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Holiday traditions may be uprooted again this year — what with who can gather and where, and the thousand complexities introduced by the lingering virus — but as far as the table is concerned, it’s high time we give some cherished customs the boot.

Roast a whole bird? What is this, the frontier? Any chef will tell you that when you’re roasting a big turkey, it’s nearly impossible to get juicy breast meat at the same time the legs are cooked through. The breast always suffers.

A Thanksgiving menu for 6.
A Thanksgiving menu for 6.Greg Klee

So we took a hard look at the classic Thanksgiving menu, grabbed it by the wattles, and gave it a good shake. That whole bird is now roasted in parts. One is a whole turkey breast on the bone, roasted with herbs tucked under the skin and stuffing around the edges of the pan. The bread cubes absorb the breast juices and turn crispy on top. Another roasting pan holds turkey thighs, sprinkled with allspice, coriander, cumin, and other Middle Eastern spices and cooked until the skin is dark and crisp. For vegetarians, there are individual mushroom calzones with goat cheese and mozzarella made with pizza dough from the supermarket or your favorite pizzeria; most sell their prepared dough.

Brussels sprouts, which in our opinion must always be on the menu, are sauteed with maple syrup, Asian fish sauce, and lime juice, which makes a sweet, tart, and salty glaze on the little green rounds.

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One menu tradition we won’t undo is a double course of potatoes because this is a feast and the only thing better than a great potato dish is two great potato dishes. Crispy roasted russet potatoes emerge from the oven golden and crusty at the edges, and they get a generous sprinkle of the Japanese spice mix togarashi, which contains sesame seeds, crushed red pepper, ginger, and orange rind (you can buy the seasoning, but we tell you how to make your own variation).

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Sweet potato wedges are cooked tikka masala-style, similar to the famous dish on the Indian subcontinent, bathed in yogurt with lots of warm and hot spices, then baked until tender and delicious. And ordinary cranberry relish gets a boost with fresh pineapple and black pepper to add heat to the sweet, fruity dish.

And finally to the pie course: You’ve perfected apple pie and pumpkin pie and all the new versions of these old favorites. This year it’s lemon meringue pie, traditional on some tables (perhaps not on all). You make a flaky pastry round, fill it with lemon curd from the jam section of the grocery aisles, and top with meringue. We tell you the secret to getting those perfect peaks of white fluff to turn golden brown without a torch.

[RELATED: Here’s where you can take your Thanksgiving feast to-go — and plenty of places to dine in, too]

Make this menu and you’ll be thrilled. Or stick to a whole turkey, if you like, and prepare just a few of these lively sides, picking and choosing from what’s here. It’s been a grueling two years and everyone wants holidays to roll out the way they used to be. That may not happen. Instead, head to the kitchen and have some fun shaking up the menu.

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Check the Food section on Nov. 24 for whole turkey roast times, how to make a classic apple pie, and other treats for the Thanksgiving table.

Photo: Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe
Food styling Sheryl Julian
Recipe by Sally Vargas 
Recipe for Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast on Stuffing
Photo: Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe Food styling Sheryl Julian Recipe by Sally Vargas Recipe for Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast on StuffingSally Pasley Vargas

Recipe: Juicy turkey breast on stuffing

Roast Turkey Thighs with Middle Eastern Spices. Food styling by Sheryl Julian.
Roast Turkey Thighs with Middle Eastern Spices. Food styling by Sheryl Julian.Sally Pasley Vargas

Recipe: Roast turkey thighs with Middle Eastern spices

Mushroom Calzones. Food styling by Sheryl Julian.
Mushroom Calzones. Food styling by Sheryl Julian.Sally Pasley Vargas

Recipe: Bake big mushroom-filled calzones

Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Maple Syrup.
Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Maple Syrup.Claudia Catalano

Recipe: Saute Brussels sprouts with a sweet, tart, salty glaze

Togarashi Roast Potatoes.
Togarashi Roast Potatoes.Claudia Catalano

Recipe: After you roast crispy Thanksgiving potatoes, brighten them with Japanese togarashi spice

Sweet Potatoes Tikka Masala. Food styling by Sheryl Julian.
Sweet Potatoes Tikka Masala. Food styling by Sheryl Julian.Sally Pasley Vargas

Recipe: Sweet potatoes tikka masala mixes yogurt and spices for this delicious Thanksgiving side

Sweet-and-Spicy Cranberry-Pineapple Relish. Food styling by Sheryl Julian.
Sweet-and-Spicy Cranberry-Pineapple Relish. Food styling by Sheryl Julian.Sally Pasley Vargas

Recipe: On Thanksgiving, punch up the cranberry relish with sweet and spicy tastes

Lemon Meringue Pie.
Lemon Meringue Pie.Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Recipe: Lemon meringue pie on the Thanksgiving table is a beautiful sight


Sheryl Julian can be reached at sheryl.julian@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @sheryljulian.