I’ll admit it, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. While the origins of the holiday aren’t the happy story many would have you believe, the modern-day adaptation is a joyful occasion. All of the fun of a Christmas feast with none of the stress of gift finding- it’s a win-win situation for me. Since I’ve been in Austria, it’s hard to find the same foods to re-create the traditional Thanksgiving that you might be used to. If you follow this guide, you’ll have the closest thing to an authentic Turkey Day as you can!
You will need: Your favorite supermarket
No oven/ no time to roast a whole turkey? No problem! The rotisserie chicken from most Austrian supermarkets is actually delicious! As an alternative to a huge turkey (which can take forever to cook), the rotisserie chicken I’m talking about is ready to eat, seasoned, and seriously yummy.
2. The Taters
You will need: Small potatoes, butter, milk, salt, and pepper.
Mashed potatoes can be done two ways- the powdered potato (easy) way or the boiled potato (less easy) way. I always go boiled potatoes, just like my grandpa makes. I start by peeling small potatoes, cutting them into halves or quarters, and tossing them into boiling water. To check if they’re cooked, stick a fork into the potato while in the water- if it’s hard to do, they’re not ready. If the fork easily slides through, they’re done! Drain the water and mash the potatoes with some butter, milk, salt, and pepper.
3. (Get Lost in) The Sauce
You will need: Clean can, cranberries (one lb), cranberry juice, orange juice, and honey.
If you’re as attached to cranberry sauce as I am, it cannot be missed on Thanksgiving. While I am a heathen that likes the jelly-no real berries inside, but so much sugar- I have made my own sauce a few times when I crave that iconic taste. Make sure you have a clean container/mold for the sauce to set in, and something you can slide it out of easily (like a clean sauce can or a cake pan, I’m not picky). Take about a pound (half a kilo) of cranberries and wash them, getting rid of the ones that don’t look great. Add equal parts cranberry juice (not cocktail! Real juice!) and orange juice (I like to do about a quarter cup of each) and a whole cup of honey (yes I know it seems like a lot, you’ll live) to a big ol’ saucepan and bring it to a boil.
After it boils, reduce to a medium-low heat and simmer for around 5 minutes. Add the beautiful cranberries to this liquid and simmer for around 15 minutes. The berries should burst in this time! Don’t overcook them though, it won’t set up right if you do. Take it off the heat and rest for 5 minutes before pouring into the can/mold and placing in the fridge overnight. It’ll be ready to serve tomorrow!
4. The Taters (pt. 2)
You will need: Sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and marshmallows.
One type of potatoes not enough for you? Me either! Now introducing the brown butter marshmallow sweet potatoes! Is it a dessert or a regular side dish? Who cares, stop asking questions! (this one needs an oven, sorry) Start by peeling sweet potatoes, enough to fill a medium sized casserole dish. I like to cut them into quarters, but some people like to do eighths. Whatever floats your potato-based-boat. Next we’re making that beautiful brown butter sauce for the top. Add 2/3 cup PACKED brown sugar, 5-6 tbsp butter, 1/3 tsp cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, and a small palm of salt (around a half teaspoon) to a saucepan over medium heat until it boils. Stir the whole time until the sugar dissolves completely and then pour right over all of them potatoes.
Make sure all of the potatoes are coated in the sauce, then cover it with foil as tight as you can and stick it in the oven at 375 F/190 C. For 50 minutes, leave them be. Then, every 15-20 minutes, baste them in that syrup at the bottom until the potatoes are super tender. Up the temperature to 500 F/260 C and remove from the oven (PLEASE be careful). Remove the foil and top with marshmallow, mini or large (I’m personally a fan of the large ones but everyone has a preference). Add it back to the oven, uncovered, for about 3-5 minutes until those marshies start to melt/brown. Seriously this is like, one of the best Thanksgiving foods.
5. The Nastiness
You will need: Bad taste in vegetables.
Lastly, you can make green beans, I honestly do not care. Green beans are the Satan of vegetables and have no place at my Thanksgiving. Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.
(Side dishes of political disagreements optional)