A Truly Legit Thanksgiving Feast in Paris
You wouldn’t imagine the craziness that happens in the expat community in France come Thanksgiving. The big questions: Where to find pumpkin puree and a Turkey!?
Turkey aka dinde is actually pretty popular in France, but not the whole bird. I read a funny article the other day about a family that had ordered a turkey from their local farmer and instead of a turkey they got a note apologizing that the turkey population hadn’t faired that well this fall and he hoped they would be ok with a pheasant. Another story talked about a butcher that meticulously sewed on pieces of skin to the turkeys he had because they had come to him without all of their skin in tact. But that’s just gross. shudder
Let’s just say if you’re looking for a whole turkey- it’s difficult to find at a reasonable price. Then there’s the question of cooking it. Most people here have mini ovens that look a lot like toaster ovens. They’re great for small casseroles, a couple trays of cookies (more like several trays at 5 cookies a sheet), or even a quick slice of toast if you don’t have a toaster, but turkeys, well, I’m not really sure how that would fit.
How to solve both of these truly important questions! Well- turkey breast and legs of course instead of a whole turkey & bribe a friend from the US to bring over canned Libby’s pumpkin puree (Thanks Jen!)! et voila! Problem solved!
The usual bunch got together minus two awesome peeps, Tina and Vincent, but plus another awesome person- Ian of the Baking Chin. We had a pretty early Thanksgiving (Nov. 10), because one of us was going to the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade on Thanksgiving… JEALOUS!!!!
Un petit apéro or two.. to start. :-) Jess, you know the way to my heart! Poinsettias made with some bubbly, Cointreau, and cranberry juice.
While we made a pumpkin pie- using the recipe off the can of course. Seriously the only way to go. Ian made the pie crust from scratch and… by memory. Me = impressed.
Then there was the heat up shuffle before we all sat down to eat! Four things in the oven at once, gravy on the stove, mashed potatoes in the microwave!
Our amazing menu included:
Pain de Compagne & All American Dinner Rolls
Turkey Breasts wrapped in Bacon & Turkey Legs
Roasted Parsnips and Carrots with a Honey/Dijon Sauce
Now I’ve never had English stuffing before and it was delicious!! It’s so different from the stuffing I’m used to in the States. A lot more like meatloaf made with bread crumbs, sage, English sausages and several other things. Baked in the oven and then sliced.
I made my family’s stuffing passed down from my grandmother. It’s unique in that it uses both cornbread and biscuits, lots of sage, sausage, celery/onions/garlic, and eggs to bind. A lot more crumbly than an English stuffing and oh my goodness, heaven. I can’t believe I actually used to avoid this at Thanksgiving in the past!! I made both the cornbread (with polenta because corn meal is difficult to find) and buttermilk biscuits from scratch after an intense day of shopping with Jenni and Tina. haha!! Then combined it all into the awesomeness that is stuffing.
Jess made the turkey, gravy, and green bean casserole- from scratch. No canned condensed soup here!! Here’s the recipe she used from Martha Stewart. It was a-mazing!!! Just a few changes to the recipe: zucchini instead of mushrooms, a little bit of gouda, and some crispy store-bought onions for the top. yum!
I refused to think about the 8K I was running the next day. Full plate! Pile it up! nom!
Holy moly everything was amazing. I think we all had seconds and thirds. Then after a walk around the neighborhood we came back for pie! and a discussion about whipped cream in a can (creme chantilly) or as it was written on the can “creme gourmande”! And oh drank more wine and cider. Then we couldn’t walk but that’s what Thanksgiving’s are made of. :-D
Just a couple more days until Thanksgiving in the States! Maybe I’ll post my Grandma’s stuffing recipe? :-D