Ed Smith recipes: You don't have to be American to enjoy a sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner

Our chef's recipes offer an alternative way to acknowledge the fortitude of the original pilgrims

American Thanksgiving celebrations take place on the fourth Thursday of November – this year, the 26th. While the date isn't about to become a national holiday over here, the occasion does seem to be creeping into our consciousness – not least through Black Friday sales and the food.

I can embrace the bargains and some dishes, but feel a roast turkey centrepiece encroaches on Christmas. So I was interested to read that the original Thanksgiving feasts would have made the most of venison and wild fowl, which chimes perfectly with the fact that we're in the midst of British game season.

The following loosely Thanksgiving-themed recipes will almost certainly fall short of satisfying homesick American expats. But they do offer an alternative way to acknowledge the fortitude of the original pilgrims, and will all work well for a weeknight dinner party or a Sunday lunch.

The suet-topped wildfowl pie and cheesecake are best made in advance and the cured meat and beetroot is really just a quick salad.

Ed Smith is the author of the food journal RocketandSquash.com. He was shortlisted as Best Cookery Writer and winner of Best Online Restaurant Writer at the 2015 Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink awards

Wildfowl and pickled walnut feast pie

Preparation: 30 mins

Cooking: 1 hour

Pies and casseroles that can be prepared in advance work so well for group occasions – much better than roasting joints and all the timings involved with trimmings. The game and golden suet top ensure this is special enough for a celebration. Serve with seasonal greens and mashed root veg.

Serves 6

200g self-raising flour
100g beef suet
140g cold water
60g butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
250g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
200g smoked lardons
200g celeriac, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
400g-500g pheasant, partridge and/or mallard breast meat, cut into 4cm chunks
5 pickled walnuts, quartered
200ml red wine
120g double cream
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
2 tbsp walnut pickle juice
Sea salt and pepper
1 egg
1 tbsp whole milk

Make the pastry lid by mixing the flour, suet and a pinch of salt in a bowl with a knife. Create a well in the middle and pour in the cold water. Gradually stir the water into the flour mix, eventually using one hand to pat together into a ball. It might seem a little dry, but wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.

Put 20g of butter in a large, thick-bottomed frying pan. Soften the onion with a pinch of salt in the butter as it melts and warms. Once the butter is frothing, add the mushrooms and colour for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary, cook for 30 seconds, then tip into an earthenware or Pyrex dish about 1½ litres in volume. Cook the lardons in a little butter until crisp, then add to the dish. Soften the celeriac for 10 minutes in the rendered fat from the lardons and remaining butter, stirring occasionally. Add the celeriac to the dish along with the uncooked breast meat and pickled walnuts and mix well.

Heat a saucepan on a medium-high heat. Pour in the wine and reduce by a third. Add the cream and again reduce by a third. Stir in the jelly and pickle juice, add a pinch of salt and a good few turns of the pepper mill, then pour this sauce over the contents of the pie dish.

Roll the chilled pastry on a floured surface to 4mm to 5mm thick and to suit the size and shape of your cooking dish. Drape over the dish and trim so there is a neat 2cm to 3cm overhang. Combine the egg yolk and milk and brush over the pastry.

Cook the pie in an oven pre-heated to 200C for 45 to 50 minutes, brushing the pastry with any remaining egg wash after 20 minutes so you have a shiny, hard, golden crust.

Venison salami and heritage beetroot salad

Part of my working week is spent at the British cured-meat company Cannon & Cannon. One of my favourite products is a venison salami from the Scottish Highlands. It's sweet, tangy, slightly smoked and very moreish, though any cured venison or beef would work well here.

Preparation: 5 mins

Waiting: 30 mins

Serves 4-6

1 medium candied beetroot, peeled
1 medium golden beetroot, peeled
Coarse sea salt
1 tbsp white-wine vinegar
180g venison salami
Cold pressed rapeseed oil

Venison salami and two types of heritage beetroot

Slice the beetroot very thinly with a mandoline. Put the colours in separate bowls. Crumble a pinch of salt over the candied beetroot; add the vinegar and a small pinch of salt to the golden variety. Let both macerate for 30 minutes.

Arrange the salami and beetroot alternately on a large platter, pinching each to give a pleasing texture, appearance and a much easier target for everyone to aim at as they help themselves. Sourdough spread with salted butter is a good partner for this.

Pumpkin, gingernut, maple and pecan cheesecake

Preparation/cooking: 45-60 mins

Chilling: 4 hours

Unsure of whether to offer a pumpkin pie, pecan pie or maple-syrup cheesecake, here's something to cover all three. The gingernut base and spiced pumpkin make this perfect for the last throes of "fall".

Makes 8-10 servings

130g butter
250g gingernut biscuits, pulverised in a food processor
1 tbsp sunflower oil
600g butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
90g warm water
250g mascarpone
35g icing sugar
125g full-fat cream cheese
1 tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/5 nutmeg, freshly grated
3 leaves gelatine
2 tsp lemon juice
50g pecan nuts, crumbled
3 tbsp maple syrup

Pumpkin, gingernut, maple and pecan cheesecake

Heat the oven to 180C. Grease a 20cm spring-release cake tin and line with baking parchment.

Melt 100g butter in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Add the gingernut crumb and combine. Pack this into the bottom of the cake tin, pushing firmly with your fingers to create a very compact base. Refrigerate.

Spoon the oil on to a shallow baking tray, add the squash and mix well so each of the chunks is glossy. Roast for 30 minutes until the edges are just turning golden and the flesh is soft and sweet. Put the cooked squash (now around 250g and still warm) in a blender or food processor, add the water and the remaining 30g of butter. Blitz for 2 to 3 minutes to a smooth purée.

Decant the mascarpone into a mixing bowl. Add the icing sugar and beat with a spatula. Spoon the squash, both cheeses and the spices into a saucepan. Warm gently for 5 minutes over a low heat and stir until the mix is smooth and velvety.

"Bloom" the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water for 2 minutes. Squeeze the water from the gelatine then add to the pumpkin mix, stirring till dissolved. Allow the filling to chill while you wash up, then add the lemon juice, stir, and pour through a sieve, then into the cake tin, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Once well set, carefully release the spring and remove from the tin.

Keep the cheesecake in the fridge until serving, at which time you should sprinkle the crumbled nuts over the top and drizzle with maple syrup.

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