Thanksgiving 2011 — Semi-Mediterranean Theme

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I decided to do something a little different this year and add some Mediterranean flare to Thanksgiving.  For the traditionalist, I rounded it off with some traditional fare.  The centerpiece of Thanksgiving is the bird so I went with a Mediterranean Turkey.  There are no recipes that I could find for such a preparation (not many turkeys in that part of the world), so I went my own route.

THE MENU:

Turkey with Za’atar and Pomegranate Molasses – picked up both in the international section of Wegmans.  The Pomegranate Molasses just happened to be on the shelf below the za’atar.  I first brined the turkey in pomegranate cider with apples and oranges  . . . and, of course, garlic.  Before roasting, I generously coated the bird with a mixture of the za’atar and molasses inside and out.

Cornbread Stuffing with Merguez Sausage — This is a twist on my normal cornbread and sausage stuffing.  Marguez is a Moroccan sausage typically made with lamb, beef or a combination of the two.  I could not find Merguez so I made my own with a mixture of pork and lamb.  The pork is not traditional (again they do not eat much pork in that part of the world), but goes better with turkey than beef would have.

Potato and Celery Root Gratin with Leeks — This recipe was from the November issue of Bon Appetit.  Very good.

Roasted Squash and Yams — Cut up various squashes and a few yams, tossed them with EVOO and Za’atar and roasted them at 425 for 50 minutes.

Arugula and Mint Salad with Oil-Cured Black Olives, Oranges, and Ricotta Salata — Olive and mint continued the Mediterranean theme.

Cranberry, Fig, and Pinot Noir Chutney — Not your mother’s sweet/sour cranberry sauce.  A rich, savory taste that perfectly complemented the meal.  I doubled the recipe and still had little left.  I made another double batch over the weekend.

Cranberry, Orange Relish —  for the traditionalists in the crowd

Za’atar, Feta, Olives, and Green Onions Quick Bread — A savory bread for the Mediterranean theme.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread — for those of us who do not care for feta and olives.

Great flavors and a step up from the normal Turkey-day fare.  17 people at the house, a 21 lb. bird and double recipes all the way around.  We even had a few left-overs.

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