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Thanksgiving Dinner with Japanese Flavors

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Just to be clear, this isn’t a Japanese meal in any sense: it’s the classic American Thanksgiving incorporating Japanese flavors and ingredients. But it is stunning how well such flavors meld with turkey, cranberries, and maple. The turkey (a bone-in breast) is marinated in a soy-miso blend and brushed with mayonnaise while roasting. Sweet potatoes are mashed with miso, butter, AND maple for a rich, sweet-savory side. The cranberry sauce incorporates satsumas, a mandarin native to Japan, while the autumnal-spiced cake for dessert spotlights Hachiya persimmons. The meal is rounded out with a pair of quick, stovetop vegetable sides: sautéed kale with adzuki beans, and chunks of kabocha squash braised in a sake-soy broth.

Menu Timeline

One Day Ahead

  • Make the cranberry sauce
  • Make the sweet potato purée and spread in the baking dish.
  • Make the maple pecans for the cake.

In the Morning

  • Bake the persimmon cake.
  • Prep the ingredients for the kale and braised kabocha squash

Two and a Half Hours Ahead

  • Start cooking the turkey breast.

30 Minutes Ahead

  • Bake the sweet potato purée.
  • Make the soy-braised kabocha squash

15 Minutes Ahead

  • Let the turkey rest
  • Make the sautéed kale.

The Menu

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