Thanksgiving foods

November 21, 2004

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but there’s one thing I’ve never resolved properly in my mind: turkey and fixings taste uniquely awful with Korean food. They don’t even look good together — the rich colors of Korean food make the American stuff seem even more doughy and colorless. We used to have them together when we were kids, but even now the thought of eating a slice of turkey with kimchi, or galbi with sage-flavored stuffing, makes me quiver with dread.

My parents are coming up for the holiday this year, so for the first time in many years we’ll be cooking. Any suggestions as to what I can cook? Should we go all Korean, all American, or is there a possible compromise?

6 Responses to “Thanksgiving foods”

  1. pamela Says:

    kimchee compromise or bust, hmmm…
    i was thinking kimchi is just pickled cabbage, and i was thinking turkeys are too big anyway…

    so, a compromise would be a cabbage-chopped turkey salad,
    beside a smaller bird such as herb-sausage levain bread-stuffed quail.

    so here you go:
    Cabbage-Chopped Turkey Salad (from better homes cookbook)
    prep: 20 minutes
    bake: 5 minutes
    oven: 350 degrees F
    makes: 4 main-dish servings
    1 3-oz package ramen noodles
    1/4 cup slivered or sliced almonds
    2 tablespoons sesame seeds
    3 cups shredded Napa or green cabbage (ab out 1/2 of 1-pound head)
    2 cups chopped cooked turkey (or chicken)
    1 cup pea pods, halved crosswise
    1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (2)
    1/4 cup chopped red sweet pepper
    3 tablespoons salad oil
    2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
    package of cranberries

    1. save seasoning packet from noodles for another use. Break up noodles; place in 15x10x1in baking pan with almonds and sesame seeds. Bake in 350 degree F oven for 5-8 minutes or until golden, stirring once. set aside.
    2. In large salad bowl, toss cabbage, turkey, pea pods, green onions, and red sweet pepper.
    3. For dressing, in screw-top jar combine salad oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Cover and shake well. Pour over cabbage mixture. Add toasted noodle mixture, toss to coat, serve. Top with dried cranberries.

    Herb-sausage levain bread-stuffed quail
    (stuffing from Aleta Watson, posted in SJMN, quail from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table as published in
    Stuffing serves 8 (so adjust according to servings, or bake leftover in separate pan)
    1 Quail per guest (assume 4 servings below)
    Raise oven to 450 degrees F
    4 semi-boneless quail, wing tips trimmed, rinsed and patted dry
    1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
    8 cups bread in 1/2-inch cubes (find levain bread at cosentino’s or the like)
    1/2 pound jimmy dean (hot) sausage
    1 small onion, diced
    2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
    1 tart green apple, peeled, cored, chopped
    1/4 cup raisins (optional)
    1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
    1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
    2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
    2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
    1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
    2 eggs
    1 cup turkey or chicken broth
    salt and pepper

    Tear levain bread into 1/2-in rough pieces, place in bowl, set aside.
    In non-stick pan, brown sausage, break up into small chunks.
    Remove sausage with slotted spoon, add it to bread bowl.
    Reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat, add onion and celery, saute on medium heat until translucent, 3-5 minutes.
    Add apple (and raisins) and cook 2-3 minutes longer.
    Mix in herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley).
    Add mixture to bread bowl and toss.
    Beat eggs with 1/2 cup broth, stir into bread bowl.
    Add remaining broth and toss well.
    Sprinkle cavity of each quail with salt and pepper, then stuff a little of the bread mixture inside. Season the outside of the quail with salt and pepper and tie legs together with kitchen twine.

    Heat oil over high heat in a heavy ovenproof sauté pan just large enough to hold the quail without touching each other.

    Add quail and sear, turning occasionally, until golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the quail, for 6 to 9 minutes;
    the breast meat should still be a rosy color.

    Remove string from quail before serving.

  2. amorson Says:


    I would go for the combination. Some of the American foods may look dull but thats part of the Thanksgiving holiday spirit. On the other hand, no need to exclude the tasty Korean food all of you like.

    Bon Appetite

  3. Matt Says:

    My mom used to do that at Thanksgiving: cook Chinese food and American food. Usually the American food really was just a turkey, some corn, mashed potatoes, and gravy. That was about it. Whichever relatives’ house we went over for Thanksgiving would always do that.

    Unfortunately, everyone is all grown up and married and a few people have kids. All we ever do for Thanksgiving is gather at a Chinese restaurant.

    Even so, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday too. It’s the only worth going home for.

  4. matthew Says:

    we don’t have the western/eastern food problem. we just cook a turkey and pile on the starches. but it’s always SO MUCH FOOD!

    i think last year, i suggested we go out to eat instead but that got shot down, for good reasons; i do love a turkey sandwich the next day.

  5. mapgirl Says:

    I have to agree, Korean food is not compatible with traditional Thanksgiving foods. There was kimchee at this year’s dinner (hosted by old family friends), but it went untouched b/c the host’s son just finished culinary school and impressed us with a fabulous brined turkey.

    But all the same, I went home and stuffed my face with kimchee-chigae, fresh oi-kimchee, and mandoo all weekend long!

    I agree, Korean parents are uber-useful! I love mine.

    Great website!

  6. Zahid Says:

    Why not try Pakistani food, Chicken Tikka.

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