Beans with Roasted Red Peppers and Hazelnuts, Braised Red Cabbage with Apple and Juniper, Browned and Braised Brussels Sprouts
  7. winter apple salad
    Mixed Greens with Blue Cheese, Walnuts, and Apples
    Winter salads. Crisp winter salads provide a cool contrast to all the hot dishes, not to mention a welcome extra dose of green.
    Recipes: Mixed Greens with Blue Cheese, Walnuts, and Apples, Pomegranate and Walnut Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Turnip, Carrot, and Gruyère Salad
  8. pumpkin gingersnap pie
    Pumpkin Gingersnap Pie
    Desserts. For some folks, everything else at Thanksgiving is just prelude to dessert. Pumpkin, apple, and pecans generally star in the holiday’s pies. Serve with cream, either cold (whipped), frozen (ice cream), or warm (sauce).
    Recipes: Mom’s Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Gingersnap Pie, Apple Galette, Apple Pie For a Passerby, Crème Anglaise
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1. by Annika on Nov 19, 2008 at 12:59 PM PST

All are fabulous, but I have to ask: Where be the mashed potatoes?!

2. by Caroline Cummins on Nov 19, 2008 at 3:46 PM PST

See No. 5: Starchy sides, for Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes.

3. by Louisa Neumann on Nov 19, 2008 at 5:20 PM PST

Your cranberry sauce looks delish. So easy. Confession: I adore canned cranberry sauce. I know!It comes out of the can rimmed from the can itself. That always cracks me up. Don’t worry--for Thanksgiving I do usually make a cranberry something from scratch :)

4. by Evan on Nov 19, 2008 at 11:41 PM PST

I am a chef, and I still love the canned cranberry sauce. And for some reason real cranberry sauce I just don’t like on my turkey!

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