Try a new approach to the traditional holiday meal--take it outside.
A Harvest Menu
- Sugar-and-Spice Cured Turkey
- Crabmeat-and-Oyster Dressing
- Marinated Asparagus
- Cream of Curried Peanut Soup
- Spinach-and-Cranberry Salad With Warm Chutney Dressing
- Brussels Sprouts With Apples
- Baked Sweet-and-Savory Mashed Potatoes
- Elegant Pumpkin-Walnut Layered Pie
If it's still warm at your house in November, consider having the whole Thanksgiving meal outdoors. The crackle of crisp fall leaves beneath your feet, the warm glow of an autumn sun, and the earthy smell of the air give your celebration a closer connection to the land. Here we offer you a twist on the traditional menu and easy decorating ideas that will let you move your casual feast outside. We used bright-eyed pansies, Indian corn, colorful gourds, and pumpkins in rustic colors to tie together the harvest theme of our meal. If you can't bear to be more than an arm's length from the big game, know that this menu is equally tantalizing in a cozy dining room.
One day ahead:
- Stir together spice mixture for Sugar-and-Spice Cured Turkey, and spread over turkey; cover and chill 8 hours.
- Cut brussels sprouts in half, and place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal and chill.
- Prepare long-grain and wild rice mix for Crabmeat-and-Oyster Dressing; cover and chill.
- Assemble Baked Sweet-and-Savory Mashed Potatoes (do not bake); cover and chill.
- Prepare Marinated Asparagus; cover and chill.
- Prepare and bake pastry leaves for Elegant Pumpkin-Walnut Layered Pie; store in an airtight container.
The morning of the gathering:
- Bake Elegant Pumpkin-Walnut Layered Pie; garnish with pastry.
3 1/2 hours ahead:
One hour ahead:
- Remove unbaked Baked Sweet-and-Savory Mashed Potatoes from refrigerator, and let stand 30 minutes. (It can stand up to 1 hour, if needed.)
- Assemble Crabmeat-and-Oyster Dressing.
- Prepare Brussels Sprouts With Apples; cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
45 minutes ahead:
- Prepare Cream of Curried Peanut Soup.
30 minutes ahead:
- Bake prepared Baked Sweet-and-Savory Mashed Potatoes.
20 minutes ahead:
10 minutes ahead:
- Reheat pan gravy for turkey.
"Thanksgiving With Family and Friends" is from the November 2002 issue of Southern Living.