EDITOR’S NOTE: The lighting of the Diane Kaplan Memorial Chanukaiah will be at 5:30 every night for eight nights, starting on Wednesday, November 27, the day before Thanksgiving.
Best enjoy this because it will not happen again until 79,811 CE and that is longer than Wonder Bread takes to get hard.
Celebrating: Thanksgivukkah, videos you do not want to miss!
Contributed by Jerry Weissman
Note: Gerald L. Zelizer is the rabbi of Congregation Neve Shalom in Metuchen, N.J.
American Jews shouldn’t fret too much at this year’s awkward overlap of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving. Sure, it may require some culinary dexterity at Thanksgiving dinner. But thematically, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving are an even more perfect fit than Hanukkah and Christmas.
This year’s confluence is a once-in-about-2,000-lifetimes experience. Hanukkah and Thanksgiving on the same day last happened in 1861, except that Thanksgiving wasn’t established until 1868! And the next time the first day of Hanukkah will happen on Thanksgiving – Thursday, November 28 – will be in the year 79,811. Who can plan that far in advance? So let’s enjoy this solar and lunar overlap and celebrate all that Hanukkah and Thanksgiving have in common. Religiously, there is a direct line connecting Thanksgiving, Sukkot and Hanukkah. Here’s how it works.
American Thanksgiving had a close affinity to biblical Sukkot. Both holidays included the theme of giving thanks for a bountiful harvest. It’s likely that the pilgrims who linked their migration and experience with the ancient Israelites learned to thank God for their harvest from the stories they read in what they called the “Old Testament”.
And Sukkot, in turn, was very much linked to Hanukkah. In fact, Hanukkah may have actually been Sukkot. The Second Book of Maccabees records that after the Maccabees cleansed and rededicated the Temple, “the sanctuary was purified on the twenty-fifth of Kislev (Hanukkah). The joyful celebration lasted for eight days. It was like Sukkot, for they recalled how only a short time before they had kept the festival while living like animals in the mountains, they observed the joyful celebration, which lasted for eight days. And so they carried lulavim and etrogim and they chanted hymns to God, who had so triumphantly led them to the purification of the Temple.”
So Hanukkah was probably a delayed Sukkot, with its theme of Thanksgiving spilling over from the harvest into the cleansed and rededicated Temple. The overlap of American Thanksgiving with the Sukkot/Hanukkah Thanksgiving, then, is not a calender oddity, but a calender tour de force.
We are accustomed to Hanukkah’s proximity to Christmas and to the influence of that holiday on some of the cultural celebrations of Hanukkah. In reality, Christmas and Hanukkah are thematically opposite. Hanukkah celebrates the affirmation of Torah through both a war against the Syrians and a civil war. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, whom Paul and the early church fathers understood as replacing the authority of the Torah. On the other hand, Thanksgiving, Sukkot and Hanukkah all share a theme of giving thanks: in the first two, for the harvest; in the last, for the rededication of the Temple.
So here’s to giving thanks for this unusual but perfect confluence. It’s not just the culinary ease of substituting latkes for sweet potatoes with the turkey. There is a core message that links them together beautifully.
Contributed by Jerry Weissman
Please mark your calendars to remind you of these upcoming events.
- Wednesday, 11/27/2013—Thursday, 12/05/2013: Chanukkah.
- Wednesday evening, 11/27/2013, 5:30 P.M.: Erev Chanukah. Lighting the first candle of the Diane Kaplan Memorial Chanukkiah at the Civic Center. If you come at 5:30.30, you’ll probably miss it, especially if it is cold. We will light each successive candle on each successive night of Chanukah at precisely 5:30 P.M.
- Thursday, 11/28/2013: Thanksgiving, and the first day of Chanukah. We will light the second candle at precisely 5:30 P.M.
- Sunday, 12/01/2013, 2:30 P.M.: Thanksgivukkah party at the home of Stuart and Hilary Lewin, concluding with the 5:30 lighting of the fifth candle of the Diane Kaplan Memorial Channukiah at the Civic Center.
- Monday, 12/02/2013, 12:00 noon: MAJCO Candle lighting at the State Capitol in Helena.
Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Take Place at the Same Time This Year, So Celebrate Thanksgivukkah
In 167 B.C.E., Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the ruler of the Seleucid Empire, tried to compel the Jews in Judah to give up their religious customs and values. They rose up in rebellion for seven years in what became known as the Maccabean Revolt. Once they liberated Jerusalem, they set about purifying the Temple. This eight day event is marked by the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.
This year, Hanukkah lasts from November 27 to December 5. The American Christian (albeit secularized) holiday of Thanksgiving marks a 1621 feast celebrated by the colonists at Plymouth, Massachusetts. It falls on November 28 this year. For the first time since 1888, the two holidays overlap. Some Americans have taken to calling November 28 “Thanksgivukkah.” The event is inspiring creative responses among celebrants:
Not to be outdone is Asher Weintraub, a 9-year-old New Yorker who has created what he dubs the Menurkey—a menorah, the candelabrum that is the centerpiece of the holiday, in the shape of a turkey. With help from his filmmaker parents, Asher funded his project with a successful $25,000 campaign on Kickstarter, a fundraising website, over the summer (it netted $48,345). The family is now hoping to sell as many as 2,500 of his creation in versions both ceramic (for $150) and plaster ($50).
The Weintraubs are also expanding on the concept in other ways, from a Menurkey iPhone app to a Menurkey theme song. Sample lyric: “Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, come light the Menurkey. Once in a lifetime, the candles meet the turkey.”
Part of what’s driving the Thanksgivukkah fervor is that Hanukkah is a holiday “with room for creativity,” says Jennie Rivlin Roberts, founder of ModernTribe.com, an online store that specializes in contemporary Jewish items. Ms. Roberts own contribution? A game called No Limit Texas Dreidel that she started marketing in 2007—it is a modern take on the holiday pastime of spinning the dreidel, a kind of Hanukkah-themed top. […]
Synagogues and Jewish organizations are also joining in the Thanksgivukkah chorus. In Boston, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, a local fundraising group, has created a website, ThanksgivukkahBoston.com, to promote the holiday and suggest ways to celebrate it (one example: making Hanukkah-themed corn-husk dolls). As project director Jeff Levy explains, the occasion is too significant to go unheeded. “This is like the new millennium,” he says.
At Temple Beth Sholom in Santa Ana, Calif., synagogue member Hollis O’Brien, a caterer, is leading a Thanksgivukkah cooking class at the end of October, replete with recipe tips for such hybridized holiday dishes as sweet-potato latkes and a Jewish-style brisket with a cranberry glaze. And since doughnuts are also popular at Hanukkah as part of the holiday’s emphasis on oil and fried foods, Ms. O’Brien has plans to showcase them as well. “Usually, I fill them with strawberry jelly, but this year, I’m going to use pumpkin cream,” she says.
Published: Friday, 11 Oct 2013 | 9:20 AM ETBy: Ben Popken
Jim Seida | NBC
Hanukkah and Thanksgiving mashup to create ‘Thanksgivukkah’
Chefs prepare a special “Thanksgivukkah” menu in the kitchen at Kutsher’s Tribeca in New York City to celebrate the rare convergence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving.In a once-in-a-lifetime convergence of calendars, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fall on the same day this year. But rather than choose between which holiday to celebrate, some families are saying “more please” to both. That means sweet potato latkes and challah-stuffed turkey is getting served up beside a cornucopia overflowing with chocolate gelt, lit by the flickering of a turkey-shaped menorah.
Because the Jewish and Gregorian calendars aren’t calculated the same way, Hanukkah shows up at a different times each year. Usually the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights happens in December, but this year, it falls on Turkey Day. The convergence has only happened once before, in 1888, and won’t be seen again until 2070 and again in 2165, according to calculations by Jonathan Mizrahi, a quantum physicist at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. After that, the two holidays aren’t set to overlap until 76,695.
So if you ever wondered what turkey would taste like if it had a little more “schmaltz” — rendered chicken fat, a staple of traditional Jewish cuisine —— this is the year.
Trish Meyers, a 41-year old stay-at-home mom in Brandon, Fla., already has in mind to put together eight turkey-shaped tapers in her house to create a crossover menorah. She was brought up Christian and her husband is Jewish. Normally the Meyerses and their two daughters, 12 and 19, observe Hanukkah at home, and then visit family for Thanksgiving. This year, they’re hosting both for all 20 guests. It will be the first time Trish’s side of the family has experienced a Hanukkah celebration.
Besides dreidel spinning and songs, bourbon sweet potato kugel, cranberry brisket sliders and challah-stuffed turkey are on order, combining cuisines from both menus into single dishes.
Meyers sees the stories of the Maccabees and Pilgrims as natural compliments.
“They were both being religiously persecuted,” she said, “both celebrate overcoming a struggle…and being thankful.”
Not to mention, “both involve an incredible amount of food,” said Scott Goldshine, general manager of Zabar’s specialty Jewish and luxury food store. The combined demand will definitely leave his workers tired at the end of the week, he said. “We’ve been discussing the whole thing for months, everyone is concerned.”
In the kitchen at Kutsher’s Tribeca in New York City, flames sprang over pan-fried turkey and a sous-chef ladled schmaltz on chopped challah stuffing. Owner Zach Kutsher said dinner reservations are already filling the books for its special “Thanksgivukkah” menu. The three-course meal features sliced turkey and brisket, sweet potato latkes with sour cream and cranberry compote, pumpkin shlishkes, cranberry-raspberry jelly-filled sufganiyot with chocolate “gelt” sauce, cheesy spaetzle kugel, and challah chestnut stuffing.
Instead of individual composed plates, the dishes will be served family style, said Kutsher, to encourage his diners to say, “Oh can you pass this,” just like at home.
Food purveyors aren’t the only ones getting in on the entrepreneurial action surrounding the holiday combo.
A 9-year old boy from New York City invented the “Menurkey” and raised $48,000 on Kickstarter to get production going for his Turkey-shaped menorah. There’s also greeting cards, posters, and a Woodstock-inspired T-shirt featuring a turkey on a guitar neck proclaiming “8 Days of Light, Liberty, & Latkes.”
Synagogues are also joining in the fun. At the Temple Isiah in Los Angeles, Cantor Tifani Coyot is writing Thanksgivukkah mashups for the choir to sing the Friday night after Thanksgiving, mixing together lyrics between traditional Jewish songs and spirituals that have a theme of giving thanks.
“We’re trying to bring in some themes of gratitude and giving thanks into the Shabbat service Friday night and combine the values of both holidays,” said Coyot.
However, the combined celebration poses the threat of a jam for businesses trying to accommodate both holidays.
Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole said the day before Thanksgiving is usually their busiest day of travel, which is also the start of the eight nights of Hanukkah. “We encourage those who are planning on using Amtrak for the Thanksgiving/Hanukkah holidays to reserve their seats well in advance of their departure dates,” said Cole.
Families looking to save travel hassle might be well advised to leave that Tuesday, said Tom Parsons, CEO of bestfares.com. For those flying, leaving the Monday before and coming back the following week on a Tuesday you’ll find the lowest fares and fewest crowds.
Meanwhile, Goldshine said his customers at Zabar’s have been peppering him with questions about how the store will handle serving both celebrations at once.
“They’re all nervous. ‘Are you going to do one or the other?’ We’re going to do them both,” said Goldshine. “It’s a great week for us — and a terrible week.”
—By NBC TODAY.com’s Ben Popken.
This holiday won’t happen again for 70,000 years. (Really.) So celebrate to the max: Manischewitz-brined turkey, pecan pie rugelach, a cornucopia of gelt, and lots more. posted on October 2, 2013 at 11:18am EDT
Christine Byrne BuzzFeed Staff
On Nov. 28, 2013, for the first and only time in any of our lifetimes, the first day of Hanukkah falls on the same day as Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving + Hanukkah = Thanksgivukkah. (Yes, it’s kind of like Sharknado.)
It’s the best thing to happen to American Jews since Larry David’s Thanksgiving rant.
There are already posters and T-shirts on sale. Thanksgivukkah even has its own Facebook page and Twitter account. T-shirts and posters are being sold through Modern Tribe. http://www.moderntribe.com
So BuzzFeed created a Thanksgivukkah menu wth nine original recipes that combine the best foods from both holidays.
Coming up with Thanksgivukkah recipes meant BuzzFeed Food editors asked themselves some important questions, such as: How do you make pumpkin pie Jewish? (Answer: Add rye flour and caraway seeds to the crust, then teach it a Torah portion.) How much sweet potato do you need to add to a noodle kugel to make it taste like Thanksgiving? (A lot, and then some bourbon too.) Does challah make a good turkey stuffing? (OH MY GOODNESS, YES.)
After testing, retesting, and then asking other BuzzFeed writers with less cooking experience to test them again, we are ecstatic with the results.
We know that cooking this entire menu might be unappealing to sane people; it’s just for fun, and the idea is that you can pick and choose the dishes that appeal to you. Feel free to email the BuzzFeed Food editors with any questions.
Plus fun DIY decoration ideas.
BuzzFeed’s DIY editors added some ingenious DIY Thanksgivukkah decoration ideas to the mix — like gold-dipped pumpkins and yarmulkes adorned with buckles.
POTATO LATKES WITH CRANBERRY APPLESAUCE
Makes 10-15 latkes
These are pretty traditional latkes. Because, while “mashed potato latkes” or “sweet potato marshmallow latkes” might have been interesting, there are some things you just don’t mess with. These skillet-fried potato cakes are topped with cranberry applesauce, though, earning them a place on the Thanksgivukkah menu.
2 ½ cups diced* onions, divided
1 large egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 pounds Russet potatoes
Vegetable oil (for frying)
Sour cream (garnish)
Cranberry Applesauce (garnish)
*To dice means to chop into roughly ¼-inch cubes.
Food processor with grating attachment
Finely dice the onions. They should be roughly 1/4 inch cubes.
Line a colander with a smooth kitchen towel or cheesecloth.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg and add flour, salt, baking powder, and 1 ¼ cup diced onions (set aside the other 1 ¼ cup for later). Mix to combine.
Set up a food processor with the grater attachment. Peel potatoes and cut lengthwise into pieces small enough to fit into your food processor, working quickly so that the potatoes don’t brown. You can grate potatoes by hand — but it’s obviously a lot easier this way. Grate potatoes and reserved 1 ¼ cup diced onion. Pour the potato-onion mixture out into the towel or cheesecloth set over the colander, wrap the towel around the mixture, and wring out as much liquid as possible. The potatoes should release at least 1 cup of liquid. Pour out the liquid, but save the white potato starch that sticks to the bottom of the bowl.
Add dry potato mixture to the egg/flour mixture, making sure to scrape all potato starch off of the towel and into the mixing bowl. Stir until batter is combined and sticky.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Set a wire rack inside a baking sheet and place it on the counter next to your stovetop.
Heat ½ cup vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Oil should be hot but not smoking, about 375°F. For each latke, take about ¼ cup of batter and flatten it in your palms to about a 2-inch disk. As you do this, squeeze out excess liquid, then place the disk into the oil with a heatproof spatula. Cook latkes about 4 minutes each side, until golden brown. Cook in batches of 4-5 latkes. Between batches, use a slotted spoon to strain any leftover bits of potato mixture out of the oil. Add more oil as needed, making sure to let the oil reheat before dropping the next potato mixture in. Transfer fried latkes to the baking rack, and place in the oven for about 8 minutes, until crispy and deep brown. Garnish with sour cream and cranberry applesauce.
This sauce is the new essential topping for latkes and turkey. It is killer.
Richer than applesauce but less tart than traditional cranberry sauce, this Thanksgivukkah condiment — it’s great with latkes and with turkey — is sweetened with just a little bit of Manischewitz. First, the cranberries are stewed with spices and wine, and then the apples are added near the end to maintain a heartier texture.
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ cup sugar
½ cup Manischewitz Concord Grape wine
4 large Granny Smith apples
In a medium sauce pot, combine cranberries, spices, sugar, and Manischewitz. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and let things simmer, uncovered, 20minutes.
Peel and core apples, then cut them into large chunks (approximately ½-inch cubes), and add to the cranberry mixture. Don’t cut the apples too far ahead of time or they’ll turn brown and smushy. Cover sauce and continue to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If sauce begins to stick, add water.
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before serving.
The star of this Thanksgivukkah feast is a pretty traditional bird, with one twist: It’s brined in Manizchewitz, a super-sweet kosher wine. The sugar helps flavor the turkey, and the deep purple color of the wine darkens the skin of the bird, making it look even more appetizing. Yes, that means PURPLE TURKEY. But only until it’s cooked; in the end it looks normal and tastes amazing.
6 quarts (24 cups) water, divided
1 ½ cups kosher salt
3 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
10 cloves garlic, crushed
5 sprigs rosemary
10 sprigs thyme
4 lemons, halved
4 oranges, halved
3 750-mL bottles Manischewitz Concord Grape wine
1 18 to 20-lb turkey
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) , at room temp
5-gallon container (a large cooler or foodsafe bucket)
Roasting rack and pan large enough for turkey
Bring 4 cups water with salt, caraway, fennel, and mustard seeds to a gentle boil. Stir to ensure salt has dissolved, then let cool to room temperature. Pour into a 5-gallon container. Add the remaining 20 cups water and all remaining brine ingredients (but not the turkey yet).
Remove turkey from its packaging and discard any excess liquid that leaks out. Your turkey probably has a bag inside of it containing its giblets and neck; discard giblets but put the neck in an airtight container and refrigerate to use for turkey stock. Then, submerge turkey in brine, making sure that it is completely covered (it doesn’t matter if it’s breast-side up or breast side down). Refrigerate for 24-36 hours. If brine doesn’t completely cover your turkey, flip the turkey over halfway through to ensure even brining.
Preheat oven to 500°F, with a single rack on the lowest rung.
Take turkey out of brine and dry thoroughly — inside and out — with paper towels. Then start with new paper towels and dry it again, inside and out. Let turkey sit out until it is room temperature, about an hour, then rub your room-temperature butter all over the turkey.
Place turkey on a roasting rack, breast side down. Cook in the 500°F oven for 30 minutes, or until skin on top starts to brown. After 30 minutes, flip your bird, turn the oven down to 350°F and cook turkey breast side up for 3 – 3 ½ hours, until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. You can check this by taking the turkey out of the oven after 2 hours and 45 minutes and inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. If the skin of your turkey starts to burn, tent a piece of aluminum foil over the part that is burning.
Once the thigh meat temperature reaches 165°F, remove from the oven and let rest on a cutting board for at least 20 minutes before carving.
Drippings from roasted turkey
¼ cup Manischewitz Concord Grape wine
3 cups homemade turkey stock (or canned chicken broth)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
Fine mesh strainer
Take turkey out of the roasting pan and set it aside on a carving block. Pour as much of the turkey drippings as you can out of the pan and into a heatproof container or bowl (plenty will remain stuck to the bottom), and reserve these drippings. Place the roasting pan across two burners over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or metal spatula for about 15 seconds to loosen any brown bits stuck to the bottom. Strain the mixture into a heatproof container, discarding burnt bits, and add enough of the reserved drippings so that you have a total of 1 cup. Discard the rest. Put drippings in a small saucepan over low heat, and add flour. Whisk the mixture constantly over low heat for about 2 minutes, until mixture is sticky and paste-like. Whisk vigorously and continuously. Note: The mixture will be VERY dark. Don’t be alarmed; this is what will color your gravy, and we promise it won’t taste burnt.
Slowly pour in turkey stock, whisking continuously. Add herbs and cook on low, whisking occasionally, for about 3 minutes. Take gravy off the heat and remove the herbs (take out the whole sprigs; thyme leaves may fall off the sprig and into your gravy, which is OK).
Serve immediately. Gravy will continue to thicken as it cools.
Shortcut Turkey Stock
This is the easy way to make every dish on your Thanksgiving table taste a million times better. posted on October 2, 2013 at 11:14am EDT
Makes about 6 cups
1 turkey neck, reserved from whole raw turkey
1 ½ cups chopped onion, from about 2 onions
¾ cup chopped carrot, from about 2 carrots
¾ cup chopped celery, from about 2 celery stalks
½ cup dry white wine*
12 cups (96 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon Canola oil
*The wine doesn’t have to be fancy, but it shouldn’t be super gross, either: Don’t use a wine you wouldn’t want to drink.
Fine mesh strainer
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add turkey neck and season with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook neck on both sides until golden brown but not burned (about 3 minutes each side). Turn heat down to medium-low and add onion, carrot, celery, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 8 minutes. Add white wine and stir constantly for about 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and 1 teaspoon salt, then turn heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 2 hours, or until liquid has reduced by roughly half.
Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a large heatproof container. Discard turkey neck and vegetables, and let stock cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Use your Shortcut Turkey Stock in stuffing, gravy, or any recipe that calls for homemade or store-bought broth.
SWEET POTATO BOURBON NOODLE KUGEL
A mash-up of noodle kugel and sweet potato pie, this dish is a soufflé-like casserole with a pretty serious bourbon kick. And don’t skimp on the pecan-cornflake topping; it adds crowd-pleasing crunch to a dish that most non-Jews tend to roll their eyes at.
4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1.5 lbs)
4 tablespoons bourbon
one 1-lb package wide egg noodles
¼ cup brown sugar
1 ½ lb full-fat cottage cheese
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), melted
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to salt water for noodles
2 cups corn flakes
1 cup whole shelled pecan halves, coarsely chopped
¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick)
¼ cup brown sugar
Food processor or blender
9×13-inch baking dish
Gallon-sized Ziploc bag
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Wrap sweet potatoes individually in foil and roast in the oven until soft and completely cooked through, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let the potatoes cool inside the foil for at least an hour, then peel them by hand. The skin will slide right off. Puree with the bourbon in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. This should yield about 3 cups of puree. If you yield more than 3 cups, set the excess aside for another use or discard. (If you want, you can do this ahead and refrigerate the puree for up to 2 days.)
Lower oven to 350°F.
In a pot of heavily salted water, cook the egg noodles al dente (about 5 minutes, or 2 minutes less than the package directions say). Pour into a colander to drain, running cold water over the noodles until they are cool to stop the cooking. Drain thoroughly.
In a very large bowl, beat eggs, then add brown sugar and beat just until combined. Add cottage cheese, melted butter, and the sweet potato puree, then mix with a rubber spatula until combined. Finally, add salt and the cooked noodles, and mix with a spatula until combined.
Pour noodle mixture into a 9×13” baking dish, flattening the top with a spatula. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. (if noodles start to brown during this time, cover your baking dish with foil).
While kugel is baking, prepare the pecan topping: First, put the cornflakes in a Ziploc bag and crush with your hands. The cornflakes should be in small pieces, but not dust. Next, brown butter in a medium saucepan. Turn off the heat and immediately add sugar, cornflakes, and pecans and stir with a spatula until just combined.
After it has baked for the full 50 minutes, remove kugel from the oven and sprinkle pecan mixture on top in an even layer. Bake, uncovered, for another 30 minutes, or until set. If pecans start to brown before kugel is set, cover with foil.
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH PASTRAMI AND PICKLED RED ONION
You’ve probably noticed that BuzzFeed’s Thanksgivukkah is not kosher. (Because honestly, Thanksgiving is not possible without butter), but pork and shellfish have no place on a Jewish holiday table. Instead of bacon, these Brussels sprouts are flavored with pastrami, and a hefty sprinkling of pickled red onions adds color and crunch.
1 medium red onion, finely diced*
2 cups rice wine vinegar**
½ cup sugar
¼ cup salt
¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick)
½ pound deli pastrami, thinly sliced
5 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
*To dice means to chop into roughly ¼-inch cubes.
**Rice wine vinegar is NOT the same as rice wine. You can find rice wine vinegar in the Asian section of your local grocery store, or with the other vinegars. Make sure you get rice wine VINEGAR, not rice wine. And, get the “unseasoned” kind (the seasoned stuff has added sugar and other weird stuff).
For Pickled Onions:
Bring rice wine vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Add sugar and salt, and stir until dissolved. Turn off heat and let mixture cool for about 5 minutes. Put diced onion in a large heatproof container, and pour vinegar mixture over. When mixture is room temperature, refrigerate for at least a day.
For Brussels Sprouts:
To prep Brussels sprouts, cut a small bit off the end of each sprout. Then, cut sprouts into quarters (if your sprouts are really small, cut them in half).
Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut pastrami into strips roughly ¼ inch wide and 2 inches long.
Melt butter in a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add pastrami and cook over medium heat until browned fat has rendered out, about 3 minutes. Don’t worry if the pastrami doesn’t brown evenly; you’re doing this to get the pastrami flavor into the butter, not to crisp the meat. Pour pastrami and fat into a large heatproof mixing bowl. Add Brussels sprouts, salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Line two large baking sheets with foil and spread Brussels sprouts out on them in a single layer. Don’t crowd the pans. Roast for 35 minutes, removing pans from the oven at the 20 minute mark to move the Brussels sprouts around a little, then rotating the pans from top to bottom rack before putting them back in the oven for the remaining 15 minutes. Brussels sprouts will be dark brown and crispy around the edges.
Strain the pickled red onions and reserve ½ cup of pickling liquid. As soon as the Brussels sprouts come out of the oven, toss them with the red onions and the ¼ cup of liquid while they’re still warm. Serve immediately.
Stuffing is bread soaked in loads of butter. Challah stuffing is extra-rich, eggy bread soaked in loads of butter. Need I say more?
2 1-lb loaves challah It’s fine if they’re a little crushed.
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced onion
2 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples
8 sprigs thyme, leaves picked and finely chopped
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
6 sprigs marjoram, leaves picked and finely chopped
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
freshly ground pepper, to taste
Note: To dice means to chop into roughly ½-inch cubes.
9×13-inch baking dish
Cut challah into 1-inch cubes and let cubes sit out in a bowl or on a baking tray, uncovered, for at least six hours to make them stale. Alternatively, you can dry bread in a 250°F oven by laying cubes in a single layer on baking sheets and baking for about 30 minutes, or until bread is dry but not toasted (it should not start to brown at all).
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium-low heat, then add onions and celery. Add three teaspoons of salt and ground pepper to taste, and cook until onions are soft, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, start peeling your apples. You can’t do this too far ahead of time, because apples oxidize (AKA turn brown and get gross) if you leave them sitting around, raw and unpeeled, for too long. Dice them the same size as your onions and celery. Add apples and herbs and cook until apples are soft, about 5 minutes more.
In a large bowl, combine challah cubes, cooked vegetables in butter, and chicken broth. Mix until the bread is saturated with liquid, and everything is evenly mixed. Press stuffing into a 9×13-inch baking dish and cover with foil. No need to grease your dish. There’s plenty of butter in there. Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes, then remove the foil, raise your oven to 450°F, and cook stuffing uncovered for another 10-15 minutes, or until the top starts to brown slightly. Cool 10 minutes, then serve.
HORSERADISH CHIVE MASHED POTATOES
Perfect mashed potatoes are a given on Thanksgiving, but sometimes they can feel a little heavy. These are still super decadent, but the addition of horseradish and chives — a common Jewish deli combination — adds some tartness that brightens them up a little bit. These are tangy, creamy and even more addictive than regular mashed potatoes, so please proceed with caution.
1 whole head of garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1 cup heavy cream
3 teaspoons kosher salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 bunch chives
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
Electric hand mixer (not essential)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the top off of the head of garlic, and peel away the outermost layer of papery skin. Place on a square of aluminum foil, and drizzle with olive oil and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and roast about 45 minutes, until soft. Let cool for about an hour, still wrapped in foil. Then, squeeze the soft roasted garlic out of the skin, and mix with a fork until paste-like.
Peel potatoes and cut into 1” cubes. Put potato cubes in a large pot and cover by 2” with cold, unsalted water, then put pot on the stove and bring to a boil. If you use salted water to boil potatoes, they get grainy and start to disintegrate.
Meanwhile, finely slice the chives. Boil potatoes until they are fork tender — this should take 40-60 minutes — then drain completely.
While potatoes are still hot, put them in a large mixing bowl and add butter, cream, horseradish, roasted garlic, and most of the sliced chives. Season with salt and pepper. Beat with an electric mixer on low for about a minute, then on high for 2 more minutes until smooth and fluffy.
Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with remaining chives, and serve immediately.
RYE PUMPKIN PYE
“Ummm…. how do you make pie Jewish?” Admittedly, it was tough. The answer? Pour old-school pumpkin filling into a rye and caraway-studded shortbread crust. The verdict? Just, wow.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (¾ stick), cut into ¼-inch cubes
5 tablespoons sugar
2 egg yolks
1 cup rye flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons caraway seeds, ground in spice grinder or with mortar and pestle
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon kosher salt
one 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
one 12-oz. can evaporated milk
Spice grinder or mortar and pestle
9-inch pie dish
Let butter sit out at room temperature for about 20 minutes, until soft but not melting. With the back of a fork, cut together butter and sugar in a medium mixing bowl until mixture is smooth with no lumps and the sugar is completely incorporated. Add the egg yolks and stir to combine, then add flours, caraway, and salt. Mix until the mixture is crumbly (all ingredients should be combined, but the mixture will have a slightly sandy, not sticky texture), then press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Refrigerate until firm, about an hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake crust about 10 minutes, just until it starts to brown.
Filling and Assembly:
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add sugar, honey, spices, salt, and pumpkin puree, and whisk until combined. Slowly add evaporated milk, whisking just until combined.
Cover the edges of the pie crust with foil, then pour the pumpkin mixture in. Try not to press the foil down too firmly onto the crust or it will stick. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temp to 350°F and cook another 50 minutes, until filling is set. Cool before serving.
PECAN PIE RUGELACH
Makes 32 cookies
Some traditional rugelach recipes already call for pecans. But it’s the light corn syrup that sets these apart. They taste exactly like pecan pie — only bite-sized.
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 8 pieces
½ cup cream cheese (4 oz), cut into 4 pieces
2 cups shelled pecan halves
¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick), cut into 4 pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup corn syrup
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
Electric hand mixer
2 cookie sheets
pizza cutter (not essential)
Let butter and cream cheese sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes, so that they are still cool but slightly soft. Combine flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl; mix on a low speed just until combined. Scatter butter and cream cheese pieces over the top of the flour mixture, and beat on medium speed until dough is the texture of cottage cheese, still slightly crumbly. Use your hands to divide the dough into 2 equal pieces, then roll each piece into a ball. Flatten each ball into a disk about 1 inch thick and 4 inches in diameter, then wrap each one separately in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours, up to 1 day.
Using a knife, finely chop pecans and put in a medium mixing bowl. (Do NOT chop the nuts in a food processor. You want the pecans to be chopped but still coarse, and a food processor will turn them into nut butter.)
In a small saucepan over medium heat, brown the butter by adding all 4 pieces at once and constantly stirring with a heatproof spatula until completely melted. Continue to stir or swirl the pan as butter starts to bubble and foam. When the foam subsides slightly and butter turns a light brown color, take it off the heat immediately and add it to the chopped pecans. Add vanilla extract, corn syrup, and brown sugar, and mix with a rubber spatula just until combined.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Beat egg yolk with the tablespoon of water and set aside.
When dough is chilled, unwrap one disk onto a lightly floured surface, and roll with a rolling pin into a 12-inch circle. It is important to have an even, symmetrical circle, so trim any excess. If dough gets too soft during rolling, lay it on one of the lined baking sheets and put it in the freezer for 5 minutes, until slightly chilled. Once the dough is rolled out, sprinkle half of the pecan mixture on top of the dough, all the way to the edges of the circle, making sure the mixture is evenly distributed. With a pizza cutter (or a knife), cut dough into 16 equal slices. Roll each slice from the outside in (starting at the wide end and rolling towards the point), placing each roll onto the cookie sheet as you go. Repeat this process with the other disk of dough.
Use a pastry brush to coat the top of each cookie with the egg-water mixture.
Bake rugelach for 20 minutes until golden, turning the cookie sheet halfway through baking. Cookies are done when they are slightly golden brown. Don’t worry about the filling spreading; that’s the corn syrup (ESSENTIAL to the pecan pie taste). When cookies are slightly cool, you can break that extra filling right off and put it into your mouth. Cool completely before serving.