Thanksgiving Dinner

Since Canadian Thanksgiving is a month before American Thanksgiving and it’s Japanese counterpart (which isn’t really celebrated), I don’t get visual reminders in supermarkets and department stores.  I once again forgot about Thanksgiving until the middle of last week.  I don’t spend much time in central Tokyo anymore and thus don’t have ready access to turkeys so I decided that this Thanksgiving I would go for a chicken.  There are five essential parts of Thanksgiving (and Christmas) dinner for me: mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, turkey and pumpkin pie.  If I have those five dishes I am good to go.  This Thanksgiving I will have to settle for four out of five.  I’ll have to splurge on a fancy turkey for Christmas.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Our feast: mashed potatoes, roasted chicken, stuffing and green beans, broccoli and kabu (turnip) done in the tajine nabe.  Pumpkin pie for dessert, of course.


onion, diced finelyStuffing

carrot, diced finely

celery, diced finely

garlic, minced

melted butter or oil

salt, pepper, mustard powder, sage

chicken bullion cube(s) or cooked turkey juice

bread, torn – I always use stale bread that has been slowly accumulating in the freezer for this specific purpose

I hate onions that are not cooked so I always saute the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in some oil and butter.  While it is sauteing I tear the bread and put it in a large bowl.  I then add enough sauted vegetables to the bread to make it nice and moist.  Season with salt, pepper, mustard powder and sage.  You want it to smell somewhat strong but be careful with the sage.  melt some butter and mix it into the bread.  If you are cooking the chicken outside of the bird I recommend dissolving a chicken bullion cube into some water and pouring it over the stuffing and adjust seasoning.  Mix up and put in a casserole dish.  Let sit for a while for flavors to mix.  Bake at the same time as your turkey/chicken.  I baked it separately at 160C for about 40min, covered, due to a small oven issue.

Next is kabocha pie (this is a pumpkin pie recipe that uses kabocha instead).  I am not a big fan of nutmeg or allspice in pumpkin pie so I just use ginger and cinnamon.  Basically use 2 teaspoons of spices of your choice.

Pumpkin Pie

Alannah Leah (My grandmother)

Kabocha Pie3/4c brown sugar (if using a kabocha that is sweet you may need to reduce this)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin (or kabocha)

1/3 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water (optional – I usually don’t add it)

2 well beaten eggs

1 cup canned milk (I used the sweetened condensed milk sold for strawberries in Japan and don’t add sugar)

Mix sugar and spices, then add pumpkin followed by liquid.  Whisk together until smooth.  Bake in your favorite pie crust for ten minutes at 220C and then turn the oven down to 160C and bake for 40-60 minutes more.  Cool before serving.

Note: The following day I baked the leftover pie filling in a silicon cake mold and it was brilliant – no crust needed.

Easy Pie Crust

Can’t remember where I found this

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.  Place all the ingredients into your pie pan and mix with a fork.  Pat the mixture up the bottoms and sides of the pan.  Bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven or until light brown.  I sometimes don’t pre-bake it because it sometimes burns.

A Tajine-Nabe Hybrid

My favorite winter food in Japan is nabe (hotpot), especially kimchie nabe.  My current favorite kitchen tool is my tajine.  I decided to try a hybrid that saves time.

IngredientsKimchie Nabe Tajine

Three servings

1 block tofu, cut into large pieces

1/2 carrot, sliced

3-4 Chinese cabbage leaves. cut into bite sized squares

10cm of negi, cut diagonally

10cm daikon, sliced

50-100g shaved pork

1 handful bean sprouts

1/4-1/2 cup kimchie nabe sauce (the bottles contain a concentrate, I used it straight)

Directions in picture form:

Step one Place daikon, tofu and stalks of Chinese cabbage into the tajine and microwave for four to six minutes.  My microwave took six minutes to cook the daikon.  I like tofu that has lost a lot of water so I put it in from the start.  If you like more watery tofu, put it in in the next step.

Step twoAdd the rest of the vegetables and meat.  Drizzle the kimchie nabe sauce over top.  Microwave for a further 3-4 minutes.

The final productThis is what you get.  Serve alongside rice or by itself.