Thanksgiving, Christmas and other winter holidays aren't traditionally celebrated in Turkey. That's why the menus and dishes many of us are familiar with at this time of year can't be found. The good news is, you can still create fantastic, exotic holiday fare using Turkish recipes.
You'll be happy to know that there are many ancient and classic Turkish dishes that truly compliment Thanksgiving, Christmas and other winter holiday menus.
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As an appetizer, I recommend Turkish stuffed artichoke bottoms. They look spectacular on the plate and are more than fancy enough for special occassions. The artichoke flavor is rich and goes well with the rest of the menu.
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Celeriac soup is a creamy, smooth soup with the delicate aroma of celery. It's easy to prepare and it goes perfectly with roast turkey and other holiday fare.
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Before the main course, I usually serve individual scoops of pomegranite sorbet or have small, shot-glass size glasses of pomegranite seeds as a part of each place setting for guests to enjoy as a palate cleanser between courses.
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Main Course: Roast Turkey With Rice And Chestnut Stuffing
For the main course, I recommend oven roasted turkey, cooked as you would normally roast it. The difference is the stuffing.
Rather than bread-based stuffing, Turkish cuisine prides itself with rice-based stuffings for their meat and poultry.
This recipe for oven-roasted turkey with rice, pine nut and currant stuffing has optional roasted chestnuts to help keep things more familiar. It's truly delicious.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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On The Side: Romano Beans In Olive Oil
You will also be happy to know there's a Turkish alternative to the second most important holiday dish – mashed potatoes. In Turkey, the dish is called “potato puree.”
It’s a buttery, milky and slightly chunky version of classic mashed potatoes. It goes perfectly with the turkey, stuffing and gravy you’ll make with the turkey juices.
If you’re tired of the same old steamed peas, carrots and pearl onions, try one of many Turkish vegetable side dishes prepared with olive oil. Celeriac and carrots or Romano beans make a wonderful alternative to old fashioned steamed vegetables.
What about sweet potatoes, you ask? Sweet potatoes are not native in Turkey and they aren’t used in traditional Turkish cooking.
You can find them here and there at specialty grocers in the big cities. I usually substitute boiled pumpkin for the sweet potato.
Just boil it until tender, press out the extra water with strainer, add butter, salt and pepper to taste, and there you have it. You can even add some brown sugar and marshmallows and bake it in the oven, just like sweet potatoes.
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No holiday menu would be complete without dessert, like pumpkin pie. I love pumpkin pie, but I often find I’m too full after the meal to really enjoy it.
I can offer you a much lighter Turkish pumpkin dessert without the crust.
Turkish candied pumpkin dessert packs just as much pumpkin punch as traditional pie without the extra carbs. It’s also very easy to prepare and looks beautiful too.
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Need a second dessert to offer? You can also try Turkish quince dessert. Another lovely, tender fruit dessert.
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No holiday meal would be complete without coffee or tea. Conclude your meal with a good, strong cup of Turkish coffee or freshly-brewed Turkish tea.
Garnish each cup or glass with a piece of Turkish delight and a small, decorative glass of flavored liqueur such as creme de menthe or amaretto. Let some Turkish tea and coffee culture enter your home this holiday season.