Thanksgiving is fast approaching and what better way to give thanks than by getting together with your loved ones over drinks, dinner, and dessert. While we Americans love our apple pie, turkey, and cranberry sauce, lets face it, not all Americans are munching on that. We are a country of diversity and no where can that be seen more than in the cuisines of cultures that have made their way over from abroad. Here are four international dishes guaranteed to mix it up a little this Thanksgiving!
Side Dish: Pão de Queijo- Brazil
These Brazilian cheese balls are made with cassava flour, making them the perfect alternative to traditional dinner rolls. Plus, they’re gluten-free!
Milk — 1 cup
Oil or butter— 1/4 cup
Salt— 1/2 teaspoon
Yuca (cassava) flour— 1 pound
Grated parmesan cheese —1 cup
1) Preheat oven to 375°F. Bring the milk, oil or butter and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high flame.
2)Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the yuca flour until it forms a smooth batter. Set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes.
3) Beat in the eggs one at a time until they are fully incorporated, then stir in the parmesan cheese.
4) Form 2 to 3 tablespoons of the batter at a time into balls with moistened hands and set on a lightly greased baking sheet.
5) Bake until puffed and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.
Main Dish: Pernil Al Horno – Puerto Rico
Yes, Puerto Rico is a U.S territory but cultural differences make it perfect for this list. For your main meat consider Pernil Al Horno (Pork Shoulder).
Pork shoulder — 8-12 lbs
Corn oil — 1/2 cup
White vinegar — 1/4 cup
Garlic cloves — 10 (or you may use garlic powder, but fresh is best)
Sazon Goya — 3 (1 ounce) packages
Adobo seasoning — to taste
Black pepper — 4 teaspoons
Oregano — 1 teaspoon
The night before:
1) Peel garlic and mash it to a past then combine all the ingredients and whisk then set it aside.
2) Rinse pork in warm water and stab 1 inch slits in the pork (the more stabs the more taste).
3) Place it in the roasting pan, skin side down, then rub the seasoning to the pork and also insert some into the slits.
4) Cover and refrigerate.
Pernil Al Horno takes about 4 to 5 hours to cook depending on size. Start at 8am Thanksgiving morning.
1) For the first 2 hours set oven at 275°F and cook covered.
2) After 2 hours, turn pork over and set oven at 350°F continue cooking for 2+ more hours uncovered.
TIP: Check your meat every ½ to 1 hour and poke with roasting fork. You will feel the difference as the pernil cooks.
Before serving make sure your juices are clear and the skin is nice and hard.
Drink: Sorrel Punch- Jamaica
Sorrel is Jamaican hibiscus (a popular flower easily found on the island) and is largely harvested in the months of November making this the perfect alternative from the popular green and black ice teas we have at Thanksgiving in the states.
Dried hibiscus flowers (sorrel) — 2 cups
Gingerroot, minced — 1/4 cup
Boiling water — 8 cups
Sugar — 1 to 4 cups
1) Place hibiscus flowers and ginger in a large bowl and pour in boiling water.
2) Cover and let steep for several hours at room temperature.
3)Strain into a large pitcher and stir in sugar to taste. Serve well chilled
TIP: Add your favorite white rum to give it an extra kick.
Dessert: Oliebollen- Holland
Oliebollens are the Dutch version of the beignet. These fried dough balls often contain some type of fruit and are an essential Dutch Holiday treat. While most popular during the New Years, Olliebollens are easy to make and can be found throughout the streets of Holland anytime of the year. Forget the traditional American doughnut, try the Oliebollen this Thanksgiving!
All purpose flour — 1 cup
Warm milk — 1/2 cup
Active dry yeast — 2 teaspoons
Softened butter — 1 tablespoon
Sugar — 1 1/2 tablespoon
Lemon zest and salt — Pinch
Egg — 1
Raisins — 2 tablespoons
(makes about 6)
1) Soak raisins in rum or water (preferably the night before)
2) Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk
3) Mix flour, sugar and lemon zest, and stir in milk and yeast carefully
4) Add egg and salt and stir until blended
5) Stir in drained raisins, then cover and let rise until doubled in volume, stir down and let rise again.
6) In the meantime, heat oil in a fryer up to 375°F (190°C)
7) Place a plate with paper towels to soak up the excess fat
8) Stir batter down
9) Scoop out a portion with a large spoon (or ice cream scoop)
10) Drop into hot oil and fry for about 4 minutes on each side, or until brown
11) Drain balls on paper towels, transfer to a new plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar