Thanksgiving Dinner with all the trimmings, Caramelized Parsnip and Carrot fries

For some curious reason, which I did not figure out, my Canadian family’s Thanksgiving dinner was hosted today, Saturday, in prime Haliburton  cottage country  in a solid wood chalet by  chilly Lake Kushog (believe me, I actually had a short swim- and short is the stressed word here). First, we had rain, then the sun tried a brief appearance but, soon the hail was taking over followed by a hard rain and  a refreshing breeze. So  quick swim, recovery in hot-tub and off to a full day of cooking, with ETA 18 hundred hours,  for a buffet for 17. The good thing about this Saturday’s rehearsal is that it was a great success that can be replicated on Thanksgiving day, Monday. (By you, not us).

A 25 pound grain fed Ontario  Turkey bird  from White House Meats, green beans, Brussels  sprouts, mashed potatoes, squash purée, Romaine lettuce, roasted yams, cranberry sauce and fig-orange conserve. As you can see, this is quite a few dishes and I forgot the stuffing and gravy!  Good thing that it was a family affair, that my sisters-in law are amazing cooks. They did produce this feast and tarts, not to mention pumpkin pies  with  hand-beaten vanilla whipped cream. The whipped cream was the only item produced by a male, and today  I wondered if this was really my Canada :).

Bonnie made the parsnip and carrot fries and they were the highlight of conversation. Nephews commented at the clever disguise, a vegetable that looked like a French fry, but turned out to be  a parsnip or carrot with a Balsamic caramel “costume”. The carrots were heirloom carrots from Québec with amazing colours, ranging from pale yellow to bright orange with red stripes.

My job  was to cut up all the parsnips and carrots in pieces about the size of  thin shoestring fries. All the thin cuts were gathered in a large bowl and sprinkled with a mixture of equal parts of Extra-virgin olive oil and Balsamic vinegar with brown sugar, I think it was a good cup of the “sauce” for 6 pounds of vegetables. After tossing them well, you lay them out flat on cookie sheets and roast them at 350 or higher for maybe 30 minutes, or the time it takes to get them crispy on the outside and very mushy inside just like the original French fries should be. Haha, that’s the trick and Bonnie is keeping that one under her hat. The vegetables are only roasted though, which brings the flavours out and saves you from the  evil of deep-fry. The adults loved it, the younger crowd complained about the cheat, but there was not one “fry” left.  As for French fries, do sprinkle with lots of salt before serving!

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4 Responses to Thanksgiving Dinner with all the trimmings, Caramelized Parsnip and Carrot fries

  1. Elisa's Spot says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! I’m on new diet ‘restrictions’ due to my stomach. I found gluten free balsamic, but it had soy.(if I remember correctly) However, I CAN have all of the veggies in the ‘fries’. I’m allergic to potato. Here people use odd words for turnips and rutabagas and parsnips. I think a turnip is the white/purple round thing, rutabagas have the yellow flesh with the wax coating, parsnips are shaped like a carrot but are an off white. Which ones did you use?

    • I think you are right, we used parsnips, the long white ones shaped like carrots, and I corrected the recipe to reflect that. The parsnips we had, from Quebec, were very white , both skin and the vegetable itself. they were sweeter than the slightly yellow parsnips that are the most common variety. Thanks for your clarifications.

  2. Amelia says:

    Your description of the meal is wonderful, I could almost taste all of the great items you described. What fun!
    Thinking of all of you up at Kushog and wishing you a happy Thanksgiving.
    Love Amelia

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