HTX Good Eats 2013
No Turkey Thanksgiving

Who needs turkey on Thanksgiving?! These holiday food alternatives kill the bird

Who needs turkey on Thanksgiving! These holiday food alternatives kill

Mi Concina enchiladas, tamale and rice
Chef Jamie Goicoechea of The Woodlands Mi Cocina says that at his casa they sometimes incorporate tamales and a roasted leg of pork along with more traditional fare. Mi Concina Restaurants/Facebook
Lamb at Central Market
Find delicious lamb at Central Market that could totally replace the traditional turkey. Central Market/Facebook
House of Pies mixed berry pie with scoop of ice cream
We're all ready for the House of Pies in time for Thanksgiving Day. Photo by Duskin Askins/Flickr
Mi Concina enchiladas, tamale and rice
Lamb at Central Market
House of Pies mixed berry pie with scoop of ice cream

Who hasn’t seen the 1983 classic A Christmas Story and not gone out for Chinese on Christmas Day at least once?

But can you really have Thanksgiving without a turkey?

Yes, yes you can. Or at least you can add other entrees along with your turkey.

Chef Jamie Goicoechea, of The Woodlands Mi Cocina, says that at his casa they sometimes incorporate tamales and a roasted leg of pork along with more traditional fare.

The Greater Houston Restaurant Association’s new executive director Melissa Stewart does a traditional Thanksgiving meal with extended family but then has a separate special meal with her hubby and child the following Saturday with steak and desserts that they wouldn’t get on turkey day.

P eople who don’t like Brussels sprouts just haven’t had them prepared correctly. 

But if you don’t want to cook at all, there’s always Central Market. A popular go-to grocery for Inner Loopers, Central Market kicks it up a notch for the holidays with chef prepared foods you can order and pick up to take home. (Just toss the packaging and you can claim the goods as your own hard work from slaving in the kitchen all day.)

One of the perks of writing about food is that Central Market invites me, and other food writers, for a tasting lunch every year to try their new items. Yeah, I have a hard job.

Now you can get turkeys at Central Market, cooked, uncooked and even pre-brined but uncooked. But there are some new entree items this year you can order as well.

There is the standard white hickory smoked bone-in ham, but also a delicious roasted boneless leg of lamb stuffed with dried Turkish apricots, dried cranberries and mint that could totally replace the traditional turkey. And yes, you can use the leftover lamb in Friday’s morning hash instead of turkey. It’s equally delicious.

Another yummy alternative is the porchetta, traditional Italian pork roast rolled around pistachio pesto and roasted until golden with a slightly crunchy skin. I highly recommend it.

More Than Turkey

New sides include a Swiss chard and leek gratin that is really decadent and roasted Brussels sprouts. People who don’t like Brussels sprouts just haven’t had them prepared correctly.

And Central Market has pies.

We all hope that the fire-shuttered House of Pies reopens in time for Thanksgiving Day, but Central Market has pies to go just in case. With a new pumpkin cream cheese pie and a pear and crystallized ginger that is wonderful.

 Central Market kicks it up a notch for the holidays with chef prepared foods. 

By the way, Central Market will be open for last minute Thanksgiving shopping until 2 p.m. on the holiday in case you forgot to buy spices or butter, or whatever. There may even be some chef prepared Hatch stuffing left.

So, whatever you choose for you Thanksgiving meal I wish you happiness and deliciousness. As for me, I will be enjoying the company of family at one of the many restaurants that are open on turkey day.

Enjoy. Turkey or not.

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