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Peking Turkey and Five More Brilliant Ways to Upgrade Your Thanksgiving


M ost folks don't think about Asian food when they think of Thanksgiving. But even though Thanksgiving is all about the tradition of turkey and all the fixings, the basic elements of the menu always invite improvisation and personalization. So why not infuse classic Thanksgiving dishes with the flavor-boosting ingredients and techniques of the Asian kitchen?

Roast turkey tastes even juicier when slathered in a Peking-duck glaze. Brussels sprouts get perked up when tossed with a Szechuan-peppercorn vinaigrette. Even glazed carrots turn irresistible with a dose of umami-packed miso paste. Add one (or more) of these recipes to your next Thanksgiving menu, and you might just create a whole new tradition.


GIVE TURKEY THE PEKING DUCK TREATMENT

Peking duck's combination of juicy meat and crispy, flavorful skin is pretty much what you want for your Thanksgiving turkey, too. Steaming the bird before roasting helps to shrink-wrap the skin around the bird, helping it turn extra juicy. The step even cuts down on turkey roasting time, so you'll have more oven space for your side dishes. Finishing the turkey with a ginger-spiced glaze gives the mild-flavored meat amazing flavor, and a lacquered coating worthy of Peking duck.

Get the recipe: Peking Style Roast Turkey with Molasses Soy Glaze and Orange Ginger Gravy

GO FOR A SAUSAGE-PACKED (AND GLUTEN-FREE) STUFFING

Who says you need bread to make stuffing? Use sticky rice instead: It gives the stuffing delicious chewiness, and soaks up the flavor of sweet, savory Chinese sausage. If you can't score that variety of sausage, maple-cured bacon works just as well.

Get the recipe: Sticky Rice Stuffing with Chinese Sausage and Shiitakes

BOOST CARROTS WITH A SAVORY GLAZE

Glazed carrots can be a polarizing dish at the Thanksgiving table. Some people hoard them, while others find them too sweet. But this version will win everyone over: The miso and mirin in the glaze give the carrots a hit of umami that balances the sweet, buttery sauce.

Get the recipe: Pan Roasted Carrots with Miso ButterADD A KICK TO CLASSIC CRANBERRY SAUCE

Everyone knows that cranberries play well with orange and sugar. Enhance that classic combination with sweet cinnamon, citrusy ginger, and spicy mustard seeds, and you get a cranberry sauce that's truly unforgettable.

Get the recipe: Cranberry Sauce with Mustard Seeds and Orange

TRY AN EXTRA-CRUNCHY (AND SPICY) BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD

Roasted Brussels sprouts are delicious, sure, but with so many other rich, intense flavors on the Thanksgiving table, why not eat them raw as a refreshing salad? Separating the mini cabbage heads into individual leaves helps them soak up the citrusy dressing, and a hit of Szechuan peppercorns adds a tingly note that won't set your mouth on fire.

Get the recipe: Brussels Sprouts Salad with Szechuan Peppercorn and Celery

SPICE UP A CREAMY DESSERT

Buttermilk pie is a classic Southern dessert for the Thanksgiving table. We turned up the flavor on the beloved original by infusing sweet spices in the filling and adding toasty sesame seeds to the make the crust extra crunchy.
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