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Thanksgiving dinner plate by Lucy Waverman photographed in Toronto, September 13 2016.Danielle Matar/The Globe and Mail

Some years, our family Thanksgiving is quite small. Perhaps my kids' partners' parents want to host them, or someone has decided to go out of town. This year, I'm readjusting the big dinner to something more manageable, as there will be just six of us. So I'm making capon – those little male birds neutered when young to produce larger breasts.

I would probably choose a capon over a turkey anyway as they are juicier and forgiving when left unattended or even overcooked. It takes the pressure off. Capons are always available at butchers over Thanksgiving and Christmas.

To add interest to the meal, I make tempting vegetable side dishes: I'm not including a recipe for mashed potatoes, I believe that roast bird always call out for mashed, one elevated and lightened with celeriac.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Roasted capon

Apple, sage and pancetta stuffing

Roasted sweet potatoes with mushrooms and ginger

Brussels sprouts with manchego cheese

Coconut pumpkin flan