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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner - Russian Style

This year I had two Thanksgiving dinners - one with my parents, my brother and his family (including his in-laws) and another with my parents, relatives and friends. Both were hosted at our house. There was so much food each time that no way were we able to finish it all in one sitting.

Since I am originally from Belarus a lot of food at both of our Thanksgiving dinners was from Russian cuisine - holodets (made from boiled pork and beef feet with their broth hardened like jelly), oliv'ye (salad with potatoes, carrots, eggs, onion, pickles, sweet peas, and mayo), shuba (layered salad of beets, potatoes, carrots, onions, and herring topped with mayo and olive oil), beet salad with prunes in mayo, pickled herring, sprats sandwiches (sprats on toasted bread with mayo and melted cheese), cabbage salad, pashtet (chicken liver pate), and more...

We added some new dishes to the second Thanksgiving dinner. Among these were shrimp teriyaki and mango/avocado salad. They were a hit. I have done shrimp teriyaki before and knew it would be good but the mango/avocado salad was something we've never made or tried before so weren't sure how that would turn out. Thankfully it turned out great so now I will be making this salad time and time again.

I was really looking forward to eating some fresh corn bread and roasted sweet potatoes/yams but there were none during the first dinner and that left me disappointed. A Thanksgiving dinner is just not complete without either of them. I was happy that on the second dinner at least I was allowed to make roasted sweet potatoes. That made the dinner more special for me. 

Of course no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a roasted turkey and some cranberry sauce so both were present at both dinners. The turkeys were prepared differently each time. The first turkey, prepared by my brother's in-laws was soaked in orange and pineapple juices and was stuffed with German noodles, and fried mushrooms and onions. It should have come out tasting great but it overcooked and burned a little and as a result didn't turn out that good. The second turkey, which was made by my uncle was stuffed with traditional stuffing and was basted with teriyaki sauce, orange juice, and a few other ingredients my uncle mixed in. It turned out really good. It was my favorite turkey out of the two.

The butt and the wings are two of my favorite parts of the turkey, the butt being at the top of the list. This year I have been fortunate enough to get the butt from both turkeys and they were mouthwatering each time.  I guess no matter how the turkey turns out the butt will always come out tasting phenomenal.

Our Thanksgiving dinners were not 100% traditional, since we are not originally from the United States but they were ones to remember, mainly the second dinner, because the second dinner turned out to be the best of the two!

What did you do for Thanksgiving? What delicious food was at the Thanksgiving table? Please share your experiences from your holiday festivities... Looking forward to hearing all about it.


  1. Thank you Lena for sharing your cooking talents with us. I know that every dish is a masterpiece that you either created or embellished the orignal recipe to make it your own signature of deliciousness. Look forward to making some of the dishes. Thank you for making the recipes easy to read and follow, especially those like me who are lack luster in the kitchen cooking department. It makes Novices like me look like I know what i'm doing ~ making an excellent dinner.

  2. Thank you for your comments Susan. Glad you find my recipes easy to follow and use. I hope one day you make some of them and share your pictures with me...

    I am super excited for you to make an all-Russian dinner for your hubby. Can't wait to guide on this delicious feast.