Taking Thanksgiving Classics for a Spin with Pizza, Harissa and More
What’s great about Thanksgiving is the tradition of it all. Turkey, football, arguments with your in-laws, that ever-present can of magenta cranberry sauce. But that element of predictability is also what’s not so great about Thanksgiving dinner: Eating the same menu year after year gets a little, well, boring. This year, we wanted to mix it up. Instead of going for shock value – you won’t find any chocolate turkeys on our table – we took the classics for a spin. Sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, Parker House rolls and mac ‘n’ cheese all got remixed just enough to make them a bit surprising while still feeling comfortably approachable. Some dishes, we reinterpreted as pizzas. We put our own spin on others, then cooked them in our high heat ovens to really show off those flavors.
Harissa-Spiced Sweet Potato Pizza — Instead of sweet potatoes covered with gobs of marshmallow and shimmery lumps of brown sugar, we took a spicy (and vegan!) detour. Harissa, a peppery North African spice blend, adds smoky heat to the mild sweetness of the sweet potatoes, while serranos, parsley, and pickled red onions add heat, bright color and tang for a great Thanksgiving pizza that works equally well all winter long
Shingled Sweet Potatoes — We didn’t toss out all the classic flavor profiles, though. Our Shingled Sweet Potatoes get covered in cinnamon, maple syrup and pecan to entice staunch traditionalists, while the promise of heat from pink peppercorns, Aleppo pepper and harissa beckon to the more adventurous eaters.
Jessica Merchant's Fontina Mac and Cheese — We’re fans of a casserole (or hot dish or covered dish, or whatever you’d like to call it), and especially so when that dish is covered in cheese. Like anyone, we had to have some cheesy options on our Thanksgiving table, we just didn’t want them to feel too expected. Jessica Merchant, the Everyday Dinners cookbook author behind the food blog How Sweet Eats, brought us this mac and cheese that’s so gooey and warm, it’s hard to say refuse — even among a feast. Instead of cheddar alone, she uses fontina and Parmesan to give this dish its particular bite.
Brussels Sprout Gratin Pizza — Our Thanksgiving Brussels sprout pizza is another riff on a classic holiday dish. Here, the ingredients for Brussels sprouts au gratin – thinly sliced sprouts, Gruyère, cheddar, and bacon – are deconstructed and used to top a pizza that’s sharp, gooey, and ever so slightly healthy. Want a veggie option? Just omit the bacon.
Parker House Rolls — You didn’t think we’d forget the bread basket, did you? Our most traditional side is our take on Parker House rolls. Much like the original, our rolls are buttery, soft and tender. But instead of a fold in the center, the way the Boston Parker House Hotel used to do, we shape ours into balls and batch bake them. When you pull them apart, prepare for heavenly steam and insides you’ll struggle to stop devouring. We love using them to sop up gravy or for day-after sandwiches.
While there’s always going to be a place on the table for your mother’s grandmother’s sister’s famous corn casserole (or whatever your family’s can’t-miss dish is), we hope you’ll also step outside the box this year with one of these slightly less-than-traditional dishes.
Planning an even bigger meal and want some more options? Check out these recipes:
- Cast Iron-Baked Green Bean Casserole with Fried Onions
- Candied Pepita Pumpkin Pie
- Cast Iron Brown Butter Griddle Stuffing with Chestnuts and Herbs
- Marshmallow- and Pecan-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole
- Wood-Fired Turkey Breasts with Ginger-Jalapeño-Cranberry Sauce
And of course, for everything you’re too full to finish, there’s our Ultimate Thanksgiving Leftovers (Pan) Pizza!