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What better way to combine Thanksgiving and Hanukkah? Turkey and Potato Latkes!

It is hard to get my teeth around the fact that Hanukkah is almost here! Isn’t it only the middle of November? Yes, I know Thanksgiving is the last Thursday of November, and this year it is a little later than usual, but still, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving at the same time? It has not happened since we have lived in this country, almost 18 years now! So, what does this mean for someone who is thinking of what to make for her cooking blog? Get creative and combine the two. I have tried to do just that, and have included some fun and different recipes.

Thanksgiving is a holiday I really enjoy. We did not celebrate Thanksgiving in South Africa, so it was new to us when we came here. However, it was the one holiday that I found so easy to embrace. It has no religious connotations, and it is a time of getting together with family, or as is our case where we don’t have family close by, with close friends who are like your family. I thank our American friends, I trust you know who you are, for teaching us the traditions of Thanksgiving, and for welcoming us into their homes and making their family ours too.

Hanukkah is  also a holiday I enjoy. It holds lots of wonderful memories of my life back in South Africa growing up, of the wonderful Hanukkahs I celebrated when living in Israel, and the many happy times here in the States. It is also a time of sadness for me as two very very important people in my life, my Grandfather z”l and my father z”l died around Hanukkah time. It is hard to light the Menorah and sing the blessings and Maoz Tzur without thinking of them. Yet I remind myself, as is so apt for this year, we must be thankful for the memories and the legacy each of them left and I am thankful each day for all I have – my family, friends and above all my health.

So, enjoy the recipes to combine this special Thanksgiving Holiday with the celebration of the miracle of Hanukkah.

Curried Butternut Soup

2 lbs. peeled and sliced butternut
1 large onion chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
3 medium potatoes, peeled  and cut in large chunks
10 cups water
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 Tbs. curry powder ( I use medium strength because I like it to have a “kick”, but if you just want some flavor, you can use mild curry powder)
2 Tbs. parev chicken-flavored soup powder

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Butternut Soup

Saute onion in olive oil till it starts to caramelize.
Add butternut and cook a few minutes.
Add the potatoes.
Cover the vegetables with water.
Add seasonings and soup powder. Mix well.
Cover the pot. Bring to a gentle boil, and then turn down to a low heat and allow it to simmer for about an hour.
Use an immersion blender or a liquidizer and blend soup to a smooth thick consistency.
Check seasoning.
You can add a dollop of Rich’s Whip, in place of cream, when you serve the soup.

Stuffed Turkey Breast with Cranberry Glaze

As I was thinking of the recipe for this dish, I was thinking how I could prevent the turkey breast from drying out. In my mind there is nothing worse than dry turkey. I also wanted it to have lots of flavor, but I did not want to cook it in a sauce. I came up with the idea of using Boerewors or Boeries as they are known by many in place of sausage. Boerewors is a South African traditional sausage that has a coriander base. You can order this kosher, authentic South African sausage known as kosherboeries, beef sausage,  directly from Grillerspride, by clicking on the hyperlink in the recipe. It really made the dish and added an excellent flavor as well as some moisture to the stuffing. I would also recommend making the stuffing using the Hot Italian Sausage if you would like more “kick” in your stuffing.

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Finely Diced Stuffing Ingredients

2 boneless turkey breasts with skin on
3 pieces of Kosher Boeries or hot Italian sausages
1 large onion finely diced
2 Tbs. Olive oi
2 sticks celery finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper finely diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper finely diced
1 granny smith apple finely diced
1 punnet sliced mushrooms
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder
2 slices of parev bread (I used 7 grain, but you can use any kind you want to use) – remove crusts and cut into small cubes.
4 -5 sprigs of thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme

In a skillet saute the onion till translucent.
Remove the skin from the boeries or sausage and with a fork, mash up the sausage to loosen it a little. Add to the onions and brown the meat making sure you keep separating the meat all the time,.

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Add the peppers and celery and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Add the diced apple, and mushrooms,
Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Allow to cook until the mushrooms have softened and most their liquid has been released and cooked into stuffing.
Add the cubes of bread and the thyme leaves removed from their stem. Mix well and remove from stove. There should still be some liquid in the pan.
Allow to cool before you stuff the breast.
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Rolled and Tied Breast

Cut each turkey breast down the middle and “butterfly” open.
Spread a layer of the cooled stuffing over the entire breast.
Roll the breast, tucking and rolling as you go, and lay the rolled
breast open side flat on a plate. Take some kitchen string and
tie breast together in 3 places on breast.

Repeat with second breast, and place both breasts (skin side down) into a casserole dish.
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Add any left over stuffing along side.
Bake uncovered for about 1 hour 10 minutes, depending on size of breasts, at 400 F.
Turn after 45 minutes. Cook till skin is nicely brown. Remove from oven and cover with foil. Let stand for 10 minutes for juices to be absorbed back into meat. ( Meanwhile make the cranberry glaze – recipe below)
Remove foil and slice into thick slices. Platter. Drizzle with Cranberry Glaze.
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Cranberry Glaze

3/4 cup Cranberry Sauce (either homemade, recipe below, or canned cranberry sauce)
3/4 cup dry red wine

Place cranberry sauce and wine in saucepan. Heat slowly and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and allow the wine to reduce till a thick glaze forms. Remove from heat and drizzle over sliced breast.

As you all no doubt understand, I did not want to cook a whole turkey for just Peter and me, so I cooked the turkey breast instead. However, I do usually make a scrumptious turkey for Thanksgiving cooked outside on our Weber Grill.

Roast Turkey

1 whole turkey (16 – 18 lbs)
2 cups tomato juice
1 cup sherry or kiddush wine
4 cups water
1 Tbs. Kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbs. paprika
2 tsp. celery salt
4 sticks celery
1-lb. baby carrots

Place turkey in a heavy duty aluminum roasting pan with the breast facing up.
Cut the celery sticks in half and place some of them and the carrots inside the turkey and some around it in the pan.
Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour over the turkey.
Cover the breast only with aluminum foil, and wrap the ends of the drumsticks in foil, so they don’t burn.
Place on the Weber grill which has been heated to a medium temperature. Close the grill.
Cook for an hour. Remove foil from breast and turn the turkey over to allow the breast to be in the sauce.
Cook a further 2 hours, basting the turkey with the sauce every 45 minutes. After 3 hours, insert a thermometer to check it is completely cooked, 170 degrees. If not quite there, cook a short while longer or until it reaches desired reading.
Remove from grill, place on carving board and carve. Serve immediately or else place the cut slices back in the gravy and cover with aluminum foil till ready to serve. (Can be reheated in the sauce.)
Transfer sauce to a gravy dish, and remove the fat. Serve with the turkey.

Cranberry Sauce

It would not be right of me to include this recipe without mentioning that making this cranberry sauce has been a tradition that Michal, my daughter, and I have carried out every Thanksgiving since she was in kindergarten, she is now a senior in college! Her teacher gave us the recipe following their school Thanksgiving Feast, and we just love it. Each year we make a big pot of sauce, and it lasts me for most of the year. To this day, we get excited as we watch and hear the cranberries pop. I used some of the sauce for the cranberry drizzle in the stuffed turkey breast and in my stuffed latkes. However, it is absolutely delicious plain with the roast turkey too.

4 cups fresh cranberries
1 and 1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. ground ginger

In a saucepan, bring the maple syrup, water and ground ginger to a boil.
Add the cranberries.
Turn the mixture down to simmer, and cook till the cranberries “pop”.
Mash them down with a fork,
Remove from stove and allow to cool.
Transfer to an air-tight container to store in fridge till ready to serve or use.

 Potato Latkes Stuffed with Cranberry Sauce

I must confess that stuffing latkes was not my original idea. I attended a cooking demonstration at our shul a couple of weeks ago, and Shifra Klein made latkes stuffed with mushrooms. I decided that because Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap, I would stuff my latkes with cranberry sauce. The recipe for the latkes is the same as the one I used in my potato kugel on Rosh Hashanah, just smaller quantities.
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3 large russet
1 medium onion,
2 large eggs
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
Oil for frying – I do not use too much oil, enough to cover one side of the latke
Cranberry Sauce

Grate potatoes and onion in a food processor or by hand.
Place the grated vegetables in a dish towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the potato-onion mix.
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Once the water is out, place the potatoes in a mixing bowl.
Lightly beat the eggs and add to the potatoes together with the salt and pepper.
Mix well.
Add the flour and make sure it is well mixed into the mixture.
Take a 1/4 cup measuring cup, place a spoon of the potato mixture to cover the bottom of the cup. Place a teaspoonful of cranberry sauce on top of it, and cover with another thin layer of potato mixture.
Heat the oil so it is ready for frying.
Carefully flip the stuffed mixture over into the hot oil, and immediately flatten it with a spatula. Repeat process until the pan is filled with latkes. (Will have to do a few batches at a time).
Fry until they are golden brown on both sides. Remove and place the cooked latkes on a plate covered in paper towel so that the grease can be absorbed into the towel. Place on a serving platter and serve hot. If you are not going to eat them immediately, place on a baking sheet, and when ready to eat them, heat in oven for 10 minutes.

 Roasted Butternut

This recipe is so easy. I use the ready peeled and sliced butternut available at some supermarkets and Costco, and I just add a few ingredients to season it. I bake it for an hour or so. I just love this dish.

1 or 2 punnets sliced butternut
Olive oil
maple syrup
salt, pepper and cinnamon

Place butternut in a shallow roasting pan.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper and a dash of cinnamon.|
Drizzle with maple syrup or any other dark, parev syrup
With your hands, turn the butternut pieces to ensure that each piece is coated with the oil, syrup mix.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour. I sometimes let it cook even longer if other things are still cooking. Just check it is not getting burned.

Although I did include green beans and a fresh garden salad with this meal, i am not including recipes for them as I was not very creative with them.  I simply steamed the beans in the microwave, added some garlic salt to them when they were cooked at that was it.

Apple Pie

5 granny smith apples
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup brown sugar
cinnamon about 1/2 tsp.
3/4 cup finely ground pecans
1 graham cracker pie crust

Peel and thinly slice the apples. Great to use a mandolin or v-slicer if you have one.
Mix the apple with the lemon juice, brown sugar and cinnamon. Place apple mixture in the pie crust. Sprinkle the ground pecans on top of the apple mix, covering it completely with the ground nuts.
Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until apples are completely soft – this is why I slice my apples very thinly.
Allow to cool slightly and serve warm with parev vanilla ice-cream
















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