6 Reasons We All Want to Make Yasmin Fahr’s New Classic Thanksgiving Menu

published Nov 12, 2021
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Credit: Bijou Karman

This year’s annual Thanksgiving Food Fest was filled with with five nights of captivating chefs sharing their own takes on Thanksgiving dishes and, in the process, producing new favorites for everyone to give a try. Whether you are looking to host your first Friendsgiving with a Hot Pot-led menu or create a plant-based experience that’s out-of-this-world delicious, this year’s event provided new ways to excite your tastebuds for this holiday season and beyond.

Wrapping up the week-long pre-Thanksgiving celebration with her New Classic Thanksgiving menu, Yasmin Fahr — recipe developer, food writer, and the author of Keeping It Simple — reminded us all that traditions are truly about “making it something that feels right for you and your family.” Centering the menu around her Miso-Butter Spatchcocked Turkey with Mushroom Gravy, the talented chef also included recipes for her Citrus-and-Fig Cranberry Sauce, Smashed Garlicky Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, and Shortcut Apple and Pear Phyllo Pie — each of which are guaranteed to take this year’s feast to iconic levels.

Whether you’re still compiling your full Thanksgiving menu or are just looking for one or two sides to add into the lineup, Yasmin’s tips will help you make this year one to remember.

1. If you want crispy, brown skin for your turkey, spatchcocking is the way to go.

Whether you’re familiar with how to spatchcock a turkey or if you’re just learning what that is, according to Yasmin, you’ll want to implement the method during this year’s holiday season. “This is the method I learned from Jonathan Waxman at Barbuto and Judy Rogers of Zuni Cafe,” she began. “I spatchcock them, which is removing the backbone and then flattening it. Then, I salt it about a day ahead or up to three days ahead. That helps draw the moisture out of the skin, so we have really crispy, delicious brown skin.”

Yasmin also noted that using this method can also reduce your cook time. So, while a turkey typically takes at least 3 1/2 hours to cook, spatchcocking makes it so your turkey is ready in about an hour.

2. Don’t throw the turkey backbone away.

Although you may be tempted to just toss the backbone of your turkey away after you’ve spatchcocked it, don’t: It’ll come in handy for other meals for the big day. “You can use it for stock today or on Thanksgiving, or put it in your freezer and use it for another day,” Yasmin revealed. “It will make a really delicious stock. So it’s better not to waste it.”

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: Andie McMahon

3. Skip the parchment paper when you’re making Brussels sprouts.

No one likes to be left with a massive amount of cleanup after cooking all day, so lining your pans seem like an obvious way to cut down on doing so. And while that can absolutely be applied in other areas of cooking, if you happen to be making Brussels sprouts, Yasmin suggests that you skip this particular step in an effort to make your sprouts their best.

“These Brussels sprouts are going to go in the over at 450 and they’re going to be super crispy, crunchy. The key to doing that is to coat them in lots of oil and put them face down on the sheet pan, so they really get in contact with the pan and crisp up,” she said. “I also would not use parchment paper. You want to stick with the sheet pan, which I know can be a little annoying to clean up, but I promise you it’s worth it ’cause they’ll get super crispy and delicious.”

4. Roasting whole heads of garlic can produce endless options.

It’s no secret that garlic can be used in just about any recipe to enhance its taste, but if you’re not one to roast whole heads of garlic at once, you may want to start.

“I love roasting whole heads of garlic,” Yasmin told Kitchn. “You can just cut them in half, add a little bit of olive oil, a little bit of salt, and just put them face down. They become so soft and caramelized, and you can mix them into butter. You can make your own compound butter, put them onto bread — it’ll be easily spreadable. It just has such a rich, delicious flavor that really makes anything better.”

5. Foil can help keep your turkey from burning.

While cooking whole turkeys won’t require you to add any foil, if you happen to notice any portions of your bird beginning to cook more than you’d like, using some could definitely come in handy. “The wing tips, if you see them burning — or anything burning — at any point, I would cover the wing tips with foil,” she said. “You can also reduce the heat after about 30 minutes or earlier if things start to darken too quickly.”

6. You don’t have to stay dedicated to traditional pie crust.

Although traditional pie crust is common for holiday baking, if you’re looking to change things up this Thanksgiving, Yasmin encourages you to step out of your comfort zone. And, using phyllo dough is a good alternative to start with. “I know [it] can seem sort of intimidating to work with, but it’s actually not once you know a few tricks,” she said. “It’s really easy. It’s lighter, I think. And you still get that crunchy topping and texture — which I know people really want with a pie, but it’s really quick and simple and delicious.”

This year’s Thanksgiving Food Fest may be wrapped, but you can still catch all the menus from Yasmin, Dorie Greenspan, Shanika Graham-White, TJ Lee, and Alexander Smalls over on our YouTube whenever you need a refresher.