5 Spanish dishes perfect for an American Thanksgiving

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Sometimes being a rebel is just too tempting to pass up.  Whether it means sneaking an extra item through the 10-items-and-under line at your local grocery store or standing in place under a “no loitering” sign, we all have to bring our inner bad boy or girl out every now and then.
And when it comes to Thanksgiving, although we love tradition, sometimes we secretly think of putting a few alternative dishes on the festive table just to shake things up.

If you’re looking to add some spice – literally and figuratively – to your Thanksgiving feast this year, you need look no further than Spain for inspiration.  Here we take a look at five delectable Spanish foods and recipes which would fit perfectly on your holiday table making your guests shout Olé!

The Appetizer:  Jamón Ibérico

Often lauded as the Rolls Royce of ham, a Spanish jamón Ibérico is the star on any Spanish menu and treated with a much-deserved respect.  This Spanish delicacy is sweet and nutty with a delicate layer of fat (good cholesterol by the way!) literally melts on your tongue.  The Guardian, dedicated an entire article to jamón ibérico in 2010 stating that  “few food experiences have or ever will match it.”

Previously, very difficult to get outside of Spain, laws have changed worldwide, allowing gourmands everywhere to partake in the experience.  With many options to purchase a Spanish jamón online, there is no excuse to deny this treasure to your guests and you’ll find that it is the perfect prelude to the upcoming feast.  Odds are high that Anthony Bourdain will be having it on his Thanksgiving table as well!

The Sides: Espinacas con Garbanzos

Espinacas con garbanzos
Photo by Xemenendura via Wikipedia

A popular choice in the tapas bars of Seville, this is the perfect side dish, to combine your greens and legumes. The spinach is sautéed in olive oil with garlic and cumin along with the chickpeas. Slightly mash them for some texture and voilá, your Andalusian side is ready to serve. Go to recipe.

The Dressing/Stuffing:  Migas

Spanish Migas
Photo by Tamorlan via Wikipedia

Every region in Spain has their version of a dish called Migas.  Literally meaning crumbs in Spanish, this dish is made with day-old bread (hence the name crumbs) and is mixed with diced chorizo and bits of Spanish bacon.  Adding grapes or figs gives this dish its unique twist. Although intended to be eaten on its own, migas make a delicious alternative to a traditional stuffing mixture, and can be used as a dressing on the side or to stuff a bird. Go to recipe.

The Bird:  Pollo en Pepitoria

Pollo en pepitoria
Photo by Tamorlan via Wikipedia

Although turkey is not as common in Spain as it is in the US, it does find its way onto the dinner table, especially at the holidays.  But since we’re feeling rebellious, we’re suggesting a distinctive chicken dish, flavored with sherry and saffron.  Pollo en pepitoria, as it is known, is a comfort food that could be – and should be – elevated to a higher status.  This recipe can certainly be made with turkey too. Go to recipe.

The Dessert:  Tarta de Santiago

Tarta de Santiago
Photo by Katrin Gilger via flickr

When it comes to Autumn desserts, the almond rules in Spain.  And we can think of no better representation than the ubiquitous Tarta de Santiago (St. James’ cake).   A moist and rich cake made with ground almonds and no flour.  The recipe dates back to the middle ages and is named after the patron saint of Spain, St. James, known in Spanish as Santiago. His legend has spurred millions to undergo the pilgrimage, The Camino de Santiago (The Way!).  This cake is covered in powdered sugar and traditionally decorated with an imprint of the cross of St. James. Go to recipe.

Happy Thanksgiving from Corazón Travel and Insider’s Madrid