For the first time since President Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a federal holiday 150 years ago, the celebration of the Pilgrims’ arrival on these North Atlantic shores coincides with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. It’s a rare confluence, said not to happen again for another 77,798 years. Both holidays are beloved for their traditional foods—turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving; latkes, sufganiyot, and all things fried for Hanukkah.
How, then, to honor both holidays at once? What invokes both Pilgrim and Maccabee? We asked a group of bloggers and foodies to come up with some enticing responses. In fact, their answers constitute a meal: sweet potato latkes with cranberry apple sauce, crispy fried brussels sprouts with maple syrup and sriracha, deep fried turkey and pumpkin sufganiyot.
Sweet Potato Latkes and Cranberry Apple Sauce, from Amy Sherman
Makes 24 latkes
Sweet Potato Latkes
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup grated onion
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound sweet potato, peeled and shredded
Oil for frying (any type of cooking oil is fine such as peanut, canola, or safflower)
In a bowl mix together the eggs, onion, flour, salt and sweet potato, then let batter rest for 5 minutes. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a frying pan until it is very hot. Gently drop tablespoons of batter in the pan and flatten. Fry over medium heat until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Add more oil as needed. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sour cream and cooled cranberry apple sauce.
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
6 Tablespoons apricot jam
1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh cranberries
Cook the apples, jam and water in a saucepan over medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir and mash the apples with a potato masher. Add the cranberries and simmer until the cranberries have popped and the apples are tender, about 4 -5 minutes. Mash to desired consistency. Let cool.
(Photo credit: Sarah Shatz)
Serves 2 to 4
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon sriracha (or to taste)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Juice of 1 large lime
Vegetable oil, for frying
1. Trim the stem end of the sprouts and gently separate the leaves with your fingers, collecting them in a large bowl. When you reach the heart of the sprout (where it’s tough to pry off the remaining leaves), add the heart to the bowl with the leaves.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the sriracha, maple syrup, and lime juice. Taste and add more sriracha or maple syrup if you like. Set aside.
3. Set about 2 inches of oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Heat until a Brussels sprout leaf begins to sizzle and crisp as soon as you add it to the oil. Fry the sprouts in batches, using a screen to protect you from sputtering oil and keeping your face away from the pot as the sprouts cook. Remove the sprouts with a slotted spoon after 30 seconds to a minute, when crisp and brown. Drain them on a double layer of paper towels while you fry the rest of the sprouts.
4. Once all the sprouts are fried, transfer them to a large bowl and sprinkle them generously with salt. Toss gently to combine. Working quickly, drizzle some of the sauce over the sprouts and toss again to coat lightly. Taste, add more sauce if necessary, and serve immediately, before they wilt!
Deep fried turkey, from Scott Saltzman
You need six things to fry a turkey so the skin in nicely crisped on the outside and the meat is tender juicy on the inside, with just the right amount of other crispy bits to satisfy:
The turkey, the frying rig (pot, burner, rack/handle to lower turkey in and pull it out of oil, propane tank, thermometer that can sit in the oil), the oil, the marinade and a syringe, the rub, the audience, plus the turkey.
The Turkey: If you have a standard turkey frying rig which is much taller than wide, any turkey smaller than 19 pounds will work. Remember to remove the gizzards and neck and other items. If it was frozen, defrost slowly if possible.
The Rig: A fairly standard turkey frying pot is a 30 quart stock pot. It varies in measurement but somewhere around 13” diameter and 16-17” or so tall. (The narrower it is, the less oil you have to use to cover the turkey). I prefer stainless steel pots. Sometimes they come with a basket insert, which can come in handy for frying other things. There should always be a device to help you slowly lower the turkey into the very hot oil. Mine is a stainless steel clover-shaped wire rack with a long stem topped with a hook. The long stem goes up through the turkey and out the large cavity hole. I then have a handle with a hook that connects to the stem hook allowing me to lower the turkey safely. You also need a 40-50,000 BTU burner, a propane tank and a long meat thermometer to check the oil temperature.
The Oil: Peanut oil, which can hold high temperatures and not burn. About 3-4 gallons of oil will work for most pots with a 13 to 19 lb turkey. You can do the displacement test by putting the turkey in the fryer, adding water until it’s just at or above the turkey legs, pull the bird out and measure water height for the approximate amount of oil to use. Be advised that when the oil heats up, it expands. It is better to add a bit more oil slowly once the turkey is in than to have too much oil boiling over the edge when you only have half of the the turkey in the hot oil. However, I do mean only having to add a bit! If the oil you put in is only ½ of what you need (“then it won’t have a boil over” you reason) when you add the other half of the oil, the temperature will drop dramatically and your turkey will languish in luke warm oil and you will not get an end result of a crispy outside and moist inside.
The Marinade: The base marinade I use is called Cajun Injector Marinade–Creole Butter (not an endorsement, just what I use). I use it as a base and add whatever flavors I am interested in at the time, anything from rosemary, oregano and thyme oils, liquid smoke, various Tabasco sauces, garlic infusions, paprikas, peppers, and more.
You will need some sort of large gauge syringe to inject this marinade into the turkey. If your food store does not carry it, try a vet supply store—the best injector I have found is horse needle. The volume is not critical as you will do multiple injections. My syringe holds 1 1/2 ounces of fluid. I usually use 16 ounces of marinade for a 15 to 18 pound turkey. I inject in multiple points around the bird, including multiple points in each side of the breast, 2-3 points in each leg and wing and anywhere else there is a reasonable amount of meat. I try to move the needle around a bit as I inject to it does not all pool in a single area.
The Rub: I use Tony Chachere Creole original and spice and herb style seasoning as my rub all over the outside of the turkey and the inside of the cavity. It’s a salt-heavy cayenne pepper-based seasoning that crisps very nicely on the skin of the turkey when fried. If you have a spicy rub you like, use it. If you don’t have a rub you like, and can’t get the one I use, here’s a recipe that’ll work: 2 1/2 tablespoons Paprika (hot or sweet) , 2 tablespoons salt, 2 tablespoons Garlic Powder , 1 tablespoon Black Pepper, 1 tablespoon Onion Powder , 1 tablespoon Cayenne Pepper, 1 tablespoon Dried Leaf Oregano, 1 tablespoon Dried Thyme. Adjust to taste.)
The Audience: Folks love to watch this happen. I even encourage it (‘turkey to drop in 5 minutes!’), but they all need to stay back, just in case, especially the little ones.
Oil Temperature, Dropping Technique, Time to Finish, And Final Notes
Oil Temperature: Once the oil filled pot is set on the burner, I completely open up the flame to allow for quickest heating of oil. It will take about 15 to 25 minutes to heat 3.5 gallons of peanut oil, depending on weather conditions (wind, temperature, precipitation). I like to bring the oil temperature up to 400 or so for birds under 15 pounds and between 400 and 425 degrees when birds are more than 15 pounds. The oil temperature drops after the turkey goes in the oil and I like to cook the turkey between 325 and 350 degrees. After the bird is in, I turn down the heat depending on how fast the temp drops to the target temperature. Periodically monitor the temperature to make sure it stays in the target range.
Dropping Technique: Remove the turkey from the fridge about an hour before you fry it. Do not fry the turkey indoors! Do not fry the turkey on a wooden deck or right next to anything particularly flammable. I hold the handle (inserted into the turkey holder with the turkey) over the oil with one hand and keep the rest of my body as far away from the pot as I can. I gently lower the bird evenly so it enters as quickly but safely as I can get it in the oil. The idea is to crisp that skin quickly with the highest heat right at the beginning so the juices get sealed inside and the cooking can continue. If you drop it too slowly, you can cook the bottom of the bird long before the top even enters. Drop it too fast the oil will splatter. Some people put a 2×4 through the handle and lower the bird in slowly with the help of two people.
Time to Finish: It takes about 48 minutes to cook a 16 pound turkey at 325 to 350 degrees, figuring about 3 minutes per pound. When done, hold the turkey on the edge of the pot to drain, and then slice into a thick part of the bird to see what the color of the fluid is. You want fluid that is a hair pink or just clear. If it’s red, the turkey is not done. Lower it back into the oil slowly and cook for a few more minutes.
Once the bird is done, pull it out, balance it on the edge of the pot to let it drain into the pot, and set it on some cardboard to drain a bit more. I use newspaper around the bird, a foot on the base of the holder and pull straight up to get the bird off its carrier/holder and onto a plate. Then cover loosely with foil and let sit for five to 10 minutes to let the juices redistribute. Turkey oil is expensive. No sense in wasting a full pot of oil on one bird. I usually fry 2-3 in succession.
The trick to making non-greasy, fully-cooked doughnuts is the temperature of the oil. If the oil is not hot enough, the dough will absorb oil; if it is too hot, the outsides will brown before the insides have cooked. To test the temperature of the oil, use a candy thermometer or drop a cube of soft white bread in the oil—It should brown in 35 seconds. The Germans insist that “doughnuts must swim in oil (krapfen müssen schwimmen).” Using at least 2 to 3 inches of oil ensures that the temperature will not drop too much when the doughnuts are added.
Another German direction is “gild instead of char (vergolden statt verkohlen),” insisting that doughnuts should only be cooked to a golden brown, never darker. A traditional sign of proper is cooking is a light-colored ring around the center of the doughnut, indicative that the fat was hot enough to push to doughnut to the surface before browning too much of the dough.
1 (1/4-ounce) package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast or 1 (0.6-ounce) cake fresh yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees for dry yeast; 80 to 85 degrees for fresh yeast)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup milk, soy milk, or water
6 tablespoons vegetable oil, vegetable shortening, or softened butter
3 large eggs (or 2 egg yolks and 1 large egg)
1 teaspoon salt
About 3 3/4 cups (18 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour
About 5 cups vegetable oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, or
vegetable shortening for deep-frying
1 recipe pumpkin cream (recipe follows)
Confectioners’ sugar or granulated sugar (or 1 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon) for dusting
1. To make the dough: In a small bowl or measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in the water. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, the remaining sugar, milk, butter, eggs, salt, and 2 cups flour. Gradually beat in enough of the remaining flour to make a smooth, soft dough.
2. On a lightly floured surface or in a mixer with a dough hook, knead the dough until smooth and springy, about 5 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a kitchen towel or loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight.
3. Punch down the dough. Fold over and press together several times, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes. Roll out the dough 1/3 inch thick. (If too thin, they won’t puff properly.) Cut out 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-inch rounds. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet, cover with a towel or piece of plastic wrap spritzed with cooking spray, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
4. In a large heavy pot or deep-fat fryer, heat at least 2 inches oil over medium heat to 370°F.
5. Using an oiled spatula, carefully lift the doughnuts and drop them, top side down, into the oil. The temperature of the oil should not drop below 350°F. Fry 3 or 4 at a time without crowding the pan, turning once, until golden brown on all sides, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Remove with a wire mesh skimmer or tongs and briefly drain on a wire rack.
Place some pumpkin cream in a pastry syringe, cookie press, or a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch hole or nozzle tip. Insert the tip into a side of a doughnut and gently fill with about 1 tablespoon cream. Roll the doughnuts in the sugar. The fresher the doughnut, the better the flavor and texture.
(VARIATION: Pumpkin dough. Add ½ cup pumpkin puree and either ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg or mace or 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon.)
(About 1 2/3 cups)
1 cup whole milk or soy milk
1/2 cup (120 grams) pumpkin puree
1/16 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch or 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 large egg yolks or 1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a heavy nonreactive 1- to 2-quart saucepan, heat the milk, pumpkin puree, salt, and 4 tablespoons sugar over medium heat to a low boil. (If you don’t have a heavy pan, make the cream in the top of a double boiler.)
2. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, starch or flour, and spices. Add the egg yolks and beat until combined and smooth. Gradually beat in half the warm milk. Strain to remove any coagulated egg or clumps. (It’s easier to do it when liquidy, than after the custard thickens.)
3. Return to the saucepan and whisk constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture bubbles and thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise or 170 degrees on a digital thermometer (about 3 minutes). If using, cornstarch, remove from the heat; if using flour, then continue to whisk for 2 minutes to cook out the raw taste. Remove from the heat and continue to whisk for about 20 seconds. Stir in the vanilla.
4. Pour into a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface (to prevent a skin from forming) and let stand at room temperature until cool (about 1 hour). Store cream well covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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