MY HUSBAND, Guy, and I hosted our first Thanksgiving when we were in our twenties and living in Santa Fe. Dinner was a potluck rebellion against all the family Thanksgivings we had ever had—in lieu of turkey, we grilled a mountain of lamb chops, and friends provided much of the rest, laid out on mismatched tables snaking through our Baca Street studio. I clearly remember too many beans, a vegan pumpkin pie, and an abundance of laughter. Dinner went late into the night; dirty dishes were ignored until the next afternoon. It was Friendsgiving before Friendsgiving was a thing.
Above: A Simple Roast Turkey with Green Chile Gravy.
Twenty-some years later, Guy and I now call New Jersey home, but our hearts still beat in New Mexico. While our Thanksgivings have become more traditional over the years—we now grudgingly accept the primacy of the turkey—they still speak to our years in the Southwest. What holiday table, we ask, is complete without plenty of homemade red and green chile? Enchiladas stuffed with butternut squash and goat cheese make the ideal vegetarian side dish, and we have revamped Guy’s family stuffing recipe, swapping in chorizo for the classic Italian sausage. Finally, a bizcochito’s subtle scent of anise has always whispered autumn to us, now even more so since we have transformed the classic cookie into a tart dough filled with caramelized apples. All together, the menu offers a taste of our heart home—embroidered over the years with new experiences and flavors—a place we will always think of with love and gratitude.
This no-fuss method cooks a turkey fast while producing crisp skin and juicy meat. As the bird rests, you have time to heat up all your side dishes in the oven. We find making gravy at the last minute too stressful to contemplate, so we always prepare it a day or two in advance. But we always save the drippings and the eventual carcass for making turkey stock, which can be turned into gravy for another day or used in weekend posole. You can use this method for a larger turkey, but begin checking its temperature after three hours.
Stuffed with shredded squash, onions, and creamy goat and Jack cheeses, these enchiladas do double duty, providing a holiday main course for vegetarian guests and a satisfying side dish that sidles up to turkey very nicely for everyone else. A food processor makes short work of shredding the winter squash, but you can use spiralized squash from the grocery store to save time if you like.
When we’re feeling ambitious, we’ll make our own chorizo by seasoning freshly ground pork with garlic, red chile, plenty of spices, and a splash of vinegar, but this stuffing is still delicious—very meaty, gently spicy—when you use store-bought. Using a shallow casserole dish means you get the perfect ratio of crisp browned bits on top to soft, juicy bites below.
A rich holiday meal cries out for something fresh and crisp, and we always volunteer to bring a salad when invited to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving. This colorful version is our go-to recipe, in part because it’s refreshing, delicious, and very forgiving—once dressed, the salad holds its crunch and flavors well.
The state cookie makes a mighty fine base for a generous layer of deeply caramelized apples. As you cut the apples, practice placing them in the skillet that you’ll use—that way you’ll cut just the right amount. (Since the apples will shrink a bit as they cook, it’s important to arrange them as tightly as possible.) Once baked, the tarte tatin keeps well for several hours.