Just because we are thousands of miles away from good ol’ Yanquilandia doesn’t mean we can’t pile our plates high in holiday cheer. Personally, I’ll be eating a meat-packed asado for my own steaksgiving, but for those who feel that homesick food nostalgia during the eating season, here’s how to get in on all the thankful action on Día de Acción de Gracias, Argie style. (Photo: Saveur)
The Thanksgiving Essentials
The Turkey (Pavo o Pavita): Meet your Thanksgiving savior —> Granja Converso. Granja Converso sells free range turkeys (along with a wide selection of other great products) that gobble all the way from Cordoba. Check with the friendly butchers at Piaf Carnicería, who also regularly carry beautiful birds, or Granja Don Pablo in the Belgrano Market. If you get really desperate for a gobble, Jumbo, Carrefour and Disco also sell the Brazilian Sadia brand frozen birds. Or if you wait until the last minute, just buy a roasted chicken from La Cresta, no one will notice the difference(?)
Cranberry Sauce (salsa de aranándos 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 these days it looks like the shipment never made it. Fresh cranberries (called either cranberries in an Argentina accent or arándanos rojos) occasionally pop up at barrio markets or good vegetable shops – but tend to be insanely expensive. 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 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.
- Arándanos rojos: Dried cranberries hit the diétetica and Barrio Chino shelves last year, and have made a lasting appearance. The best place to pick up your craisins? Liniers Market in bulk.
- 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.
- Import that shit: Be smart, plan ahead, and smuggle a few jiggly cans of store bought jellied cranberries.
Sweet Potatoes (batatas): This one is easy breezy as you can find batatas all over the place. Sure, it’s not the sweet yellow YAMMY as many are used to, but if you buy the local version, roast it in the oven with sugar and orange juice, it will do the sweet potato 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, 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 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 Sally’s Baking Addiction.
ALL DEM FIXINGS: 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 only need to know how to boil water, kind of measure, mash and add butter. 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. 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 sprout world with this recipe.
- Apple Pie: Apple pie and vanilla ice cream, what a way to postre. Follow Pioneer Woman’s recipe for a half easy pie crust + half apple crumble.
Organized Thanksgiving Events in Buenos Aires on Thursday, November 24 (updated 2016)
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 fatty overeat to oblivion Thanksgiving hype is all about, check out some local festivities in Buenos Aires:
Kansas Bar and Grill: This year the infamous BA American food establishment will be hosting their own Thanksgiving partay. Think STUFFED turkey with mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, creamed spinach, glazed carrots and pecan pie with whipped creamed. They say they will be serving Thanksgiving food all day, but since Kansas is always bumping, specified reservations are recommended. The price: $320 pesos.
Central Soho: Gurruchaga’s new gringo on the block will be cooking up a traditional T-Day extravaganza from 5pm to 10pm with roasted turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn bread, apple pie, and REAL pumpkin pie with whipped cream! (And when we say real, we really mean the canned pumpkin goodness.) At 10pm, the fiesta moves to the backyard for a late night asado STEAKSGIVING barbecue. And of course, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving Day without some sports — Central Soho will be screening NFL and NCAA games all day long.
Expat Thanksgiving @ Mansion Boero: An all-star cooking crew (El Tejano, Chicken Bros, Withers) will be teaming up at the Members’ Only Mansion Boero for a special expat Thanksgiving potluck. Bring your best Thanksgiving side dish, $200 pesos to cover turkey costs, and your most breathable elastic pants for the ultimate feast. Drinks can be bought at the bar, or bring wine and pay a $50 corkage fee. Spots are limited so RSPV quick and plead your Turkey Day case to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sugar Bar: The lowdown: Turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and waaaaarm apple pie with vanilla ice cream ($400 pesos, includes 2 Budweisers). Dinner will be served at 7.30pm & 10pm (two seatings). It’s also LADIESSSSSSSZ Night til 1am.
Magdalena’s Party: This is the third year that MP will be offering a pretty killer Thanksgiving menu — in years past they went all out, and you can expect the same zarpado-ness this year. On Friday, November 29th, for 100 pesos 200 pesos 225 pesos (inflations a bitch), Maggie’s will be serving organic free range Turkey with all the trimmings, cranberry sauce, stuffing, turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie, and wine. There are two different seatings, 20 people max per seating (reservations required). Rumor has it next day turkey leftovers will be in empanada form – Thanksgiving Empanadas?! GENIUS! *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). Thanksgiving lunch will be held starting at 1pm, with a cash bar opening at 12pm. If you want to yank on the wishbone with the ambassador, this is your chance.
*Do you know if a great spot to celebrate Thanksgiving in Buenos Aires? Let us know!
OK, you must watch all of these Thanksgiving clips to get in the gobbleglobble spirit.