The fourth Thursday in November marks more than just an American harvest tradition. For centuries, cultures and countries around the world have celebrated fall’s bounty through gatherings centered around delicious, comforting food. As you prepare your Thanksgiving meal this year, take inspiration from worldwide flavors and techniques for breathtaking sides, impressive mains, and elegant desserts. Though you may hit a few snags along the way, have no fear – we have crowd-pleasing fixes for even the most common Turkey Day mishaps. Read on for globally inspired upgrades, troubleshooting tips, and recipes guaranteed to wow. Happy Thanksgiving from our table to yours!
Hard Mashed Potatoes
As easy as mashed potatoes are to make, they are just as easy to mess up. If you make this popular dish ahead of time, it can become quite hard after reheating it. Don’t fear as this is a fairly easy fix. Place about half a cup of milk in a pan and heat it up until it starts to boil. Then pour the milk into the potatoes and stir.
China: Their mashed potatoes tend to be very spicy and soft in this country. They are mixed with fennel, ham, garlic and chilies.
Perfecting mashed potatoes’ creamy yet thick texture is an art. If your spuds turn out heavy and dry after reheating, stir in warmed milk gradually until smooth.
Italy’s Creamy Potatoes Blending in nutmeg, parmesan, and olive oil makes for vibrant, velvety potatoes alla Italiana.
Sometimes, stuffing comes out of the turkey very mushy and without a lot of flavor. This can be fixed by stirring in some toasted croutons. You can also put some vegetable oil in a pan, heat it up and add the stuffing in and sear it for about a minute. This will remove some of the excess moisture.
Australia: The Aussies tend to like their stuffing more sweet than savory. In addition to bread crumbs, they add nutmeg, cloves and raisins.
Stuffing soaked through with turkey juices loses its fluffy character. Restore texture by sautéing the stuffing to evaporate moisture and sprinkle in crisp panko breadcrumbs.
Cornbread Apple Stuffing The South boasts sweet and tangy stuffing with chopped apples, sage, and a backbone of crumbled cornbread for texture.
So you decided to skip buying the cheap store-bought gravy and tried to make it yourself using some of the turkey drippings. The only problem is that it’s filled with lumps. You don’t have to throw it out as there is a very easy fix. Simply place a pot in the sink. Now put a strainer on top of it and pour the gravy into the strainer. Throw away the lumps and use the gravy in the pot. It really is that simple!
United Kingdom: In this country, they often use boiled vegetables as the base of their gravy. The key is to add in some fat, a thickener and a little bit of wine to give it flavor.
Homemade gravy deserves better than unsightly lumps. Pour the gravy through a mesh sieve, discarding solids. The smooth, lump-free drippings make the perfect gravy base.
French Onion Gravy Caramelized onion and red wine come together for rich, beefy onion gravy – the perfect crowning touch for your feast.
A Turkey That Just Isn’t Cooked Right
If you’ve made the mistake of buying a turkey that doesn’t have a pop-up timer in it, chances are you may over or undercook it. It doesn’t matter if your turkey is too dry or undercooked, you can fix both problems. Take the breast off for dry turkeys and let it simmer in some stock. For undercooked turkeys, remove the breast and let it cook a little longer.
An over or undercooked bird throws off the entire meal. Salvage drier meat by simmering it in stock until tender. For underdone turkey, keep roasting until the thighs reach 165°F.
Peruvian Turkey Roulade Marinated turkey rolled around savory bread stuffing makes for a stunning and forgiving main dish.
Overly Sweet Cranberry Sauce
If your homemade cranberry sauce turned out cloyingly sugary, balance it out by stirring in some fresh orange or lemon juice. The bit of acidity will help cut through the sweetness.
Spanish Cranberry Relish In Spain, they make a tangy relish with cranberries, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and spices like saffron and paprika. The vinegar provides a great contrast to the berries’ sweet tartness.
Underwhelming Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are a love-it-or-hate-it vegetable at many Thanksgiving tables. If your steamed or roasted sprouts seem lackluster, mix them with balsamic vinegar, crispy bacon bits, shredded Parmesan, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. The mix of flavors and textures brings them to life.
Indian Spiced Brussels For an Indian twist, roast Brussels sprouts with chili powder, garam masala, cumin, and nigella seeds. The blend of spices pairs deliciously with the sprouts’ inherent bitterness.
Bland Glazed Carrots
Glazed carrots can often end up looking pretty but tasting flat. Fix boring carrots by simmering them in fresh orange juice instead of water before glazing. And spike the glaze with a splash of bourbon or brandy to liven things up.
Moroccan Carrots In Morocco, they cook carrots with honey, orange juice, ginger, cinnamon, and butter for a sweet carrot side with warmth and fragrance.
Dry Cornbread Dressing
If your cornbread dressing turns out crumbly and dry, stir in some veggie or chicken broth until moistened through. You can also mix in a couple of tablespoons of melted butter for extra richness.
Mexican Cornbread Dressing In Mexico, they make colorful cornbread stuffing with red bell peppers, zucchini, onion, cilantro, and cotija cheese. It’s vegetarian, gluten-free, and full of Southwestern flair.
Bland Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes can often turn out bland, no matter how much butter and spices you add. Fix boring spuds by stirring in some tangy plain Greek yogurt, orange juice, brown sugar, and a splash of rum for a flavor boost.
Japanese Sweet Potatoes For a change, try making candied Jerusalem artichoke pears – sweet potatoes sliced into spear shapes, rolled in corn syrup, then grilled or baked until caramelized.
Underwhelming Green Bean Casserole
The classic green bean casserole often leaves something to be desired. To give it new life, use fresh green beans, coat them in a mix of mushrooms like shitake and oyster, upgrade to fried shallots, and spike the sauce with a splash of white wine.
Indian Green Beans In India, green beans are often cooked with tomatoes, garlic, mustard seeds, and curry leaves and finished with lemon juice and coconut. The intense flavors transform the humble green bean.
Asia, Peru, Greece and New Orleans: Stay tuned for a future article about how these countries cook turkeys! We hope you have found inspiration in these diverse Thanksgiving recipes collected from around the globe. As you gather with loved ones to enjoy your holiday meal, may it be filled with joy, gratitude, and lots of laughter – no matter what unexpected mishaps come your way! Here’s wishing you and yours a holiday season warmed by the glow of hearth, home, and good food shared with cherished friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving to all!