Happy Thanksgiving! [Delicious Dishes from Around the World]

November 25, 2019

In America, families across the country are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving with loved ones. A big part of the holiday is, of course, a gigantic, delicious meal! Today we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite recipes from our staff around the world. If you’re looking to add a little cultural flair to your traditional Thanksgiving meal, this is the perfect place for you!

Argentina: Empanadas

Empanadas make a delicious addition to any meal or party. Empanadas taste different in each province (one can even say each family has its own recipe secrets), which means there are many ways to make empanada fillings. Recipes in the Northwest of Argentina often include potatoes and peas, whereas families in Argentina’s wine country add raisins. Olives, chicken, vegetables and spices are other popular additions. It’s a very versatile snack that you can experiment with! Each semester, API students in Buenos Aires and Mendoza, Argentina have the opportunity to make these dishes themselves during an API cooking class.

API students making empanadas in Buenos Aires

Traditional Argentinian Empanada Dough

Recipe provided by API’s Buenos Aires Resident Directors, Jimena and Carmen

1kg flour (2lbs)
250 grs fat (1/2 pound)
1 Tbsp salt dissolved in water
1 cup cold water

Put the flour on the working surface and pour the melted fat in the center together with the salt. Mix all ingredients into a firm dough. Leave to rest for an hour covered with a dishcloth.

Next, divide the dough into small portions and form small buns. Roll each bun out; the “disk” should have 12cm in diameter and 3mm thick. Leave the disks to rest for 10 minutes. (This is the traditional form of stretching the dough. To simply this step, one can roll out the dough and cut it with a round pastry cutter.) Once cut, the dough should be allowed to rest again.

Put a spoonful cold filling in each disk, moisten the edge and press firmly. The scalloped edges have to be very neat. Finally, empanadas should be baked in a very hot oven for 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately.

The UK: Shepherd’s or Cottage Pie

This traditional English meal provides you with the delicious Thanksgiving tradition of mashed potatoes alongside a UK classic: shepherd’s or cottage pie! Did you know the difference between the two dishes is the meat used? Lamb is traditionally used in shepherd’s pie while beef is popular in cottage pie. If you’re looking for a meat-free option, substitute lentils or meatless crumbles! Today API Regional Director Rachel Wellborn is sharing one of her favorite renditions of cottage pie.

Jamie Oliver’s Cheesy Cottage Pie

Serves 6

approx 800g minced beef (or you can use vegetarian mince just as well)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and cubed
2/3 cup of frozen peas (optional)
approx 450ml beef stock (you can just use a stock cube)
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon sage
Salt and black pepper to season

Potato Cheese Topping:

6 large potatoes, boiled and mashed with a little milk and butter
1 handful of grated mature Cheddar cheese (or mature Gouda)
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 190C.
  2. Peel the potatoes, wash and cut into quarters. Boil in a large pan at a rolling boil for around 15-20 minutes 
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the minced meat till browned.
  4. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the onions to the pan and fry till lightly browned.
  5. Add the tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the beef, carrots, peas and herbs.
  6. Add the beef stock and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Cook over a low heat for about 20mins.
  8. While the meat is cooking, check the potatoes to see if they are done. (Just stick a knife into them and it if meets no resistance, then they are ready.) Drain the water and mash the potatoes with a knob of butter and a dash of milk. Mix in the cheeses and the nutmeg.
  9. Transfer the meat into a large baking dish or ovenproof casserole.
  10. Top with the mashed potatoes and score the top with a fork. You can either dot a little butter over the potatoes or spray a little olive oil over the top.
  11. Bake at 190C for approx 30mins, till golden.
  12. Enjoy!

I like to serve this dish with extra gravy, and a couple of vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. 

Italy: Parmigiana di Melanzane

This delicious recipe comes to us from our team in Taormina, Italy and is a great appetizer option for vegetarians.

Serves: 6

1 kilo of red tomatoes
1 garlic clove
1 onion
4 large eggplants
extra virgin olive oil
150 gr grated Parmesan cheese
several leaves of fresh basil

1. Cut the onion in slices. Peel the tomatoes; cut them.
2. Put some spoons of olive oil in pan & brown the garlic cloves (smashed and not cut, in order to be removed) and onion, add tomatoes & cook for 25 minutes. Remove the garlic.
3. Cut the eggplants into 1cm-thick slices & rub a small amount of salt into each slice and deep in water for a couple of hours, then dry them.
4. Fry the slices in olive oil until brown & tneder. Place the eggplants in layers in a serving dish, adding the tomato sauce, grated Parmesan, & basil leaves on top of each layer.
5. Put in oven at 180C for ten minutes. Serve hot in winter, cold in summer.

France: Gratin Dauphinois

This dish comes to us from our API Resident Director in Grenoble, Marie de Rocca-Serra.

1.5kg Desirée potatoes
1l full fat milk
284ml carton double cream
2 garlic cloves, peeled
pinch of freshly grated nutmug

1. Preheat the oven to 140C.
2. Rub the garlic & then the butter all over the surface of a 7x11in gratin dish.
3. Peel & slice the potatoes to a width of 1/8in. Lay the slices on a clean tea towel.
4. Layer half the potato slices in the dish, slightly overlapping the slices & sprinkling with a little salt, freshly ground pepper & grated nutmug over each layer. You don’t have to be too neat with the lower layers.
5. Pour half the milk & cream over the potatoes, then finish layering the rest of the potatoes (arranging more carefully this time). Pour over the rest of the milk & cream.
6. Bake for one hour minimum, until golden & tender.


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