Blueberries on the holiday table? Yes, makes a great combination. Blueberries are generally not included in Thanksgiving fare in many households, but food blogger Erika Kerekes decided to inspire us. She hosted a “Very Blueberry Thanksgiving” event, which was sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council and Rioja Wines. Every single dish had blueberries in it. Was I tired of eating blueberries by the end of the Thanksgiving meal? No, not at all! Infact, it is amazing how you can add Blueberries to both savory and sweet dishes and they go perfectly. If you are not a cranberry fan, blueberries also make a great substitute. They are truly #littlebluedynamos.
This time of the year, fresh blueberries in the US come in from Chile. Chile has what’s known as the Upside Down season. They produce fruits and vegetables that are not in season in the US and they are the super exporters to US and many other countries. Additionally, Chile has some of the best farming practices since they have to conform to the European countries standards. This means that their quality is just as good, if not better than what we get locally. I plan on researching this further and writing more, as I often see produce from Chile, but I never know whether I should buy it or not.
Btw Rioja wines pair beautifully with Thanksgiving dishes! See the pairing below. A fun tip I learnt: If the wine has too much tannin, chill it a little and it goes deliciously with everything else.
Every single dish was delicious, so I am going to highlight what I thought was absolutely extraordinary:
1) Pumpkin Soup Shooters with Dried Blueberry Dust. I loved the addition of pulsed dried blueberries powder to this soup. It added such a pretty hue to the dish. The fun part you can add the Blueberry Dust to any fall themed soups — Butternut Squash Soup, Kambocha soup etc. Recipe here.
2) Blueberry Butternut Squash Salad. This salad was my favorite. A layered salad with roasted butternut squash cubes, caramelized red onions, toasted pumpkin seeds, fresh blueberries, drizzled with a thick vinaigrette made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and dried blueberries. Sounds yummy? IT IS! Recipe here.
3) Pulled Turkey Sliders. Don’t like to serve or cook whole Turkey on Thanksgiving Day? Or perhaps your guests find Turkey too dry and you want an alternative but still want to include Turkey on the table? Try these Turkey Sliders. Recipe created by Erika Kerekes and posted below.
- 6 boneless, skinless turkey thighs (ask your butcher to prepare them for you)
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 32-ounce bag frozen blueberries
- 1 cup golden raisins
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- ● 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ● 1 teaspoon salt
- ● ¼ teaspoon red chile flakes
- ● 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
- ● small soft dinner rolls
- ● shredded red and green cabbage, for garnish
- At least 1 day before serving: Put the turkey thighs in a Dutch oven or casserole dish with a tight-fitting cover. Sprinkle with the garlic salt and cumin, then pour the orange juice around the sides of the turkey. Cover the baking dish. Put in the oven and set the oven to 275 degrees F.
- Walk away for at least 8 hours. (Alternatively, cook the turkey thighs in a slow cooker on low for 8 hours.)
- While the turkey is cooking, make the blueberry chutney: Put the dried blueberries, raisins, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, salt, chile flakes, and rosemary into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer uncovered 1 hour, or until the chutney is thickened and looks glossy. Transfer the chutney to a glass jar and refrigerate until ready to serve. (The chutney can
- be made up to 1 month ahead; in fact, it will taste better if you make it in advance.)
- When the turkey is done, use two forks to pull the meat into shreds. Mix it with the juices that have accumulated in the baking dish.
- To serve, pile some of the pulled turkey onto a soft dinner roll. Top with some shredded cabbage and a heaping spoonful of the chutney. Serve immediately.