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A Thanksgiving Trick for the Most Flavorful Roasted Vegetables

Food52 logo Food52 11/16/2020 Posie (Harwood) Brien
a plate of food on a table © Provided by Food52

We teamed up with The Spice Hunter to share a very-clever trick for taking your roast vegetables up a few notches this Thanksgiving: Season them with The Spice Hunter's Original Turkey Brine, plus the turkey's pan drippings.

In my experience, people tend to fall into one of two camps when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner: the traditionalists and the non-traditionalists. The former prefer to stick with the exact same versions of classic dishes, year after year, even if no one eats the creamed onions or only one person likes cranberry sauce. The latter are always looking for new twists on the basic menu—whether that means deep-frying a turkey or mixing goat cheese and caramelized onions into mashed potatoes.

Though I consider myself a traditionalist, I think there’s always room for change and improvement. What if we could stick to the classics without totally reworking them, but still find a way to amplify the flavors and turn up the volume on all the things that make them wonderful to begin with?

Take roasted vegetables, for instance. They’re a staple of so many fall and winter dinners, and an essential element of most Thanksgiving menus in some form or another. My go-to version is about as straightforward of a method as you’ll find: toss the vegetables (carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, and so on) in oil, scatter on a few herbs, season with salt and pepper, and roast until soft and golden on the edges.

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They’re delicious, and excellent alongside turkey at Thanksgiving. But this year, I've been considering how I could elevate basic roasted vegetables without introducing some complicated technique or completely making over the dish.

That’s when it dawned on me: Use the turkey brine seasoning and pan drippings to give 'em a boost.

You’ll be mixing everything together on your plate anyway, so it makes sense to mingle the two earlier on in the cooking process. Instead of mixing and matching herbs, spice the vegetables with the same blend intended for brining the turkey—The Spice Hunter’s Original Turkey Brine includes brown sugar, cranberries, apples, garlic, orange peel, juniper berries, thyme, rosemary, and sage. It already has sea salt and black peppercorn, so you can skip that extra seasoning step, too.

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Roast Vegetables With Turkey Brine Seasoning

By Posie (Harwood) Brien

  • 1 cup pan drippings, reserved from brined and roasted turkey
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 pound baby new potatoes
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 tablespoons The Spice Hunter Original Turkey Brine

View Full Recipe

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Those flavors—sweet and salty, fruity and herbaceous, tart and umami-forward—all complement the vegetables, but none are so robust as to overpower the dish. The schmaltzy goodness of the turkey's pan drippings rounds out everything perfectly.

Since it wouldn’t really be Thanksgiving without something to sip on, you’ll need a cocktail to go with, of course. Take the same approach, and find a way to channel the flavors of a drink you already love. For me, that’s mulled wine. Instead of simply infusing wine with mulling spices, I make a thick cocktail syrup using The Spice Hunter’s Mulling Spices, sugar, and red wine. Simply mix that syrup with sparkling wine, add a twist of lemon, and you’re on to a new—but familiar—holiday tradition.

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Mulled Wine Sparkler

By Posie (Harwood) Brien

For the mulled wine syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons The Spice Hunter Mulling Spices
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups red wine

For the sparkler:

  • 4 ounces sparkling wine, such as Prosecco
  • 1/2 ounce mulled wine syrup (see above)
  • 1 strip of lemon peel

View Full Recipe

- Have you ever tried this veggie-roasting trick? Tell us in the comments!

With help from our partner, The Spice Hunter, you can take any meal from dull to delicious with just a sprinkle or pinch. This Thanksgiving, give your roast vegetables an extra boost of flavor with a smart (but simple!) trick: Season them with The Spice Hunter Original Turkey Brine—a savory blend of fruit and rosemary—plus the turkey's pan drippings. Of course, dinner wouldn't be complete without a cocktail. Our go-to sip for Turkey Day? A bright, bubbly cocktail starring a rich, aromatic syrup made from The Spice Hunter Mulling Spices.

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