Do you celebrate Friendsgiving?

It seems like everyone I know has adopted this as a fall holiday. I started celebrating Friendsgiving after college when I moved out to Phoenix. My tight-knit group of friends were as close as family, and fought like family — so why not have Thanksgiving as a family, before scattering off across the country to celebrate the real holiday with our real families?

We have dinner with our friends a lot, but Friendsgiving feels different and special. It’s a tradition that I truly love.

It’s also a good excuse to get uncomfortably full on sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and stuffing twice in the span of a week or two.

Confession: I’ve hosted many Friendsgivings, but I’ve never made the turkey. Last year, Adam and Jessica came over early to dress the bird and stick it in the oven.

Jeff carved. I wouldn’t know where to start.

carving a turkey at friendsgiving

The table was set with pretty paper placemats that have a spot for writing in the menu.

I’ve made roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato casserole for every Friendsgiving that I’ve been a part of. These dishes are my favorite and I absolutely need them to be there. I won’t leave it up to chance.

A new dish that I can’t wait to try this year is cranberries with brandied shallots, which I came across while reporting a story for Edible Indy’s fall issue. The story was about cooking with fall fruit, and the cranberry dish was my favorite of the recipes that Chef Ryan Nelson of Late Harvest Kitchen shared with us. I sampled it at the end of the photo shoot, and though I’ve never been crazy about cranberries before, I could have finished the whole thing.


By Chef Ryan Nelson of Late Harvest Kitchen

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup brandy
10 shallots, medium size, peeled and left whole
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
12 ounces cranberries
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

1. Combine the olive oil, sugar, balsamic and brandy. Pour over the shallots and place in a baking dish.

2. Add thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper.

3. Cover the dish with foil and place in a 500° oven for 18–20 minutes. Remove from oven.

4. Uncover and  return to oven for 3–5 minutes, until the shallots are caramelized. Set aside.

5. Place cranberries, brown sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes, until some of the cranberries begin to break down slightly. Remove from oven and cool.

6. Combine cranberries and shallots in a serving dish. Refrigerate overnight. Serve the dish between cold and room temp.

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