One of the most important American celebrations is, of course, Thanksgiving, when family and friends gather around the table to share a meal. It is much more than a day filled with recipes, football, and parades, though; it is an opportunity to strengthen relationships with our families, reflect on the history and significance—however complicated—of this holiday, and think about all the things for which we are grateful.
But how can we add some sabor Latino to this historic holiday? For Mexican chef Santiago Gómez—the genius behind Miami’s Cantina La Veinte, and Tacology—it is key not to forget we are dealing with a very important tradition. “It’s about taking the classic dishes of this celebration—such as turkey and sweet potato purée—and playing with them to add some Latin flavor. I’m not of the mindset of introducing new dishes because in the end we are in the United States, and we’re becoming part of this celebration,” commented the winner of the 2017 Iron Fork Miami. “For example, being Mexican, I always end up adding some chili or chipotle to the sides.”
For many immigrants, Thanksgiving begins to be part of their lives once they arrive in the US. “Since I moved to Miami I’ve always liked this holiday. It’s about being thankful and eating something delicious,” he admits. So lose the fear of being creative in the kitchen while keeping to the essence of this celebration, share good times with our loved ones, and take a moment to be more grateful.
If you're ready to infuse Latin flavor into your Thanksgiving dinner, try these three recipes courtesy of acclaimed Chef Santiago Gomez!
SMOKED TANGY BUTTER TO BRUSH ON THE TURKEY
Put 1 cup of unsalted butter in a pan and cook on medium with 1 or 2 chiles de árbol and let infuse for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and add ¼ cup of lime juice and ¼ cup of smoked mezcal. Brush the turkey with the butter before it goes in the oven.
CHIPOTLE CRANBERRY SAUCE
In a pan add 4 cups of fresh cranberries on low heat, add some sugar to taste, and cook for about 10 minutes until the cranberries burst. Add 1 teaspoon of smoked chipotle and mix.
JALAPEÑO SWEET POTATO PUREE
Peel and cook 3 sweet potatoes in boiling water until tender. Place two slices of jalapeño peppers directly onto the stove and roast until their skin starts to blister. In a food processor puree the jalapeños, sweet potatoes, and ½ cup of unsalted butter. Add salt to taste.