They say friends are the family we choose and there’s no better way to choose to celebrate your besties than with a Friendsgiving. While this concept may be foreign to those outside of major cities or universities, its popularity has gained significant traction, resulting in food and alcohol-driven affairs far superior to Aunt Mildred’s watery yams, judgmental in-laws, and arguments at the dinner table on actual Turkey Day.
Last year, we were lucky enough to attend a Friendsgiving hosted by Boursin and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s” Antoni Porowski for an evening full of laughs, wine, and lots and lots of cheese. Looking to plan a Friendsgiving of your own? Check out some tips and tricks from the Netflix star himself.
Chowhound: If you were to bring any dish to a Friendsgiving, what would it be and why?
AP: Yukon Gold potatoes. They’re the sweetest, they’re the most flavorful. Boil them, peel them—usually I use skins but not for those because they’re too rough—half a stick of butter, one whole thing of Boursin, whip it up, and then, on top, add some kind of another sharp cheese, like a gruyere. Then bake it with a bit of paprika—or even an Old Bay Seasoning is really nice—so you have a sort of savory, crispy cheese thing and you have the oozy, creamy cheese on the inside. And then you can just re-bake it when you get there.
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Chowhound: What would you recommend a self-proclaimed “horrible cook” bring to a Friendsgiving?
AP: A cheese and charcuterie board. Be creative. Fresh fruit is a lot harder to get in the winter months, except if you’re in New York or L.A, but go to Trader Joe’s, get your dried apricots or dried whatever fruit you have, [and] buy high quality $8-9 packages of crackers. Bring those and a really cute cutting board—just go to West Elm or wherever and assemble a nice cute platter that you can leave [with the host]. You can’t mess that up.
Natural Bamboo Cheese Board and Charcuterie Platter with Cutlery Drawer, $29.99 on Amazon
Looking for the perfect charcuterie board? This one's got drawers!
Chowhound: What is a traditional Thanksgiving dish that people can’t seem to get right?
AP: People are constantly trying to figure out how to make the best turkey. And there’s so much debate. Is it a wet brine? A dry brine? I take advice from my O.G. mentor and dear friend, Ted Allen. He taught me dry brining. If you salt it heavily, it releases all of the moisture, and then it soaks it back in with all of the flavoring and aromatics that you put in. I [also] do not truss the legs, where you tie them together. If you leave them separate, it gets crispy along the edges so you have more skin surface. Don’t be afraid of butter. This is not the time to be cheap with butter. Baste that mother f#!ka’ and just get butter under the skin. Be healthy the next day.
What I [also] like to do is deconstruct it. Even if you cut it in half and you lay it flat, it allows for an even cooking surface if you have a smaller bird and you can fit that.
Related Reading: How to Score a Free Turkey | Amazon Prime Members Can Save on Whole Foods Turkeys
Chowhound: What is a quick tip for someone throwing his or her first Friendsgiving?
AP: Keep it simple. It’s a good opportunity, especially living in New York, to be surrounded by people from all these different cultures. Tap into your heritage, tap into what it was like being a kid, things your parents prepared. And you know what, if your grandma made really shitty brussels sprouts, figure out how to make them right and roast them and get them brown and crispy. Just make it right.
Antoni in the Kitchen, $17.36 on Amazon
Try making something from Antoni's cookbook, like Sweet Potato Fries with Chimichurri.
Header image courtesy of Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images.