Having just moved to London in September, I knew I would miss the Thanksgiving holiday. Shauna suggested coming to Dublin and having a Thanksgiving celebration this weekend. Still adjusting to London and having no money, Shauna booked my flight and I was all set for my trip! Having Saturday to look forward to, really made Thanksgiving easier knowing everyone at home was with their families for the long weekend.
I arrived in at 11pm on Friday night after a long week of work and being sick to a “Welcome Jess!” sign from Shauna and Rory! We then headed to The Blue Light for a couple of drinks. It was a beautiful night and we could see all of Dublin city lights from up there. We then made it home where we continued to chat and catch up with a bottle of wine until 4am.
Saturday was a slow start, even though we knew we had to start cooking! Woke up to coffee and a bagel with cream cheese and lox – an absolute surprise from Rory after I had said how much I missed it the night before!
After months of planning our menu and pinning to our Thanksgiving Pinterest board, it was time to finally start cooking and hope it all turned out well – we had to show the Irish what a true Thanksgiving meal was. Our Menu was as follows:
Veggies & Homemade Sweet Potato Hummus
Mom’s Famous Mushroom Tarts
Brie & Cream Crackers
Courgette & Stilton Soup with Garlic Parmesan Croutons
Roast Turkey & Gravy
Spinach, Artichoke & Brie Stuffing
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Butternut Squash & Red Onion
Honey Comb Ice Cream
First things first, I had to get the ice cream made and turkey in the oven. Homemade Ice Cream is the simplest thing to make – just whip 1 pint of cream and add a tin of condensed milk and continue to whip until it holds shape (don’t over whip!). Then add any flavors you fancy and pop in the freezer! Shauna thought honeycomb ice cream would go well with the Apple Pie.
For the turkey, I think the most important thing is to order your turkey well in advance and ensure you know where it’s coming from – fresh and organic. First, set the oven and prep the pan. Oven temp/time depends on the turkey. Oven was set to 190 for 220 minutes for our. Prep the pan by putting two long bits of tin foil cross ways so you can cover the turkey completely. Then add the turkey to the pan. I mixed EVOO, Rosemary, Dill, and S&P together and coated the entire turkey with it. You can add any herbs you like and try to get the mixture under the skin to ensure moisture throughout. Then add streaky bacon all over the turkey, cover up with the tin foil, and pop in the hour for about 2 and a half hours. Take out the turkey, uncover the turkey and remove the bacon. Baste the turkey with all the juices from the pan and put back in the oven for an hour, basting every 20 min or so.
A day of cooking in the Ryan family is not without some music playing and a drink in hand. Rory had our G&Ts topped up all day while we had some Mumford & Sons and Beatles iTunes Radio playing.
The dressing that we made was Brie, Artichoke, and Spinach from Emerile. Shauna has made it before – but it was delicious! It’s a nice alternative to the traditional sausage stuffing. Shauna had already made the soup, cranberry sauce, mushroom tarts (although we had to make more!), and hummus the day before – so just had to reheat and serve.
I’m not a huge fan of the classic Thanksgiving Desserts, so I think I would have tried something different if we hadn’t been cooking a traditional Thanksgiving for our Irish guests. I made an Apple Pie adaptation from Martha Stewart and Pumpkin Pie – which is almost impossible to make due to lack of pumpkin puree in Ireland. The pies were ready to bake along with our last-minute additional mushroom tarts!
Rory was in charge of the potatoes – Goose Fat Roasted Potatoes and Mashed Sweet Potatoes. Both were delish! Shauna decided to do roast broccoli instead of green beans as a last minute decision.
So with all of that we were ready to eat! We had the turkey, gravy, stuffing, and potatoes all our buffet style and the rest on the table.
We set the table and Shauna had made cards with Thanksgiving jokes inside all of them! Such a cute idea.
“Why did the Turkey cross the Road?
It was the Chicken’s day off!”
Everything turned out great and as we sat down to eat our Irish guests raised their glasses and cheered “Slainte!”.
The day was a massive success and the McCarthy’s really enjoyed all the food! We didn’t even have the normal leftovers – hardly any turkey and just some stuffing and mashed potatoes! After dinner we did the Thanksgiving stretch which highly entertained everyone – and I don’t recommend doing on a hardwood floor. Followed by Guesstures and Catch Phrase with dessert.
Now to start planning for Christmas – there is a lot of pinning and planning to do!