Ayesha Curry's Complete Guide to Hosting a Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner
Whether or not you're a Warriors fan, you probably wouldn't mind being adopted by the Currys. After all, NBA star Stephen Curry, his model/chef wife Ayesha, and their two adorable daughters, Riley and Ryan, are the epitome of a happy family—not to mention one that eats like kings, thanks to their matriarch's unrivaled skills in the kitchen.
With Thanksgiving looming like a wild turkey hobbling around in the woods, we asked Curry for the tried-and-true recipes that her family loves. Her eclectic menu features flavors influenced by her Jamaican and southern roots (think: jerk turkey, pork chops, cornbread, and bananas foster), sure to please palates jaded by the same old traditional fare. "I love being surrounded by loved ones while we make the house smell incredible," she says.
Here, Curry's favorite out-of-the-box Thanksgiving dishes.
GET CREATIVE WITH THE TURKEY
"The turkey is the star of the meal," says Curry. "My mom always served it jerk-style at Thanksgiving, with all of the Caribbean tastes that I love, and I've carried on the tradition. It brings back the best memories."Jerk Turkey
Serves 6, with extra for sandwiches
8 tbsp (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 green onions, coarsely chopped
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
Leaves from 3 thyme sprigs
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 boneless, skin-on turkey breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. In a food processor, pulse together the butter, garlic, green onions, shallot, thyme, cloves, allspice, and black pepper until a chunky compound butter forms, about 30 seconds.
3. Pat the turkey breasts with paper towels so the skin is completely dry. This will help the butter stick to the skin. Divide the butter in half and spread it over the skin of each turkey breast. It’s okay if it doesn’t look perfect—use your hands to press the butter onto the skin.
4. Place the turkey breasts, skin-side up, in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Combine the broth and soy sauce and pour into the baking dish. Continue to bake the turkey until the skin is golden brown and crispy and the breasts have cooked all the way though, about 30 more minutes. If you're using an instant-read meat thermometer, the internal temperature at the thickest part of the breast should be about 160°F. (The turkey will continue to cook after it’s pulled out of the oven.)
5. Let the turkey rest for about 15 minutes to give the juices time to reabsorb into the meat. Slice one turkey breast into thick slices and serve on top of the butternut squash mash. Cool the other turkey breast to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. Slice thinly and use for sandwiches or salads during the week.
DOUBLE DOWN ON THE MAIN COURSE
"This is Stephen's favorite dish, as well as the rest of the family's," says Curry. Balsamic Lamb Chops
8 small lamb rib chops (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Leaves from 2 small rosemary sprigs
1 cup balsamic vinegar (preferably fig-infused)
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (depending on how sweet your balsamic vinegar is)
1. Preheat an outdoor grill or have a cast-iron grill pan handy.
2. Season the lamb chops with the salt and pepper, then sprinkle with the rosemary leaves and massage the seasonings into the meat. (This helps the flavors seep into the lamb and release the aromas of the rosemary.) Let the lamb sit at room temperature while you make the balsamic sauce.
3. In a saucepan, heat the vinegar and 1/4 cup sugar over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium, and cook until the vinegar has reduced by half and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 9 minutes. If the vinegar tastes too sharp for your liking, stir in more sugar until it reaches a level you like.
4. If using a grill pan, preheat the pan over medium-high heat.
5. Grill the lamb chops until cooked through and dark grill marks appear, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare to medium. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Transfer to a platter and drizzle some balsamic vinegar sauce over the top. Serve extra at the table so people can help themselves.
DON'T SKIMP ON CARBS
"You can never go wrong with cornbread," says Curry. "This decadent version doesn't disappoint."Cast-Iron Cornbread
1 1/4 cups cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 packed cup dark brown sugar, plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling on top
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1 can sweet creamed corn
1 (8 oz.) container mascarpone cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Oil a 12-inch, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the milk, creamed corn, mascarpone, and eggs. Gently stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until well combined, then stir in the melted butter.
4. Pour the batter into the skillet and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.
SERVE A FLAMING DESSERT
"Bananas foster is always my go-to when I want a quick and easy dessert," says Curry. "It's a party showstopper—and so delicious."Bananas Foster
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 packed cup dark brown sugar
3 or 4 bananas, sliced crosswise
1/4 cup spiced rum
Splash of heavy cream (optional)
1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to bubble, sprinkle in the brown sugar and stir to combine. Return to a simmer and add the bananas, tossing to coat and warm through.
2. Pour in the rum and tip the pan toward the burner to encourage the rum to flambé (catch fire). Or, if you’re cooking on an elec- tric or induction burner, light a long lighter or match and carefully hold it near the surface of the sauce to flambé. The flame cooks off the alcohol. If the sauce looks a little broken, with the butter separating from the sugar, add a splash of cream to help bring it back together. Serve immediately.