When we hear Thanksgiving, most people associate it with the USA or Canada. However, Thanksgiving traditions have circled the globe and though it is not officially a holiday in Belize, the small country does celebrate Thanksgiving! It is very similar to the US and is also celebrated in November.
Thanksgiving is a special time for family and friends who come together to give thanks to the blessings bestowed upon them and to share an elegant, tasty meal. Like Americans and Canadians, Belizeans cook up a storm on this day. The most iconic part of the traditional Thanksgiving feast is the turkey and ham which is why you’d often hear a Belizean say, “Turkey Dinner” and not Thanksgiving Dinner. While the classic rice and beans is a part of this meal, Belizeans incorporate their own twist to the dish by substituting marshmallow sweet potatoes, vegetables, and pumpkin pie with potato salads, cranberry sauce, pepper sauce, honey ham, turkey, stuffing, and desserts including either Fruit-Cake, Rum-Cake, Carrot Cake or Bread Pudding.
Hosting Thanksgiving this year? Fear not holiday hostess’! Impress your guests with the bursting flavors of a Belizean turkey dinner.
Below you can find two recipes for cooking Belizean Thanksgiving Turkey, one for our visual learners and one for our verbal learners!
- ¼ cup butter
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 onion
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 stick celery
- 2 large thyme leaves
- 1/3 cup cranberries
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Chicken Broth*
- 1 lb breadcrumbs
- (1 bag of sliced bread)
To make breadcrumbs, set old bread in oven at 350F for 10 minutes to dry out. Let cool and break bread to the desired size. Dice bacon and render fat until mostly cooked through and browned, add diced onions, bell pepper, celery, and thyme leaves. Let cook until onions are transparent; add breadcrumbs and stir. Drizzle chicken broth in until preferred wetness.
Notes: *Chicken broth is until its as damp as you prefer will depend on the bread.
Equipment: saucepan, baking sheet, Ziploc bag, rolling pin
Preheat oven 350°F.
Clean and rinse out turkey cavity and pat dry. Place turkey in a roasting pan. Carefully lift skin over breasts, thighs, and drumsticks and insert butter. Rub oil and crushed garlic cloves over turkey. In a bowl add the seasonings (salt, pepper, seasoned all, cumin and allspice) and lime then sprinkle on the turkey. Before tying or skewering the legs together to hold shape during cooking stuff the turkey with the stuffing. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 4 hours, or about 20 minutes per pound. Meat thermometer should read 180°F. when inserted into the thickest portion of the breast away from the bone. Remove foil during last 30 minutes of cooking; baste with pan juices for more flavor.
In true Belizean fashion serve with rice and beans, potato salad and your favorite pepper sauce.
Rice and Beans
Dorla Bovell, Caribbean Palms Kiosk, Belize City
- ½ cup onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup stewed beans
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
- 2 cups white rice
- 1 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons diced cilantro, optional
Sauté onions and garlic in a saucepot. Add stewed beans along with its liquid. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Stir in rice, coconut milk, and water. Cover and cook on medium heat for approximately 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Reduce heat to medium-low. Sprinkle with ¼ cup water, cover and continue cooking for approximately 10 minutes or until rice is tender and water absorbed. May also use canned stewed red beans.
Written by CC+L Editorial Team