The Best Thanksgiving Tradition: The Joy of Shared Holiday Meals
With each passing day, a contagious sense of anticipation fills the air, marking the imminent arrival of the Christmas holidays. Homes adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations capture the collective excitement building. The anticipation is a universal sentiment, inspiring dreams of magical moments, the warmth of loved ones, and the generosity that defines this time of year.
During the holidays, we share food not just for sensory pleasure, but also to uphold traditions. In the true spirit of the season, people tend to perform acts of kindness and generosity. Sharing food is an act of goodwill that transforms the simple act of breaking bread into a powerful symbol of compassion and community. Amidst the laughter and the delicious aroma of dishes that fill the air, the holiday table becomes a stage for creating lasting memories filled with joy and connection.
“A shared meal isn’t just about the food on the table; it’s a testament to the love, stories, and connections that nourish our souls, transcending cultural boundaries and uniting us in a moment of joyous togetherness,” says Arielle Oliver, Brand Manager at The Best Dressed Chicken.
The act of sharing food during the holidays allows us to pause, appreciate the moment and cherish the connections that are formed around the table. It’s a celebration that goes beyond boundaries and reminds us that, regardless of our backgrounds, we share a common human experience. By sharing meals during the holidays, we create communities and make lasting memories of the joy of togetherness.
The Best Dressed Chicken Roaster
2 litres/2 quarts water, cold tap water
1/3 cup kosher salt, NOT table salt
2 oranges or lemons, quartered
10 sprigs parsley, fresh
7 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
5 bay leaves, fresh (or 3 dried)
1/4 cup honey
6 garlic cloves, smashed (Note 3)
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 onion quartered
The Best Dressed Chicken Roaster
3 tbsp / 40g butter, melted
Salt and pepper to season
Pour about 1/3 of the water into a large pot (sized to accommodate the brine and submerged chicken) with the remaining brine ingredients. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from heat and pour in the remaining water. Allow the mixture to cool completely before use (approximately 30 minutes, followed by 1 1/2 hours of refrigeration). DO NOT place the chicken in the brine before it has fully cooled, as this poses a health hazard. Flip the chicken upside down (so the legs and breast are on the underside) and submerge it in the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
Roasting Brined Chicken:
Remove the Roaster from the brine and pat it dry to eliminate excess moisture.
Tie the legs with string (if desired) and tuck the wings under. Drizzle or brush most of the butter all over, including the underside (the butter will firm up on contact).
Sprinkle with pepper and a pinch of salt, then place the chicken on a rack in a heavy-based roasting tray. Set aside for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 430°F.
Turn down the oven to 350°F, then roast the chicken for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the internal temperature at the joint between the leg and thigh is 165°F, or until the juices run clear.
Check at 45 minutes, rotate the pan if browning is uneven, and brush the top with the remaining melted butter.
Remove the chicken from the roasting tray, cover loosely with foil, and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
Roasted Beets And String Beans
3 lb small to medium-size red beets
8 thyme sprigs
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 tsp black pepper, divided
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 lb string beans, trimmed, divided
1/4-cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp whole-grain mustard
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 large cloves garlic thinly sliced on a mandoline
Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss together beets, thyme sprigs, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a roasting pan or baking dish; cover tightly with aluminium foil. Bake in pre-heated oven until beets are tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove foil and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel cooled beets and cut into wedges. Discard thyme sprigs.
Heat 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high until smoking. Add half of the string bean sin an even layer. Cook, without stirring, until charred on one side, about 2 minutes. Cook, stirring often, until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat process with 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil and remaining haricots verts. Sprinkle beans with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Toss together beets, haricots verts, vinegar, sugar, mustard, oregano, chopped thyme, and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with remaining 1 1/2 tsps salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Stir together shallots and remaining 1/2 cup grapeseed oil in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fried garlic to paper towels to drain. Top salad with fried garlic.
Candied Sweet Potatoes
4 large sweet potatoes (12 to 14 ounces each)
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup canned pineapple juice
2 1/2 to 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
Preheat the oven to 375˚F
Cut off the ends of the sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Add to a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.
In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until thoroughly blended. Stir in the pineapple juice, cinnamon, vanilla, and ground cloves. Taste the mixture to ensure sweetness and pour over the sweet potatoes. Spread the strawberry preserves on top.
Cover the dish with foil and bake until the sweet potatoes are semi-tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the sweet potatoes are caramelized, 20 to 25 more minutes. Serve hot, spooning the sauce from the baking dish on top.
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 pounds callaloo
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
1 tablespoon finely diced garlic
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 cup finely grated Gruyere
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
Bring 1 1/2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a large pot. Add callaloo; cover and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander, pressing out as much liquid as possible with the back of a wooden spoon; coarsely chop.
In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add flour; go until the mixture is pale golden and has a slightly nutty aroma, 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour in milk, whisking constantly until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly along the bottom of the pan, until bubbling and thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat; add mustard and 1/2 cup cheese. Whisk until smooth.
In a large bowl, stir callaloo and cheese sauce until callaloo is completely coated, season with salt and pepper.
Heat a medium skillet over medium. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and panko; cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5 minutes—season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Lightly brush a 7-by-11-inch oval gratin dish with butter. Transfer the callaloo mixture to the dish; sprinkle the top with toasted panko and the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake until browned on top, and the edges start to bubble, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
WIN! WIN! WIN!
The festive countdown has begun and The Best Dressed Chicken is giving away TWO Thanksgiving Hampers to TWO Thursday Food readers
Here’s how you can you can claim yours:
Read the above article carefully and answer this question:
What’s the science behind brining?
Attach the correct answer to the Thursday Food page; place in an envelope with your name, address and telephone contact; drop off at the reception desk of the Jamaica Observer 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Ave.
Kingston 5 no later than 12:00 noon Friday morning
The first two correct answers received will each win a Best Dressed Chicken hamper