I’ve only experienced one Thanksgiving meal. It was on a foggy San Francisco afternoon 20 years ago and it proved to be an extremely filling and delicious menu, which I was told had remained unchanged by my host’s family for three generations.
That’s a lot of mashed potatoes, cranberries, turkey and tradition over the years, and I was absolutely blown away by the joy and love that was shared around the table. It reminded me of my own family Christmases in England – blissful.
The dishes below reflect the flavours of that meal. As my hosts were Texan, they enjoyed a subtle reminder of their heritage. These family traditions are what it’s all about, and I’m certainly not messing with your rituals by offering up an alternative, but it’s always great to try something new, whether it’s an influence from somewhere else or an ingredient you don’t usually use.
Mayonnaise is a great ingredient for Southern Thanksgiving recipes and helps make these dishes really luxurious and creamy. Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise is, of course, the go-to brand, so that’s what I’ve used in all of these to great effect.
Have an amazing Thanksgiving and enjoy your foodie, festive day, with a Southern twist… yee-ha!
Devilled eggs recipe
Serves 12 as a canapé
- 12 free-range eggs
- 3 tablespoons Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons natural yoghurt
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 5 small chopped gherkins
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- Fresh chillies, chopped to garnish (optional)
Boil the eggs for twelve minutes until hard-boiled, and then cool and de-shell under running cold water. Halve the eggs, carefully scoop out the yolk, then add them to a mixing bowl and mash together. Put the egg whites to one side. Add all the other ingredients (except the chillies) to the yolks, then mix together with a fork until smooth. Spoon generously into the cavities of the egg white halves, garnish with the chillies, then serve.
Wedge salad recipe
- 5 rashers quality streaky bacon
- 3 spring onions, white and green parts, chopped
- ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 50g Stilton or other blue cheese
- 3 tablespoons Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons Greek-style yoghurt
- 1 large iceberg lettuce
Preheat your grill to high. Lay your bacon flat on a small baking tray and grill for 5 minutes, until lovely and crisp. Leave to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, place the spring onions, lemon juice, mustard and blue cheese in a food processor and whizz for 15 to 20 seconds to make a smooth mixture. Add the mayonnaise and yogurt, then blend again until smooth, and season to taste.
Remove the stem of the lettuce and discard any ugly outer leaves. Cut the lettuce into wedges and arrange them onto your plates. Drizzle over the dressing, chop and scatter the bacon on top, then serve with an extra crumbling of blue cheese, if you like.
Green bean casserole recipe
Serves 8-10 as a side
- olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
- 200g button mushrooms, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 2 tablespoons Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise
- 300ml semi-skimmed milk
- 800g steamed green beans
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pangritata
- 150g quality ciabatta bread
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, thyme or marjoram, leaves picked
- 30g flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/gas 3/4. Add a splash of olive oil to a pan over a medium heat, then add the onion, mushrooms and garlic. Cook for around 10 minutes, or until the onion turns a little transparent. Stir the flour into the pan, then mix well until everything is well coated. Stir in the sour cream and mayonnaise.
Warm the milk over a low heat, then gradually add to the pan. Simmer for a couple of minutes until it thickens.
Meanwhile, make the pangritata. Lightly toast the ciabatta, then peel the garlic and blitz both in a food processor with the herbs and almonds until fine.
Add the steamed greens to the sauce, then season to taste. Transfer to a shallow ovenproof casserole dish. Sprinkle over the pangritata, then bake in the hot oven for about 25 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.
Lovely cornbread recipe
- olive oil
- 1 large bunch spring onions sliced
- 2 corn on the cob
- 4 large free-range eggs, beaten
- 350g coarse cornmeal
- 5 tablespoons Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise
- 150ml full-fat milk
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 7 tablespoons plain flour
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 100g freshly mature Cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Get a frying pan on a medium heat and add a splash olive oil. Add your sliced spring onions and fry gently for 5-10 minutes, until golden. While that’s happening, get your corn ready; hold the cob upright on the board and carefully run a small knife from the top of the corn to the bottom, cutting all the kernels off. Add these to the pan with the spring onions and cook for a further 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
In a bowl, mix your eggs, cornmeal, mayonnaise, milk, baking powder, flour, a good pinch of salt and pepper and most of your grated cheese. Beat until well mixed, then stir in your cooled onion and corn mixture. Grease a 22cm cake tin (or similarly-sized ovenproof pan) with some olive oil, line the base with greaseproof paper, and pour in your mixture.
Place in the oven to bake for 35 minutes, sprinkling over your remaining Cheddar for the final 10 minutes. Once ready, let it cool for 15 minutes, then turn it out on to a wire rack or serving plate, cheesy side up. Serve it with a sprinkling of spring onions or chillies if you want, and eat straight away because it’s unbelievably good when it’s warm.