Last Thursday 23rd November was Thanksgiving, one of America’s most beloved annual holidays (in part because it kicks off the so-called ‘Holiday Season’!)
The origins of Thanksgiving date back to 1621 when a group of English pilgrims in present-day Massachusetts shared a feast with a tribe of Native Americans to celebrate a plentiful harvest.
Early Thanksgiving revellers feasted on fowl and beef, rather than a traditional turkey so no-one knows for sure why turkey became the cornerstone of Thanksgiving dinner, although it is likely to be because the flightless bird is native to the North Americas.
We were delighted when earlier this year, we received an enquiry from a New York couple based in the UK. They wanted to gather together some of the new friends they had made whilst living here, and show them what their holiday was all about.
Chef Tom got to work on a canapé menu for their Thanksgiving Drinks Evening. Mixing traditional ingredients like pumpkin and turkey, with American staples like maple syrup, Cajun chicken and marshmallow, Tom then added his own twist to create a delicious range of nine canapés.
Guests were thrilled with the results with one declaring it was “Heston Blumenthal does Thanksgiving”!
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- Roast pumpkin soup with crispy sage & cornbread
#ChefTomSays: “This was a modern take on a classic pumpkin soup. The rich pumpkin veloute was frothed and served like a cappuccino with a sage foam on top. Served with miniature buttermilk corn breads”
- Maple roasted beetroot with goat’s cheese & pine nut sablé
- Smoked salmon with avocado butter on old Milwaukee Rye bread
#ChefTomSays: “I used a specially made Milwaukee rye bread from my German bread supplier ‘Degustibus’ for this recipe. The bread is cooked with cocoa powder & treacle to give a richness & intense flavour”
- Cajun chicken brochette with succotash salsa
#ChefTomSays: “Succotash (meaning “broken corn kernels”) is a food dish consisting primarily of sweet corn with lima beans or other shell beans. Other ingredients may be added including tomatoes, green or sweet red peppers, and okra. Combining a grain with a legume provides a dish that is high in all essential amino acids. Because of the relatively inexpensive and more readily available ingredients, the dish was popular during the Great Depression in the United States. Succotash is a traditional dish of many Thanksgiving celebrations in New England as well as in Pennsylvania and other states.”
- Southern style green bean & pancetta rolls
- Chestnut, cranberry & apple filo cups
- Parmesan & grits bonbons with spicy mayonnaise
#ChefTomSays: “Traditionally grits (corn meal) would be cooked like polenta and served as creamy porridge often as breakfast. But it’s also popular as a side dish with Thanksgiving dinner. I took the part baked cornmeal and used it to coat the parmesan bon bons to give an extra crispy texture & used through the cheese mixture as well”
- Miniature traditional roast turkey popovers with orange & bourbon cranberry sauce
#ChefTomSays: “I made miniature Yorkshire puddings cooked in turkey dripping & filled them with all the typical Thanksgiving roast ingredients: creating a meal in one small bite!”
- Sweet potato, marshmallow & coconut cones
#ChefTomSays: “I took a classic Thanksgiving side ‘pumpkin smores’ and made mini coconut coted cones & filled them with a rich sweet potato puree using condensed milk bourbon. Topped with caramelised marshmallow & shaved coconut”