While the French don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, so many great French recipes, techniques, and ingredients work splendidly with the foods we traditionally enjoy at this holiday. So, whether you’re looking for a few French touches on your Thanksgiving table, or want to go all out with a French theme, here are some great French ideas for Thanksgiving.
My French Thanksgiving Menu
My French Thanksgiving Appetizers
Promise me you won’t go insane on the nibbles and sips you serve before dinner. Why? Firstly, you shouldn’t knock yourself out—as there’s so much to do on Thanksgiving Day. Secondly, why let your guests spoil their appetites before your marvelous feast? Keep it simple with:
• French Mulled Wine Recipe: I got this vin chaud recipe for Alsatian Glüwein from Chef David Baruthio, a native of Alsace. Je l’adore!
• Gougères: You can make these ahead. Today, even. They freeze beautifully.
• Tapenade Served in Creative Ways: Honestly–make up a batch of Green Olive Tapenade or Black Olive Tapenade, like right now, and you’ll be set. Put tapenade on crackers with cheese or hummus. Into cherry tomatoes. On Deviled Eggs (super good). You can’t go wrong.
My French Thanksgiving Main-Course Buffet
It’s true. Normally, the French eat in courses especially with guests. But if you, like me, are planning on hosting a houseful, it’s hard to pull off all those sit-down courses. That’s why I’m going to do a buffet of great French foods. Here’s what will be on my buffet:
• Turkey with Herbes de Provence: Because herbes de Provence make the roast holiday bird as French as it will ever be! I have not, personally, developed a French turkey recipe, but I’ve definitely used HdP on my roast turkey many a time! I always trust recipes from Williams-Sonoma—so this is my pick for my French Thanksgiving menu this year.
• French Roasted Beet Salad: Because I love the colors and because it’s so French.
• French Green Bean Casserole: Because I have to have a Green Bean Casserole, but it’s better with Comté cheese!
• French Scalloped Potatoes (Gratin Dauphinois): Because they’re so luscious and creamy, you won’t need gravy!
My Thanksgiving French Cheese Course
I’m going to have a fine old time heading to my local cheese shop to taste a few options. Of course, I’m always a huge fan of Red Hawk cheese (a fabulous washed-rind cheese), and any kind of French Pyrenees Sheep’s-milk cheese, like Ossau Iraty. And, I’ll chose a soft-ripened goat cheese. That way, I’ll have the Cow’s Milk, Sheep’s Milk, and Goat’s Milk triumvirate covered.
PS: Because I’ve used Comté and Blue cheeses in my main course, I’ll avoid those in the cheese course. (And if you think you can’t serve a cheese course just because you’ve put cheese in your main course, get that silly notion out of your head right now! The French do it all the time!)
My French Dessert for Thanksgiving
Oh…this is a tough one. I just love Pecan Pie, and I’ve served it at every Thanksgiving meal I’ve ever thrown. But it’s SO not French. Can I get a pass on this and serve it anyway?
Okay, then. How about this insane French Apple Custard Pie from the magazine Cuisine at Home? It’s a beauty, let me tell you.
I’m still making my Pecan Pie…though I’ll serve it alongside the lovely French recipe, for sure.
Enjoy. And Happy Thanksgiving!