It's time to make the leap in 2021 for a Thanksgiving and holiday menu change: choose Roast Pig as the NEW Roast Turkey this year, and give your menu an Italian flare.
There are lots of reasons for this menu change not the least of which is that this year turkeys are in short supply and cost much more than previous years.
In their cookbook the Palizzi Social Club says If You Can Roast a Turkey for Thanksgiving, You Can Roast a Pig. The cooking section of the New York Times says that a whole roast suckling pig is quite special. No other feast food of the holiday season cooks so easily, and presents so majestically. And still another article says: Done with turkey at Thanksgiving? Try roasted pig.
You're probably wondering how large a roast suckling pig is (often smaller than a turkey), or how complicated it might be to roast a whole suckling pig this Thanksgiving holiday. The answer is it’s much simpler than you think. Here's a super simple step by step guide.
In her cookbook Bitter Honey Letitia Ann Clark shares her recipe for whole roast pig Sardinian style, porceddu.
Make sure you listen to my podcast episode with travel writer James Martin: Farm to table homestyle pig butchering in northern Tuscany.
Delicious pork dish alternatives to a whole roast pig this Thanksgiving holiday
Almost everyone loves pork - often ham is served over the holidays on its own or along with turkey. There are other delicious pork options you should try if you're not quite ready to roast a whole pig.
Pork belly with a sticky pomegranate glaze is a flavorful and festive dish. The deep red glaze, pomegranate arils and minced parsley echo the quintessential holiday red and green colors. Not to mention that this dish packs in the flavor and is simple to make and delicious.
Porchetta, a savory boneless pork roast, is another alternative. Porchetta is an Italian classic, especially in the Ariccia area just outside of Rome. The next time you visit Rome be sure to make this day trip to Ariccia to explore the area and sample some of the local porchetta.
New York Times recipe writer Melissa Clark has this recipe for porchetta, as well as a delicious recipe for a crown roast of pork with fennel and lemon. You can order a gorgeous porchetta roast online right here.
What should you serve with roast pig this Thanksgiving holiday?
Cookbook author and blogger Michele Di Pietro and I chatted about great dishes to serve this Thanksgiving holiday with roast pig. The bottom line is that almost every dish you enjoy with turkey is even better served with roast pig.
Start with a soup
Corn is always a Thanksgiving holiday favorite so try this Mexican Street Corn soup featured in Michele's Soupified cookbook.
Squash soups are always a favorite at Thanksgiving. You can porkify (a phrase Michele and I coined during our chat today!) any squash soup by adding delicious pork sausage or pancetta to the soup. Top your soup with some pomegranate arils:
Two other delicious soups to serve are Pioppino mushroom soup with pancetta, spring peas, and green onions
First course dishes with an Italian flare
Roast pig this Thanksgiving holiday is most definitely Italian so stay in theme with your first course dishes and choose a pasta, gnocchi or risotto dish. You can buy stuffed pasta and gnocchi ready-made or you can make in advance and freeze.
A few of my favorites are Radicchio Ravioli with Chestnut Cream, Sizzled Pork Jowl or Fried Sage,
Side dishes and salads for your roast pig Thanksgiving holiday feast
Michele and I are both partial to brussels sprouts. Try these Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
Another idea is Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Walnut Salad - add dried cranberries for a bit of sweetness and a Thanksgiving touch.
Mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes are a must, made almost any way you enjoy.
Another colorful and tasty vegetable dish is Sautéed Purple Cabbage with Fresh Cilantro (coriander).
Cranberries and apples are two natural pairings with roast pork this Thanksgiving holiday. I love Fresh Cranberry Relish (recipe soon to be on my website),
and almost anything apple like applesauce with marsala, or roast apples with cinnamon.
Breads and stuffing are a must for your roast pig Thanksgiving holiday menu
Or try making cinnamon rolls without the cinnamon for a delicious savory roll! Simply swap out the cinnamon filling for butter and minced sage & rosemary.
Give these scrumptious corn fritters a try. They’re a perfect pairing for your roast pig this Thanksgiving.
Michele always makes a strata - a savory bread pudding - for Thanksgiving. She puts sausage, mushroom, eggs, a bit of garlic, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme in her strata, and uses challah and bagels for the bread. You'll find her recipe soon on her website.
Roast pig aside, no Thanksgiving holiday menu is complete without delicious desserts
And for something extra special try Spiced Pumpkin Soufflés with a Brown Sugar & Scotch Whisky Drizzle: you'll find the recipe soon on my website!
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