Giving thanks

17 Nov 2016
POSTED BY Alvin Thomas

Make your Thanksgiving dinner a triumph by cooking a traditional turkey topped with a tasty twist on sweet potatoes.

Celebrating the US Thanksgiving holiday (November 24) far from home can be difficult for some expats, not least if you find yourself doing all the preparations on your own. While the turkey typically receives all the attention, rounding out your meal with perfect snacks, sides and desserts is the key to a successful feast.

One terrific turkey

Giving Thanks

Centring your holiday meal around a turkey cooked to golden perfection is the ideal way to serve the feast. Without the right preparation and execution, however, your bird could fall short. To ensure your holiday dinner centrepiece lives up to expectations, follow these simple tips, from purchase to plate:

1. Buy the right bird

Finding a turkey that’s just the right size for your expected party is the ideal start to a successful gathering. One rule of thumb is to allocate 450g of turkey per person – so for a 10-person meal, buy a 4.6kg turkey. Don’t forget that nearly everyone loves leftovers so a few extra grams won’t go amiss.

2. Be patient

If you opt for a frozen turkey, don’t rush the thawing process, and this must be undertaken with great care. Larger turkeys can take several days to defrost properly, at room temperature. If you’re unsure about how to defrost, check out the website It offers an excellent guide and will calculate defrosting times based on the size and type of your bird.

3. Prepare and cook the turkey

After the turkey is defrosted, remove any giblets. Check there aren’t any ice crystals inside and pat dry using kitchen paper. Before it goes in the oven, make sure the bird is at room temperature. Put it on a roasting tray with room to spare so that any juices have room to seep out. Cover with tin foil, set your oven to 190C, and in it goes. For cooking times, as a rough guide; if the turkey is more than 4kg, cook for 20 minutes per kilo plus 90 minutes. If less than 4kg, it’s 20 minutes per kilo plus 70 minutes.

4.  Let it stand

Instead of pulling the turkey out of the oven and immediately carving it, let it stand for 20 to 30 minutes, which will allow the juices to soak into the meat and moisten it. Make sure the bird is thoroughly cooked throughout. It should be piping hot, there should be no pink where the meat is at its thickest, and when piercing the bird (usually at the thigh), the juices that run out should be clear.

When using the turkey for leftovers, don’t reheat more than once, refrain from storing any meat at the bottom of the fridge and never place against any uncooked meat. Visit for more chef-worthy holiday recipes and pairings, or go to for delicious seasonal ideas.

* Family Features

NYC-Style Pita Chips with Herbed Ricotta and Arugula

Giving Thanks

Serves: 6


  • 120g fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 55g baby arugula leaves
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 12 Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips (or similar)


  • Scoop the ricotta into a small bowl, add the chopped thyme and mix well. On a serving platter, lay out 12 pita chips.
  • Top each chip with small dollop of the ricotta mix and leaf of baby arugula then drizzle with the olive oil.  Season with salt.

Slow Cooker-mashed Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

Giving Thanks

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Serves: 8


  • 2.2kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup Kitchen Basics Original Chicken Stock
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 tsp McCormick Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp McCormick Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows


  • Spray inside a 7-litre slow cooker with a non-stick cooking spray. Add the sweet potatoes, stock and brown sugar. Cover.
  • Cook for four hours on high or until the potatoes are tender, stirring after each hour. Stir in the butter, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Cover. Let stand for five minutes.
  • Beat the potatoes using an electric mixer on a medium-high speed until smooth. Top with marshmallows. Cover. Cook for 10 minutes on high or until the marshmallows are slightly melted.

Share this

Public Reviews and Comments