Just because we are thousands of miles away from good ole’ Yanquiland doesn’t mean we can’t join in on the holiday cheer and make an 80 degree festive Thanksgiving in Buenos Aires. Personally, I’ll be eating a meat-packed asado, but for those who feel that homesick food nostalgia during this eating season, here’s how to get some Thanks-action on Dia de Acción de Gracias, Argie style.
The Thanksgiving Essentials
The Turkey (Pavo o Pavita): El Tejano is smoking up Turkeys – brined for 24 hrs, injected with coca cola and smoked for 18 hrs (must be ordered Monday before T-Day). Granja Converso sells free range turkeys (along with a wide selection of other great products) that gobble all the way from Cordoba. Jumbo and Carrefour also sell the Brazilian Sadia brand frozen turkeys.
Cranberry Sauce (salsa de aranandos rojos) – Sorry friendos, you’re going to have a hard time finding this here. Jumbo and Barrio Chino used to carry the Ocean Spray canned variety, but this year looks like the shipment never made it. Luckily, Argentina is known for their great Patagonian frutos del bosque, here are a few alternatives:
- Cherry Sauce: Cherries are now in season and the tart, sweet flavors make a great side dish with roasted turkey. Sure, not the same as cranberry sauce but makes for a solid substitution. Try this cherry sauce recipe from Serious Eats.
- Cassis (Red Currants): In the UK they eat red currant jelly with lamb, so in tribute giving thanks to our friendly patriots across the Atlantic, it’s only fitting to eat it with turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Check out this local site that exports Argentine berries to get your supply.
- Guindas (Sour Cherries): This is another good substitute as it has a tart flavor, very similar to the cherry. Go on a verduleria-crawl to hunt these fruits down.
Sweet Potatoes (batatas): This one is easy breezy as you can find batatas all over the place. Sure, it’s not as YAMMY as many are used to, but the local version tend to do the trick. Steer clear of Barrio Chino or kiosco “marshmallows” because not only do those have a strange consistency, the strawberry and “purple” flavors just won’t work. Instead, follow this simple recipe and make homemade marshmallows! (Hint: You can find Royale brand “gelatina sin sabor” in many dieteticas and even larger supermarkets).
Pumpkin Pie (tarta de calabaza, but a postre):
As much as I’m a sucker for the canned pumpkin pie insides, make Martha proud and attempt a pumpkin pie by scratch. Or make Sandra Lee proud (and drunk) by whipping up a semi-homemade version using a pre-made tarta masa. Here are two good pumpkin pie recipes where you can get just about all the ingredients in Argentina: Simply Recipe and For The Love Of Cooking.
(tarta de nueces pecan)
If pecan pies are more your thang, Kelly Poindexter Pastelera is whipping up an insanely delicious version for AR$90 (23 cm pie). I’ve tried this buttery, sweet, caramelized, nutty wonder – and it’s mighty tasty. (Photo by Kelly)
The Fixin’s: There’s no reason why you can’t have all your favorite fixings at the Thanksgiving mesa. All of these ingredients to make delicious recipes can be easily found in Buenos Aires. Click on each link for my favorite recipes:
- Green Bean Casserole (chauchas are in season!): Ditch the canned mushroom soup and pre-made fried onions and make a homemade version.
- Stuffing: One of my all time favorites, I probably gain a kilo each year from eating this by the giant spoonfuls.
- Mashed Potatoes: This is for all of you cheap mothertruckers who are allergic to the kitchen. You need to know how to boil and mash and measure. If you are poor, can’t cook, and need to bring food to a Turkey Day feast, this is your dish.
- Mac N Cheese: Even though I never ate this growing up during Thanksgiving, for the past few years it’s been a hit. I didn’t think the meal had enough carbs and fat alone, so I thought I’d bring some more to the table.
- Southern Biscuits: Biscuits were never at my Thanksgiving table, but they should have been (we ate challah instead). Pillows of doughy loveliness is the way to go — plus, it takes less than an hour to make.
- Brussels Sprouts: The Barefoot Contessa, AKA Ina Garten rocks my gassy brussel sprouts world with this recipe.
- Apple Pie: Usually my aunt is in charge of the apple pie and vanilla ice cream, since I’d probably Sandra Lee it and buy a pre-made crust. But this Pioneer Woman recipe is half easy pie crust half apple crumble.
Organized Thanksgiving Events in Buenos Aires (updated 2012)
For those lazies who couldn’t be bothered to cook a Thanksgiving dinner (ahem, me…) or losers who weren’t invited to any Thanksgiving dinner (ahem, me again..) or non-Yanquis who want to know what this annoying Thanksgiving hype is all about (ahem, not me), check out some local festivities in Buenos Aires:
Magdalena’s Party: This is the second year that MP will be offering a pretty killer Thanksgiving menu — last year they went all out, and you can expect the same zarpado-ness this year. For
100 pesos 200 pesos (inflations a bitch) Maggie’s will be serving organic free range Turkey with all the trimmings. There are four different seatings from 8pm – 11pm (one per hour – reservations required). Rumor has it next day turkey leftovers will be in empanada form – Thanksgiving Empanadas?! GENIUS!
Kansas Bar and Grill: The infamous BA establishment hosts a Thanksgiving lunch and dinner each year for
90 pesos 120 pesos per person. Think STUFFED turkey with mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, creamed spinach, glazed carrots and pecan pie with whipped creamed. They should be serving T-Day food all day, but since Kansas is always bumping, reservations are recommended.
Mexican Thanksgiving: NOLAchef will be spicing up Dia de Acción de Gracias by giving thanks to tequila and jalapeños. The regular cast of tacos de carne asada, guacamole and ceviche will make an appearance, but special Thanksgiving inspired guests mexicanos like sweet potato and black bean tacos, green bean casserole salad and pecan pie will also be there to please.
Sugar Bar: All day Thanksgiving dinner at Sugar Bar this Thursday, with turkey, roasted potatoes, veggies, stuffing and ‘sauce.’ It starts at 1pm and goes until 9pm. There’s also an all day long happy hour AND it’s also Ladies Night. Turkey and ladies, sounds like a hopping Thursday to me!
American Club: Not quite sure what this is, but I guess they offer a more *stuffy* Thanksgiving lunch at 160 pesos per person (2011 price). If you want to yank on the wishbone with the ambassador, this is your chance.
*El Alamo Bar: Starting from 12:45pm, the Alamo will be holding their annual Thanksgiving celebration with FREE mashed potatoes and gravy all night and a bunch of football, doesn’t get more American than that. If you are lucky, you may even catch some questionably legal porteñas in bikinis because what’s a sexier holiday than Thanksgiving? *Note: check to confirm the exact details at these places for Thanksgiving 2012
: For the 4th year in a row, Casabar throws this fiesta with Turkey day food and football. Unfortunately Casa Bar cancelled this year’s Thanksgiving festivities.
OK, now watch some of these Thanksgiving clips to get in the gobble spirit.