Saying no to turkey on Thanksgiving

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by babytiger, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. babytiger

    babytiger

    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I'm looking for some alternatives to turkey as the main for thanksgiving. I don't want a ham either.

    I thought about pork, maybe some sort of pork roast....maybe even pork belly. I also thought about seafood, maybe a seafood boil.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    177
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Prime Rib, Leg Lamb, Roast Filet Mignon, stuffed Roast Pork Loin to name a few.
     
  3. phaedrus

    phaedrus

    Messages:
    1,577
    Likes Received:
    142
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    To me it's just a tradition that I enjoy.  And it's normally the only time I roast a turkey in any given year.  But I suppose few of your guests would turn their noses up at prime rib or Chateaubriand.
     
  4. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,420
    Likes Received:
    645
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Growing up none of us liked turkey so mom would make a roast chicken or prime rib and there was always ham as well. 
     
  5. tylerm713

    tylerm713

    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    35
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Probably about half of the Thanksgiving meals that my family has had excluded turkey. We usually have seafood gumbo, blend of the bayou (hard to describe, but it's a seafood cassarole), oyster dressing...seeing a pattern here? When we do have poultry, we have turkey, but we also have pheasant, quail, chukar, and dove. And the turkey is almost always smoked or fried.
     
  6. babytiger

    babytiger

    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I should have mentioned too that it'll be a small Thanksgiving, with only 5 of us. I didn't mention beef before because my mom isn't into it and when she does eat beef, she wants it well done. That will be such a waste for a prime rib.

    Now quail sounds interesting. I've never made that at home.

    I'm now also considering porchetta or rack of lamb.
     
  7. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    177
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Cook whole rib  med rare> Slice her piece put in in hot Au Jus for 2-3 minutes  .Bingo !! hers is well done
     
  8. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    Goodness, there's an incredible number of non-turkey possibilties. How about a goose, for instance? Or a rack of lamb? Or a fresh ham? Game is readily available, nowdays, and would tie-in with the fall harvest theme of Thanksgiving.

    If you want to be truly traditional, there is no evidence that the Pilgrims had turkey at that famous meal. Just the oppostie, in fact. But they did have wildfowl. So duck would fit nicely.

    If you do opt for quail, two things to keep in mind. First, it will take two to three per serving. Second, quail generally comes one of two ways: whole or spatchcocked. Make sure you know which style you're getting, because they are usually cooked differently.
     
  9. tylerm713

    tylerm713

    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    35
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Babytiger, where are you from? This might help determine what's local.
     
  10. babytiger

    babytiger

    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Seafood is still on my mind because Dungeness season just opened. The problem is that hubby is picky about seafood. No crab (too much work), no mussels, no clams, and not the biggest lobster fan. My family is just complicated!
     
  11. babytiger

    babytiger

    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Cook At Home

    San Francisco
     
  12. tylerm713

    tylerm713

    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    35
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    I would go seafood then. Does your husband like any other crustaceans? What about fish? Or maybe oysters?

    Another option would be to contact local hunting guides and inquire about buying fowl from them after hunts. An outfit that we hunted with in South Dakota a few years ago sold of a lot of what their clients killed because they didn't have the ability to take them home. I would highly recommend this over buying any domesticated fowl.
     
  13. ishbel

    ishbel

    Messages:
    3,147
    Likes Received:
    40
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    We British don't celebrate Thanksgiving... but, we do eat turkey at Christmas. 

    My family alternate with a goose - do you have geese as an alternative?
     
  14. babytiger

    babytiger

    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I think I can get a goose, but I'll have to look for it. I made it once. It was kind of a novelty for my family. After all that work, they like Chinese BBQ goose better, which is not something I can do at home.

    My husband eat some fish, as long as they aren't bones involve. He eats scallops if they're pan seared. Nothing else in shells. When it comes to lobsters and crabs, the rest of the family generally like them boiled. I'm thinking if there could be a way that I can incorporate some fish in a seafood boil, or just have to make something else to go with the seafood boil.

    Another thing I have to consider is the amount of food. We're not big eaters, but I tend to always cook too much. So, there will most likely be leftovers. I need something that can stand up well for at least the next 2 days after.

    Maybe it'll be easier to just go out to a Chinese restaurant. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/confused.gif
     
  15. french fries

    french fries

    Messages:
    5,272
    Likes Received:
    344
    Exp:
    At home cook
    When I get tired of turkey I usually roast a capon. Just another option.
     
  16. tylerm713

    tylerm713

    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    35
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    I say cook whatever your family likes. Thanksgiving is about enjoying good food and being with the ones you love, not cooking from a list of "acceptable" dishes. For example, if your family likes seared scallops and risotto, then go for it. I think people get way too caught up on what is traditional when it comes to Thanksgiving. My family has started its own traditions when it comes to holiday food, and it's great. I would encourage you to do the same.
     
  17. kirstens

    kirstens

    Messages:
    258
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Slow-roasted duck with herbs (garlic, thyme, pepper, etc.) or duck with leeks, carrots in an olive gravy.
     
  18. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    Another option would be to contact local hunting guides and inquire about buying fowl from them after hunts.

    Considering how illegal this is on the Federal, and most state levels, I sincerely doubt that a guide or hunting lodge is going to admit, on a phone call from a stranger, that they do this.

    The exception is private enterprise hunting preserves. But those are pen-raised birds, and are considered to be chickens so far as the law is concerned.
     
  19. tylerm713

    tylerm713

    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    35
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Not sure about California, but I know several states sell licenses to commercial outfits to sell dressed game for consumption. Then again, you could always do some killin' yourself.
     
  20. dc sunshine

    dc sunshine

    Messages:
    2,753
    Likes Received:
    16
    Exp:
    Other
    We're the same as Ishbel here Down Under - no Thanksgiving, but for Christmas I often do a light seafood starter, then a roast pork leg. Then hubby loves a steamed fruit pudding with hot custard. Really handy on a hot summer's day, with all the trimmings.  It's a waste of time and effort as it's just too hot to be cooking it and heats you and the house up too much.  But, It would be ideal for a cold winter's day with a simple creamy soup instead of the seafood.  Loads of different types of bread with real butter.  Only trouble is, you can't move for a few hours after that, and we crash out for a rest with the air-con. and fan on the sofa!

    Personally, I'd prefer to do a cold seafood starter, family style (for example, oysters au naturale, cooked then chilled tiger prawns, some scallops in a spicy lemon and parsley dressing) to share with just a light salad and crusty bread.

    Then I'd go a pot roast of beef, served simply with the veg from the bottom of the pot, sauce reduced a little and thickened with cornflour.  Then something light and icy cold for afters.  Like frozen yoghurt with fresh berries.  If bony fish is off the menu, try some shark.  There are no bones and in my mind the flavour is better than many fish.  Just S&P then gentle fry in butter and a bit of oil.  Can accompany with a dish of roast veg., tossed in rosemary, cracked black pepper, and thyme.

    I know my main is hot, at least the rest is cold.   With the pot roast you would get a couple more meals out of it once you add some more fresh cooked veg.  Or make it into a pan toasted sanwich with some nice cheese and arugula.