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whole roasted duck

All Photos: Ramona King

Whole Roast Duck with Potatoes


These three Thanksgiving-appropriate recipes are perfect to serve if you're tired of turkey

While we know many of you couldn't bear to part with tradition, there are all kinds of reasons why you may want to serve something other than turkey come Thanksgiving day. Turkey is, after all, not the most practical protein for small dinners, and it'll never do for vegetarians. No matter the reason, if you're looking to do something different this year, we're here to help.

Here are three great Thanksgiving entrees, with no turkey in sight.

Whole Roast Duck with Potatoes
If you've got a smaller gathering but still love the drama of a whole roasted bird, consider springing for a whole duck. Ducks are even easier — and far faster — to roast than a turkey. We like to roast our duck on top of baby Yukon Gold potatoes so that the savory fat rendering from the bird coats the potatoes, lending them tons of flavor and a beautiful bronzed color. And don't forget to stuff the cavity of the bird with garlic and rosemary to impart even more flavor to the bird and potatoes.
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Stuffed Acorn Squash
Stuffed squash makes for a great vegetable-heavy main dish, and it can be just as elegant has a whole bird. And while we like to use sausage in our stuffed squash, it is quite easy to turn this into a vegetarian entree. Simply substitute one pound of mushrooms, sauteed in butter, for the sausage. We particularly like shiitakes here, but you could also use a mixture of wild mushrooms or cremini mushrooms, cooked until all of their liquid has evaporated. We promise all of your veggie friends will be pleased.
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Pork Tenderloin with Red Cabbage and Apples
Or if you've got a table for two this year, skip trying to roast a moist turkey breast and instead sear up this easy, one-pan pork tenderloin dish. Tenderloin cooks in minutes, and is even more succulent and flavorful than the best-cooked turkey. While the tenderloin rests, saute up apples and cabbage in the pan drippings for an easy side dish. All you need is mashed potatoes and pie, and your menu is complete.
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Kate Williams is an associate editor at Southern Kitchen. She is also an on-air personality on our podcast, Sunday Supper. She has been working in food since 2009, including a two-year stint at America’s Test Kitchen. Kate has been a personal chef, recipe developer, the food editor at a hyperlocal news site in Berkeley and a freelance writer for publications such as Serious Eats, Anova Culinary, The Cook’s Cook and Berkeleyside. Kate is also an avid rock climber and occasionally dabbles in long-distance running. She makes a mean peach pie and likes her bourbon neat.

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