Swap a whole turkey for whole vegetables as your Thanksgiving showstopper. Use the best-looking vegetables here, ideally in a mix of colors. They’re impressive kept whole, but you can cut some into smaller pieces too for variety on the platter. You can garnish the platter with fresh herbs, such as sage and rosemary, and fresh fruit, such as concord grapes. Arrange the vegetables like a cornucopia and present them to the table, then carve them into slices and wedges, as you would a classic Thanksgiving centerpiece.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Peel the squash, halve it lengthwise or cut into thick slices, and scoop out the seeds. Trim both ends of the celery roots and scrub very well or peel. Poke the celery root all over with a paring knife. Trim the bottoms of the cauliflower so they can sit flat.
Put the vegetables on the prepared sheet and rub them all over with the oil. (An even and generous coat of oil will ensure the vegetables brown properly and attractively.) Sprinkle everything evenly with the Poultry Seasoning and generously season with salt. Rearrange them in a single layer, with the squash cut sides down. Place the pan in the oven and pour ¼ cup water onto the sheet.
Bake, basting every 45 minutes, until a paring knife slides through each vegetable easily, about 1 hour for the squash, 1 ¾ hours for the cauliflower and 2 hours for the celery root. The time will range depending on the size and density of the vegetables. As each vegetable is done, carefully transfer it to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Serve with the gravy.
Pulse the sage, rosemary, savory, oregano and peppercorns in a spice grinder until coarsely ground. If you don’t have a spice grinder, substitute 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper for the whole peppercorns and rub the dried herbs between your fingers to crush them. Stir in the nutmeg until well-mixed.
Double Mushroom Gravy
Combine the oil, shallots, garlic and 1 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring often (you don’t want them to stick or burn), until the shallots are translucent and tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the creminis, thyme and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms release their juices and then reabsorb them, about 25 minutes. They’ll start sizzling in the oil again.
Add the mushroom powder and stir for 1 minute. Add the bourbon and stir well, scraping up any bits from the pan, until the alcohol burns off, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Discard the 4 thyme stems and season to taste with salt and pepper. For a thinner gravy, add more broth. Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.
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