Turkey Alternatives

For many, thanksgiving is synonymous with turkey. But sometimes we don’t want to go through the hassle of cooking that massive bird. Some of us have small families and don’t want more leftover turkey then what was consumed on the fateful day. There is no shame in not having turkey on Thanksgiving. Here are some equally tasty alternatives you may want to explore this year.

Plenty of Other Birds:
Need to feed a smaller family? Pick a smaller bird. I love a roast chicken. It takes less time, is easier to handle, and has more flavor. But chicken is typical. For a special occasion, why not go for a special bird. Duck is wonderfully fatty and tender. Sear it until the skin is crispy then roast it in the oven until the inside is cooked through. Cornish Game Hens are also a fun alternative. Another very flavorful bird, each is small, so every guest can have their own.

Where’s The Beef?
Who doesn’t love a good steak? There are so many elegant options when it comes to beef. Prime rib looks great and tastes great too. Plus, when cooked right, the outer parts will be more well done while the inner cuts will stay rare, pleasing all your guests. I like bone-in ribeye’s. They are flavorful but tender. I like to slice them before serving as a full steak is likely too much for each guest.

The Lamb Lies Down on Your Table:
In many cultures, lamb is a special occasion food. Whether it be succulent lamb chops or a tender leg, its sweet and gentle flavor is a crowd pleaser. As a meat you likely do not cook often, it also elevates the meal as something special. Be sure to cook it with lots of fresh herbs to complement its wonderful flavor.

Ham It Up:
A nice spiral ham is the center piece of many other holidays so why not Thanksgiving? It is easy to cook, simple to serve, and produces wonderful leftovers. If ham isn’t your things, there are plenty of other pork products to go around. Thick cut pork chops, juicy pork tenderloin, or slow cooked shoulder are all lovely options.

Fish are Friends:
For those who do not eat red meat, a nice piece of fish goes a long way. Not to mention, fish brings a light touch to what can be a very heavy eating day. A beautiful fillet of salmon is usually a crowd pleaser. Trout almondine is a lovely meal for two. Why not try cooking a whole fish, like bronzini?

A Very Veggie Thanksgiving:
With meat as the centerpiece of this fall extravaganza, vegetarians are left to sift through meatless sides. But there are plenty of star dishes that do not need to include meat. A vegetarian lasagna feeds a crowd and looks pretty at the center of the table. The same goes for eggplant parmesan. Consider a roasted squash. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making a separate staring dish, why not have a side dish only Thanksgiving. Supersize the mac and cheese. Make extra mash potatoes. The sides are my favorite part of Thanksgiving anyway.