A French menu plan for Thanksgiving

This year Thanksgiving will be a smaller affair – with my children – about a week before I travel for my main Thanksgiving. Instead of ordering a simple take-out, or making smaller amounts of the usual foods, I am planning something a little more unique and also personal. In a way, of saying thank you to my kids.

I’ll forgo an appetizer since the menu will be large enough to accommodate without it. Here are some of the things I am thinking about preparing by hand in the kitchen. Leftovers will be astounding if it all turns out well enough.

  1. A soup course of a velvety Chestnut Soup (velouté) with Bacon and Chives.
  2. Roasted Turkey with black truffle butter and cognac gravy. Maybe duck instead (smaller).
  3. Mushroom, leek, and brioche bread pudding instead of stuffing/dressing.
  4. Green beans with shallots and Tarragon.
  5. Pumpkin Gruyere Gratin with Thyme.
  6. Salted chocolate caramel tart.

Je vous souhaite à tous un merveilleux automne et un Thanksgiving paisible !

If anyone reads this, please let me know what you think about this menu. I think some of the items shouldn’t be too difficult, and some I can make a day in advance. I only have the single oven, so I need to plan accordingly.

This menu might be a little out of the ordinary, but it should produce some memories, stretch my abilities a bit more by cooking more French-inspired dishes, and I want to try and make the day special in it’s own unique way. And I’ll be able to avoid heavy carbohydrates without sacrificing savory things. I can’t eat carbohydrates any more. My kids can and would, but maybe… just maybe… they will like this take on a holiday known for its culinary impact (like no other).

It has been suggested by a friend to consider a potato dish that might be more traditional as a starch for the meal (instead of the gratin). It’s called Pommes Anna. It sounds like a variation on a gratin to be honest. Here is how the recipe is described:

This classic 19th-century French recipe brings out the best of the humble potato. In it, thin potato slices are layered into a skillet, basted in butter and baked. As they cook, the slices are compressed (under another skillet) so they hold together when unmolded. The potatoes on the exterior become brown and crisp, while the ones inside absorb the butter and turn satiny soft. The garlic isn’t traditional, but it adds a pungent sweetness. Serve it as a classic and elegant side with roasted meat, or top it with fried eggs for an unusual vegetarian main course. 

Melissa Clark of New York Times Cooking

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