Spice Up Your Thanksgiving With These Mexican-Inspired Dishes

8 November 2016
 Categories: Food & Cooking, Articles

Thanksgiving isn't just a time for reflection, thanks and being together with friends and family. It's also a time when you can expand your family's palette with a broad range of wonderful food ideas. The great ingredients of the Latin world offer inspiration that can add some exciting spice to your Thanksgiving feast, all without leaving those who love the typical holiday fare out of the mix. Make your family's holiday season spectacular with these delicious Mexican-inspired Thanksgiving dishes.

Fried Polenta with Chorizo

Crunchy on the outside, yet nice and creamy on the inside, fried polenta offers an amazing appetizer that sates your family's Thanksgiving hunger until the main course arrives. Adding a 1/4-pound of sliced chorizo and a 1/2-cup of jarred piquillo peppers to the mix gives this dish its spicy, exotic flavor.

To make this delicious dish, start by drizzling a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil onto a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add the chorizo to the skillet, cook it until it turns crispy and brown on both sides, and then let it drain on a paper towel-covered plate. Take a 1-pound log of pre-cooked polenta, cut it in half and then cut both halves into 4 equal rounds.

Season each round with salt and pepper and fry the rounds in the leftover chorizo fat inside the skillet until the rounds turn golden brown. Afterwards, mix your piquillo peppers with a 1/2-cup of Spanish olives in a small bowl. Add a teaspoon of the mixture on top of each polenta piece when serving,

If you can't find any piquillo peppers for this amazing recipe, you can easily substitute them for jarred pimientos or roasted red peppers. You'll also want to keep a lid on this dish while cooking, as the polenta may splatter as it cooks in the olive oil.

Mashed Potatoes with Manchego and Olive Oil

This unique take on traditional mashed potatoes does away with butter in favor of Spanish extra-virgin olive oil and young Manchego cheese. This appetizing recipe also includes garlic cloves drizzled in olive oil and baked at 350 degrees for an hour. The Manchego cheese gives this dish a richness that has to be experienced to be believed.

To get started, boil your peeled baking potatoes in a large pot of salted water over medium-high heat for 20 minutes. In the meantime, heat up 3 cups of heavy cream and cut a 1/2-pound of Manchego cheese into 1/4-inch pieces. Afterwards, dry the potatoes and mash them in 3 stages: without the heavy cream, with half of the cream added to the potatoes, and with all of the cream poured in.

Once the mashed potatoes take on a creamy texture, add the Manchego cheese and let it melt. Mash the baked garlic cloves and slowly stir them into the potatoes, along with a 1/4-cup of olive oil. To avoid getting those unappetizing streaks of oil, chef Jose Andres recommends gradually adding the 1/4-cup of olive oil you'll need for this dish into the mashed potatoes instead of all at once.

Chipotle-Rubbed Roast Turkey

No Thanksgiving would be complete without the traditional turkey, but a bland bird shouldn't be the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal. This is where the power of chipotle comes in -- not the restaurant, but the smoke-dried jalapeño that's commonly used in a wide array of Mexican and Mexican-inspired dishes.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and prep your turkey for roasting. Add 2 tablespoons of chipotle peppers, 2 garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 1/2-teaspoons of salt, a teaspoon of onion powder and dried oregano, a 1/2-teaspoon of black pepper, lime juice, and lime zest into a blender and blend into a smooth mixture. Next, separate the turkey breast skin and rub a teaspoon of your chipotle rub directly onto the breast meat. Use the remaining rub on the rest of the turkey, making sure to rub the entire body and its cavities, before placing it into the oven.

This delicious dish usually takes up to 3 1/2-hours to cook from start to finish. The recipe also recommends covering up the breast and tops of the thighs in tin foil approximately an hour or so into the cooking time. This will keep those parts of the turkey from burning as it roasts.

For more inspiration from Mexican cuisine, visit this page.