Since Canadian Thanksgiving is a month before American Thanksgiving and it’s Japanese counterpart (which isn’t really celebrated), I don’t get visual reminders in supermarkets and department stores. I once again forgot about Thanksgiving until the middle of last week. I don’t spend much time in central Tokyo anymore and thus don’t have ready access to turkeys so I decided that this Thanksgiving I would go for a chicken. There are five essential parts of Thanksgiving (and Christmas) dinner for me: mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, turkey and pumpkin pie. If I have those five dishes I am good to go. This Thanksgiving I will have to settle for four out of five. I’ll have to splurge on a fancy turkey for Christmas.
Our feast: mashed potatoes, roasted chicken, stuffing and green beans, broccoli and kabu (turnip) done in the tajine nabe. Pumpkin pie for dessert, of course.
onion, diced finely
carrot, diced finely
celery, diced finely
melted butter or oil
salt, pepper, mustard powder, sage
chicken bullion cube(s) or cooked turkey juice
bread, torn – I always use stale bread that has been slowly accumulating in the freezer for this specific purpose
I hate onions that are not cooked so I always saute the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in some oil and butter. While it is sauteing I tear the bread and put it in a large bowl. I then add enough sauted vegetables to the bread to make it nice and moist. Season with salt, pepper, mustard powder and sage. You want it to smell somewhat strong but be careful with the sage. melt some butter and mix it into the bread. If you are cooking the chicken outside of the bird I recommend dissolving a chicken bullion cube into some water and pouring it over the stuffing and adjust seasoning. Mix up and put in a casserole dish. Let sit for a while for flavors to mix. Bake at the same time as your turkey/chicken. I baked it separately at 160C for about 40min, covered, due to a small oven issue.
Next is kabocha pie (this is a pumpkin pie recipe that uses kabocha instead). I am not a big fan of nutmeg or allspice in pumpkin pie so I just use ginger and cinnamon. Basically use 2 teaspoons of spices of your choice.
Alannah Leah (My grandmother)
3/4c brown sugar (if using a kabocha that is sweet you may need to reduce this)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin (or kabocha)
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water (optional – I usually don’t add it)
2 well beaten eggs
1 cup canned milk (I used the sweetened condensed milk sold for strawberries in Japan and don’t add sugar)
Mix sugar and spices, then add pumpkin followed by liquid. Whisk together until smooth. Bake in your favorite pie crust for ten minutes at 220C and then turn the oven down to 160C and bake for 40-60 minutes more. Cool before serving.
Note: The following day I baked the leftover pie filling in a silicon cake mold and it was brilliant – no crust needed.
Easy Pie Crust
Can’t remember where I found this
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons milk
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Place all the ingredients into your pie pan and mix with a fork. Pat the mixture up the bottoms and sides of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven or until light brown. I sometimes don’t pre-bake it because it sometimes burns.