Southern Thanksgiving Menu

Southern Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving in the South is a grand affair and family and friends gather around to break bread and enjoy a great meal. In this article we are going to discuss traditional Southern dishes, cooked specially for Thanksgiving.
A Southern Thanksgiving menu consists of delectable food cooked in the Southern style. Slow cooked chowders, deep-fried turkey, giblet gravy, candied yams, and creamy mashed potatoes are some of the must haves in any Southern style Thanksgiving menu. Southern cooks take great pride in the fact that none of their Thanksgiving food is brought from the supermarket and everything from the roast turkey to the cranberry sauce is prepared at home. No shortcuts are used for making the dishes, and even the desserts are cooked from scratch. Southerners are well-known for their warmth, hospitality, and the great food that they serve with so much love. So this Thanksgiving, why not try out some Southern Thanksgiving dishes.

Classic Southern Style Thanksgiving Menu

For a classic and traditional Southern Thanksgiving, you will need a menu that is the epitome of Southern cooking. Of course, the main dish is the turkey, whether roasted or deep-fried. But for a Southern style Thanksgiving menu that is truly reflective of this region, you need to cook the food in their unique style and method. Given below is a classic Southern Thanksgiving dinner menu.
  • Deep-fried Turkey
  • Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Nutmeg
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Creamy Mashed Potatoes
  • Candied Yams
  • Cornbread Stuffing
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Bread and Sausage Stuffing
  • Turkey Giblet Gravy
  • Syllabub
  • Poached Pear with Spiked Cream
Here is another variation of the traditional menu.
  • Simple Roast Turkey
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Pickled Oysters
  • Corn Bread-pecan Dressing
  • Sautéed Green Beans with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
  • Spicy Collard Greens
  • Cranberry Salad
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie
  • Ambrosia Salad
All these might look like a lot and might seem impossible to cook. But the trick here is to do the preparation well in advance and cook things like cranberry sauce, pecan and pumpkin pies a day before. Start thawing the turkey at least three days ahead so that you can roast it or deep-fry it. Thawing the turkey ahead is very important, otherwise the turkey will taste dry and bland. Brining the turkey one day in advance will ensure that the turkey tastes moist and the meat is juicy and succulent. The whole roasted turkey is the main highlight of the table, so, getting a good golden brown and even color on the bird is very important from both taste and presentation point of view. To get a roasted turkey that is crisp and golden on the outside and soft and juicy inside, marinating the turkey in apple cider or applying a dry rub of spices is very important. A bit of brown or demerara sugar added to the marinade will result in the perfect golden color on the turkey. If you are roasting the whole turkey, wrap the breast in aluminum foil to prevent it from overcooking and drying out. With the gizzard and liver, make homemade gizzard gravy. Use good quality white or red wine while deglazing the pan for making the gravy.

For preparing the bread and sausage stuffing, toast the bread two days ahead and store in refrigerator. Mashed potatoes should be made with baking potatoes or russet potatoes that have quite a bit of starch in it. This will ensure that the potatoes taste creamy and smooth in texture. Having a potato mill to make the mash will save you lot of effort and time and you can get ahead with other preparations. Slow cooked casseroles and soups can be made a day ahead too to save you a lot of time and hassle on the Thanksgiving day. Side dishes should be cooked on Thanksgiving to retain its flavor and color.
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