My First Thanksgiving Dinner Party Ever Needed a Rehearsal

2015 will remain in my memories as the year I hosted my first Thanksgiving Dinner Party ever. It’s been a great success (yay!) but as a real beginner I’ve made two little mistakes at once from the start: inciting my friends to immediately savage my meal with their hungry forks and knives because everything looked so good and yummy, and therefore – mistake number two – not making time for taking pictures of all the dishes on the table! I realize I’m not being modest at all here, but honestly the meal really was yummy (to my taste) and I think my guests enjoyed it a lot too. Besides, what I am even prouder of is that I’ve been able to time and manage cooking several dishes at the same time in my kitchen, despite the different cooking techniques and different baking times.

So, because of the absence of pictures of the dinner table, I have to find at least a little something to show you some of the elements that composed my Thanksgiving meal. Luckily enough for me, my husband had suggested last week that we’d better go over a turkey roasting trial during the weekend so that we’d have time to improve the roasting technique and the gravy flavor/consistency/dripping feel, before “da big night”! And so we did have our Thanksgiving Rehearsal Dinner, which allows me today to post at least one picture of the same turkey we had last night (even if the picture is a few days old). The potatoes on this picture from the weekend before were simple pan-fried potato slices with butter, garlic and parsley, but for Thanksgiving dinner I made real homemade traditional mashed potatoes, French-style though, with milk, butter, salt, pepper and melted grated cheese.

Ginger and Honey Roasted Turkey with Raisins

For the turkey and its side, I made the choice to find an alternative to the Cranberry sauce that I don’t really love, and decided that my sauce will be part of the turkey roast process as well (so I could save some precious cooking time and give my poultry a special taste of festivity). I’ve opted for a Ginger and Honey Roasted Turkey with Raisins, with a gravy made out from that sauce and the cooking juices altogether.


  1. Cut big turkey thighs into very large chunks, keep the skin on, and save the bones for making a regular poultry broth that you will use later for the turkey roasting and gravy making.
  2. In a deep bottom saucepan, begin to cook the turkey chunks, skin face down first, to allow the fat to drip down, and cook till golden brown before flipping them over. Brown the other side too, until both faces look crispy. Depending on how many chunks you cut, you may have to cook them in two separate batches.
  3. Transfer all the chunks into a frying pan or large skillet.
  4. Cook one or two minutes on high heat on the stove, and in the meantime add a tablespoon of honey to the pan. It will start melting almost immediately, so while it does, sprinkle Ginger powder over all the turkey chunks, and then start flipping them over (gently) in the pan with a fork or spatula, so that they get coated with the honey juices.
  5. Reduce the heat to low, put the raisins a bit everywhere in the pan, pour two thirds of the broth and cover with a lid or aluminum foil.
  6. Roast for a good 30 to 40 minutes on low fire, and uncover from time to time to flip the turkey and coat it some more with the sweet mixture and broth to prevent from drying off.
  7. When time is up, set the turkey on a service plate. Leave the raisins in the pan with the caramelized juices and finish pouring the broth. Bring to a soft boil, stir well and turn the fire off, then pour into a bowl. You just made a light gravy to go with the turkey and the mash! Congrats!

As for the other dishes on the table, my blogging life is suddenly gonna turn simpler than expected (hehe!) as all the side dishes were vegetables I had made before and posted about (and I promise i didn’t plan this). Check out the links for the detailed recipes, and rendez-vous next year for my second Thanksgiving round because the experience was so great!

  • Wild mushrooms stew (click the link)
  • Roasted vegetables and sweet potato in lemon and Dijon marinade (click the link and forget about the chicken in the original recipe)
  • Mashed potatoes: boil potatoes, peel them off, mash them. Bring milk to a boil in a saucepan, stir potatoes, add a large tbsp of butter and a handful of grated cheese, and will you combine the ingrédients, add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Fresh salad: arugula leaves, cherry tomatoes, feta cubes, black olives and pine nuts, with olive oil and balsmic dressing.
  • And that’s our dessert that my friend Celia made for us although she couldn’t attend our dinner party: Apple tart, rose shaped, that we ate with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and salty caramel sauce. but again, no time to take a picture, we were too much in a hurry to taste the dessert!

Apple Tarts from Celia Carle for Sophie at

Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi, © 2015 All Rights Reserved.



  1. Warmest congratulations Sophie on your first Thanksgiving dinner; that is a real feat and especially with the lovely food you made. It sounds delicious…especially the mashed potatoes…absolutely love the way the French make them…so much butter etc. You should be really proud of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

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