Another Thanksgiving Meal Reflection

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I’m now reflecting upon the relative merits of the various components of our dinner yesterday.  All in all, it was one of the better Thanksgiving meals we have cooked, and that success might have something to do with the fact that I decided to keep the menu on the fairly familiar side. 

The only new dish we tried was a “Silky Chestnut Soup”—recipe by Wolfgang Puck can be found here—and that was mostly because we came across packages of roasted and peeled organic chestnuts.  Since the package was from Costco, that meant we had 4 bags of chestnuts to use up somehow.  Chestnut soup to the rescue!

We tried a different chestnut soup recipe before, but we liked better this Wolfgang Puck recipe.  The soup was flavorful, nutty, rich, and super easy to make.  How can you ask for more?  The recipe called for 1 cup of ruby port, and we only had ¾ cup of tawny port around, but I actually liked the tawny (supplemented with ¼ cup more chicken broth for extra liquid) since the caramel notes of the tawny port nicely complemented a chestnut soup anyway.   Along with Will’s trademark Rosette Buttermilk rolls, the first course—soup and rolls—was a great success.

Really, the preparation and cooking for the rest of the courses turned out to be easier than usual.  Having dispensed with the only new item (the soup) with an easy recipe, I found myself preparing the rest of the meal without having to consult a single recipe.

We’ve made roast chickens and bacon-wrapped tenderloin roasts so many times before that those two meat dishes are now on auto pilot.  Then the sides consisted of: Whipped Sweet Potato Casserole, Pan Roasted Mini-Peppers, Caprese Salad with Haricot Verts, and Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Toasted Pecans.  We’ve tried new veggie sides before for other Thanksgiving meals, but these four turned out to offer a great combination of traditional veggies (sweet potatoes, beans, and Brussels sprouts) in new and simple preparations (pan roasting peppers, quick sautéing Brussels sprouts, green beans in a room temperature salad).

Since we had our friends Debra and Sandy bringing desserts, we reduced our workload substantially.  Debra brought her favorite apple pie with her famous flaky crust, and Sandy brought the always popular—and seasonal—pumpkin chiffon pie with whipped topping. 

Two slices of pies (since we all tried both!) and a pot of excellent, dark decaf coffee rounded out the evening of thanksgiving in a lovely fashion.


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