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Perfecting Thanksgiving Dinner

F&W’s Test Kitchen offers amazing versions of eight Thanksgiving classics, then gives two innovative variations for each.

Plus: F&W’s Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide

slideshow Innovative Versions of Classic Thanksgiving Recipes

Easy, Elegant Creamy Soup

Easy, Elegant Creamy Soup

Marcia Kiesel’s luxuriously creamy soups are the perfect starters for Thanksgiving dinner because they can be made in advance, then reheated and garnished just before serving.

Creamy Carrot Soup with Scallions and Poppy Seeds (left)
Creamy Parsnip Soup with Prosciutto
Creamy Broccoli Soup with Croutons

Moist, Flavorful Roast Turkey

Moist, Flavorful Roast Turkey

Grace Parisi blends ingredients like lemons or pecans into a butter that she rubs all over the turkey.

Roast Turkey with Lemon and Chives
Roast Turkey with Fried Sage and Pecans (left)
Roast Turkey with Pickled Jalapeno-Paprika Gravy

Sweet, Tart Cranberry Sauce

Sweet, Tart Cranberry Sauce

Cranberries only need to be cooked for a few minutes before they burst and form a sauce.

Jellied Cranberry Sauce with Fuji Apple (left)
Cranberry, Clementine and Pumpkin Seed Conserve
Cranberry-and-Dried-Fruit Compote

Rich, Savory Baked Stuffing

Rich, Savory Baked Stuffing

After tossing the ingredients and spreading them in a pan, chill the stuffing for at least an hour before baking. This ensures that the bread soaks up the liquid—key to a stuffing that’s crisp on top and moist within.

Bacon, Onion and Rye Bread Stuffing (left)
Shiitake Mushroom-and-Fresh Herb Stuffing
Whole Grain Stuffing with Apples, Sausage and Pecans

Bright, Tender Braised Greens

Bright, Tender Braised Greens

Boiling kale before sautéing it is key to making it tender. If the stems and center veins are very tough, remove them: Fold the kale leaves in half with the vein side out, then pull up on the stems.

Kale with Currants, Lemon and Olives (left)
Kale and Water Chestnuts in Curried Cream
Kale with Shiitake Mushrooms

Silky, Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Silky, Creamy Mashed Potatoes

For ultrafluffy potatoes, press them through a ricer. To achieve a similar texture, pass the potatoes through a food mill or a fine-mesh sieve.

Mashed Potatoes with Crispy Shallots (left)
Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Fresh Thyme
Mashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash

Caramelized Autumn Roasted Vegetables

Caramelized Autumn Roasted Vegetables

When roasting winter vegetables, be sure to chop them about the same size, so they cook at the same rate. And toss them at least once while they’re in the oven, so they brown evenly.

Maple-Ginger-Roasted Vegetables with Pecans (left)
Spiced Vegetables with Pomegranate Seeds
Roasted Vegetables with Fresh Herbs

Classic, Custardy Pumpkin Pie

Classic, Custardy Pumpkin Pie

To create a crisp crust on the bottom, partially bake the pie shell before adding the filling. If the edge starts to darken too much, cover it with a pie shield or strips of foil.

Classic Pumpkin Pie (left)
Pumpkin-Chiffon Pie
Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Pie

Published November 2009
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