Planning for Thanksgiving in Dakar

Now is the time to start gathering all you’ll want for a festive Dakar Thanksgiving! Here’s a general checklist to be sure you’ve got your bases covered in time. Please comment below if you have anything to add!

Let’s talk turkey.
Due to restrictions on importing poultry, the options are quite limited. These are the best bets:

Poulet Express will have very, very few turkeys available due to shortages this year. You’ll need to call to reserve your bird. 33 842 9686 or 33 821 5888.

Hanne in Louga has 10 turkeys available, each 4.5-6 kilos. Sold by the kilo without feathers 5.500 CFA. Call 77 524 42 22 or email hanne.diaw@web.de to reserve before Nov. 20th and to arrange pick up or delivery. Can be delivered fresh or frozen.

Casino grocery stores and Hypermarché Exclusive on the VDN have also carried turkeys in the past. Again, best to reserve. (A word of warning, two years ago some turkeys from Casino were said to have a fishy taste because they had been raised on food containing, well, fish.)

Still following up on two other turkey leads, so stay tuned!

(Or ham)
If you’re not set on having something that said ‘gobble’ on your table, here’s a recently found option for glazed ham that has definite potential.

Dressing/Stuffing
Between tapalapa bread and cornbread, I think most recipes should work here.

Good looking celery was spotted recently at CityDia!

Sweet potatoes
Great news! Locally grown orange sweet potatoes have hit the market and are available at CityDia, Castor Market and other places around town – and quite reasonable at 690cfa/kilo.

Local white sweet potatoes aren’t quite right in terms of texture and taste. But carrots work surprisingly well for casseroles and soufflés. (I usually use 4 carrots to every 1 local sweet potato in my recipes. And I’m not above adding a little red/yellow food coloring to make it look right!)

Mashed potatoes
No probs.

Green bean casserole
The American Food Store in Almadies often carries cream of mushrooms soup, and so does Hypermarché Exclusive. You can also buy the powdered soup mix at CityDia. Or make a white sauce, add frozen mushrooms and cube of beef bouillon. This stuff is what you want to look for.

Good news on the crunchy onions front! The oignons croustillants available in the apéritifs section at Casino and Hypermarché work great. And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the American Food Store has them in stock this time of year.

Cranberry sauce
I think we’re counting on the American Food Store for this one, unless Hypermarché still has some on the shelves like they did a couple months back.

From a reader: If you want to enjoy the taste of fresh cranberries all year long, now is the time to stock up on fresh bissap (roselle), as it will be gone soon. Have your housekeeper or a local friend help you get a bunch at the market, wash, chop, and freeze it in small Ziplock bags, and use in any recipe calling for fresh cranberries. Delicious!

For recipes that call for cranberries, you can often substitute… bissap flowers! Just rehydrate them in boiling water, cool and chop. Here’s an example in these white chocolate & bissap oatmeal cookies.

Deviled eggs
Local buutik eggs + cornichons + mayonnaise + paprika (Hypermarché). You’re all set. Here’s a recipe using locally available ingredients.

Rolls
All ingredients available here, even whole wheat flour if you’re going healthier this year. If you want to get ahead of the game, you could order yeast rolls from Marie and freeze them. On Thanksgiving, just thaw, heat and serve.

Pecan pie
As far as I know, pecans and Caro syrup are not available in Dakar. Does anyone know differently? Has anyone seen them at the American Food Store? Does Hypermarché sell a UK equivalent to Caro under another name?

Frozen pastry crusts are available at most grocery store chains.

Pumpkin pie
Again, carrots save the day! Seriously. Try it. You’ll be amazed. (Carrot purée can also be used in all those pumpkin recipes filling your Pinterest feed.) You can also use local potiron, but I prefer carrots.

All the spices are available individually at Hypermarché, with the exception of occasionally hard-to-find ground cloves.

Frozen pastry crusts are available at most grocery store chains.

As they say in America… bon appétit!

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