• Image about Thanksgiving


Reinventing the Wheel


Football aside, there are no hard and fast rules on the fourth Thursday of November. But don’t take our word for it. Here, three more Iron Chef finalists offer some hearty Thanksgiving alternatives from start to finish.

The Turkey Alternative

Jehangir Mehta: “I’m a fan of lamb -- which is very popular in India and England,” says the executive chef and owner of New York’s Graffiti. “But if you want to stick with a bird and escape the whole carving business, I’d go with individual guinea hens. For a slightly larger bird, duck.”

Seamus Mullen: “Capon is a much more flavorful bird than turkey with a robust chicken flavor that goes great with a brioche, mushroom, chorizo, and andouille sausage stuffing,” says the executive chef and partner of New York’s Boqueria Flatiron and Boqueria Soho.

Roberto Treviño: “Whole-roasted red snapper -- we call it chillo here in Puerto Rico -- with a mofongo [mashed, fried plantain] and chorizo stuffing is a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving on an island,” says the executive chef and owner of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s, Budatai. “Roasted pork legs are also very popular down here.”

The Mashed Potato Alternative

JM: “Rice gnocchi -- or potato gnocchi if you can’t be without those potatoes.”

SM: “A mélange of autumn root vegetables -- parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, and parsley root, slow roasted with olive oil, garlic, and herbs.”

RT: “Yuca -- peeled, boiled, salted, and mashed with butter.”

The Green Beans Alternative

JM: “Stuffed eggplant or peppers.”

SM: “Brussels sprouts -- quartered and tossed in a pan with hot olive oil, diced bacon and apple, and a little sage.”

RT: “Calabaza [local pumpkin] -- diced with butter and a touch of cinnamon, clove, and star anise.”

The Pie Alternative

JM: “Pumpkin or apple soufflé.”

SM: “Quince pie. It’s a nice alternative to apple, with some crème fraîche.”

RT: “Tembleque -- a coconut-custard staple in Puerto Rico -- dusted with cinnamon and raisins, and some port.”

The Standard Wine Alternative

JM: “Sparkling. A heavy-bodied Cava will go nicely with those guinea hens.”

SM: “With capon, go with a lean red like Cabernet Franc or a bigger white like Rioja.”

RT: “Sangria -- if you’re somewhere warm. Or an ’85 Corton Charlemagne.”

The Traditional Thanksgiving Sine Qua Non

JM: “Family. That’s really the most important ingredient.”

SM: “Cranberry sauce.”

RT: “Ditto -- cranberry sauce, maybe with a little ginger for some added bite.”