Thanksgiving With a Side of Hanukkah: Recipes for a Once-in-a-lifetime Event

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I can still remember the first time I heard about Thanksgivukkah. Well, it happened only three weeks ago. Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, the most American of holidays and the most extravagant of Jewish holidays, coincide to make the once-in-a-lifetime mother of all holidays. What a concept! Little did I know that I would then hear about it again and again, at least three times a day, every day, from excited Jews and their media outlets.

Oy, the pressure. If this is indeed a once-in-a-lifetime, or for accuracy’s sake, a once-in-a-77,000-years experience, the meal too should be the best one ever made. And it should combine the fall flavors of Thanksgiving - pumpkins, green beans, turkey and pies, with those of Hanukkah (meaning, fry everything).

The combinations are endless: Latkes topped with cranberry sauce; yam latkes; brussels sprouts latkes; soufganiya stuffed with turkey and cranberry sauce; gelt pie; turkey in Manischewitz brine, stuffed with gefilte fish and roasted carrots and served with chrein.

My head is spinning!

Trying to make more sense of this unnatural situation, I’ll give a few more reasonable recipes in the upcoming weeks before Thanksgivukkah. This week, I’ll focus on side dishes, my favorite part of Thanksgiving. And this time with a Hanukkah twist: Brussels sprouts mini soufganiyiot, roasted tzimmes, and kasha with smoked turkey and butternut squash in bourbon.

Kasha with smoked turkey and butternut squash in bourbon

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup whole grain kasha (buckwheat)

1 red onion, halved and sliced

1 smoked turkey drumstick, skin and bone off, in cubes (about 6 oz. cleaned),
or any other smoked meat

4 tablespoons bourbon or any other whiskey

3 cups cubed butternut squash

1 cup kale chips (available in health food supermarkets)

Directions:

1. To cook the kasha put 1 cup boiling water, ½ tablespoon oil and ½ teaspoon salt in a saucepan over high heat. Add kasha, bring back to boil, lower the heat and cover the pot, and cook for 8-10 minutes until the kasha is fully cooked. set aside.

2. Put the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onion until golden, about 6 minutes. Add turkey and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Add bourbon and let evaporate for about 15 seconds, then add butternut squash, mix, cover the skillet, reduce the heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until butternut squash is fork tender.

3. Mix butternut squash mixture with kasha, sprinkle with kale chips. Serve warm.

Brussels sprouts mini soufganiyot

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, outer leaves and tip of stem removed

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup low fat Greek yogurt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

oil for frying (preferably olive oil)

Directions:

1. Boil salted water in a sauce pan. Add Brussels sprouts and cook for 7-8 minutes, until tender. Drain and wash under cold water. Dry with paper towels.

2. Make the soufganiya dough: in a large bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add yogurt and egg and mix again.

3. Fill a non stick frying pan with ½ inch oil and heat over medium heat. Line a tray with double paper towels.

4. Drop the Brussels sprouts into the dough bowl and mix to coat them well. Using a spoon, drop Brussels sprouts with enough dough around them into the oil and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, flipping mid-time. Transfer to the tray. Eat right away.

Roasted Thanksgiving tzimmes

Serves 6

Ingredients:

¾ cup orange juice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

¼ cup olive oil

3 lb. carrots, peeled

½ cup prunes, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Directions:

1. Oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large oven proof baking dish with oil.

2. Mix orange juice, brown sugar and olive oil. Arrange carrots in baking dish, pour orange juice mixture on top and mix well. Arrange the carrots in one layer in the dish, arrange prunes between them, sprinkle with salt.

3. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Baste with juices 3-4 times during roasting.

Kasha with smoked turkey and butternut squash in bourbon.Credit: Vered Guttman
Brussels sprouts in mini soufganiyot.Credit: Vered Guttman
Thanksgivukkah roasted tzimmes.Credit: Vered Guttman

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