Charcuterie. Pronounced “shahr-ku-tuh-ree”. Such an elegant word! But what does it mean? Essentially, charcuterie means the art of preparing and assembling cured meats. However, that is just the starting point for making up a charcuterie board. Because in practice, it also means incorporating a wonderful assortment of cheeses, olives, nuts, dried fruit, crackers or breads and jellies or jams onto a large wood cutting board for serving.
The beauty of a charcuterie board is that it such an easy and elegant solution for feeding a crowd. When appetizer ideas fail you, putting together a meat and cheese board is a great option! And no matter what the season or occasion, a charcuterie board is a great go-to. Assembling a charcuterie board allows plenty of room for creativity so that they can easily be changed up to incorporate seasonal offerings. So with the holiday season around the corner, starting with Thanksgiving, I am going to take you through how to easily put one together!
Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board
While the traditions of Thanksgiving recipes are pretty much locked down year to year, building a Thanksgiving charcuterie board is the one culinary item allowing you complete freedom to make something interesting and fun! You can truly choose whatever you like for your board, but in general, here are the basic categories I recommend.
What To Include:
A Variety of Meats
Pepperoni, salame, prosciutto
A Variety of Cheeses
Goat’s cheese, blue cheese, gouda, brie, sharp cheddar, Parmesan, cheese fruit infused with dried apricots or cranberries
Dried apricots, cranberries, candied ginger, figs
Pomegranate, pears, apples, grapes
Assortment Of Nuts
Marcona almonds, sesame honey almonds, walnuts, pistachios
Assortment of Crackers and Breads
Breadsticks, sliced baguette, wafers, variety of your favorites
Rosemary, thyme, sage
Marinated artichokes, olives and pickles
Honey, fig preserves, cranberry sauce, red pepper jelly
How to Build a Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board
Where to Shop
Trader Joe’s is a great place to gather your ingredients. They truly have everything you need. A huge variety of nuts, cheeses, crackers, breads, dried and fresh fruits and marinated vegetables. For a deeper selection of jams and sbreads, consider a local food gourmet store.
Start by selecting the right board for your spread. You can use large cutting boards, slate boards, or large marble or ceramic platters. If you plan to transport your charcuterie board, one with rounded edges works best. I am rounding up some wonderful options below:
Plan for How Much You Will Need
Once you know how many guests you’ll have, you can begin choosing your meats. You’ll want 3-4 slices of meat per person, but also a variety of flavors and textures. Select 1-2 oz. of cheese per person, again choosing a variety of flavors and textures. I recommend a balance between soft (such as brie and goat cheese) and hard cheese (Parmesan) and mild (cheddar) and robust (blue cheese) flavors.
- Start with the cheese and place it at opposite ends of the board. I cut up any cheese that isn’t soft and spreadable. Make sure to include cheese knives with each cheese.
- Next add in your meats next to the cheeses. For sliced deli meets, fold in half twice.
- Add in both fresh and dried seasonal fruit as well as your spreads. Make sure to include spoons and fruit spreading knives with each selection.
- Add in your marinated vegetables. Consider placing them in small serving bowls.
- Scatter in an assortment of nuts to fill in the empty spaces.
- Add in an assortment of crackers and breads in both shape and flavor to fill in the rest of the empty spaces.
- Finally garnish with fresh herbs
Thanks for stopping by!