Are you looking for an appetizer, or a whole dish to bring? I just realized after I typed this up that you aren't looking for traditional... Well anyway here is what I did:
I haven't finalized what I am bringing over to the family's house. They usually like to over do it with the "back of the box" recipes from crap that are usually overloaded with cheese, butter and prepackaged ingredients. My girlfriend is bringing a prosciutto wrapped date stuffed with goat cheese.
I just did a "mock" Thanksgiving dinner with my girlfriend 2 weekends ago. Didn't post pics yet, just been lazy. I had a brined chicken, sweet potato gratin, fresh steamed brussel sprouts tossed with roasted garlic and parmesan reggiano, and home made stuffing that I decided to cook in the bird. Made a side salad, too, with chopped romaine, red onion, tomato, roasted baby red peppers, roasted beets, croutons, blue cheese crumbles and topped with a blue cheese dressing.
The brine I wanted to have a nice herby, savory taste so I used the standard kosher salt, sugar and water mix then I added ground sage, rosemary, thyme, dehydrated onion, ground garlic, apple cider vinegar, cracked black and pink peppercorns and bay leaves. Brined it off for ~14 hours, spiced the outside, buttered under the skin, tied the legs together, tied the wings up and got it into the roasting pan. I put about 1/4-1/2 of an inch of the the brine at the bottom of the pan, and then tented it with aluminum foil. I cooked it at 330 until it was right around 135 degrees, took the tent off and raised the temp to around 375.
I don't like sweet potatoes overly sweet, and that's what most people seem to do. Top them with something caramel, marshmallows, glaze...We sliced them thin, layed them while adding just a little pepper and cayenne every couple layers, poured over some cream and topped it with more paremsean reggiano. The parmesan gets nice and crunchy with a touch of salt, the sweet potatoes provide their own sugar, the cayenne gives it that perfect little touch of heat to get your taste buds going and the cream keeps everything moist and well... creamy.
I've always been a fan of breakfast sausage in the stuffing. The way I do it is to get the roll of sausage and cook it like chopped meat. Once that is about 75% cooked I transfer it to paper towels and pat off the fat. Into the pan that I cooked the sausage goes chopped onion, celery and grated carrot. cook them down a bit, add chopped garlic, ground sage, ground thyme, celery salt and red pepper flakes and cook that down for a minute or so and then deglaze with chicken stock. Let all of that simmer for 5 muinutes or so and transfer that mixture, with your sausage into the bread. Oh, you can also sautee up the organs and chop them up and toss them in but that's not really my thing. Combine until moist, adding more chicken stock if it's too dry and place into the bird. I think I am going to try adding chopped walnuts and dried cranberries to it next time, that should add some more texture as well as flavor into the overall mix.