I told you before I would make a pre-turkey day dinner for your benefit, but I lied. Don’t get me wrong, you do benefit from this, but I didn’t make this dinner just because of you. The truth is, I love turkey and would eat it year-round, so when this time of the year comes and the turkeys are plentiful… I eat and eat and, well, eat.
So, I set out to put together a Thanksgiving meal that spoke to my Latin roots while still honoring the traditional ingredients. With a little push from The Hubbz and an abandonment of safety nets, I came with what I believe is an incredible menu.
Pay attention, this is where you benefit: I’m about to share all of it with you! The menu. The thought process. The planning. The execution. I’m sharing it all with you in the hopes that you’ll be encouraged to recreate one or more of the dishes or that you’ll through caution to the wind and try something you’ve been thinking about for while.
The Thought Process:
Cocktails: I didn’t want anything too heavy or pumpkiny, but I still wanted to keep Thanksgiving colors in mind. I knew it needed to be spicy/flavorful.
Appetizer: I went for a soup, but wanted to keep it light while flavorful and I wanted to work sweet potatoes in the menu.
Turkey: Moist is always my first priority, so I knew I would brine it. I wanted to pick up on subtle Latin flavors without fussing too much over the bird.
Gravy: It’s like the chicken & the egg. Can’t have one without the other.
Accompanientment: Usually cranberry and, I’m sorry but I have to admit I love the canned stuff, but I needed to kick up a notch. I immediately thought guayaba! Or guava as its known stateside.
Dressing: Cornbread dressing is my absolute favorite even if traditional. My thoughts were to have corn patties topped with the extras usually found in dressing. I wanted to recreate a sophisticated version of a Panamanian tortilla.
Vegetables: Indispensable, and these pickled ones help cut through the heavy meal.
Dessert: A traditional dessert found at weddings in Panama. This is pumpkin brought to Jimmy Choo levels.
Achiote & Herbs Turkey
-Garlic Butter Gravy
Putting a big meal together, particularly when you have to stick to a schedule or a set dinnertime can be overwhelming. Lists make it easier. It doesn’t matter what type of project I’m working on, a list always makes me feel at ease, like I can get it done. When I just think of the big picture or the end product I can’t help but feel a bit of anxiety, like I’m going to forget something or that I don’t have enough time to finish. Lists are good. Lists are your friend.
After I had finalized the menu, I wrote down each dish and broke it down by steps. I then prioritized the order in which to execute each step.
The Execution – for the recipes, click on the links.