Two worlds will converge this month, when Hanukkah overlaps with Thanksgiving. The mashup of, well, mashed potatoes and potato latkes is a once-in-a-lifetime event. As Time Magazine reports, the two holidays won't coincide again until the year 79811, due to the funky mathematics of the Hebrew and secular calendars.
The eight-day Hanukkah festival begins at sundown on Nov. 27, the evening before Thanksgiving. A savvy marketing specialist named the phenomenon Thanksgivukkah which led to merchandise like the menurkey candelabra, the brain child of a child.
The BuzzFeed staff came up with an inspired dinner menu, including Manischewitz-brined roast turkey, sweet potato bourbon noodle kugel, and roasted Brussels sprouts with pastrami and pickled red onion. Latkes, of course, are a natural way to link American and Jewish cuisines. Last year Joan Nathan shared with us her recipe for curried sweet potato latkes, which is a good place to start.
“I'm stoked!” Greenspan said. “My two favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, and it's because of the food that is involved with both of them. To have them on the same day is going to turn them into a gluttonous affair.”
One way to embrace both holidays at the same time is by making a stuffing using challah. Greenspan shared his recipe with us — and yes, there will be chicken schmaltz.
Another idea is to be creative when it comes to latkes. Greenspan pointed out that pretty much any vegetable that you can grate can be converted into a latke: “Mix it with eggs, onion, flour and fry away.” A lot of frying will be going on during the weekend after Thanksgiving at the Roof on Wilshire, it should be said, where the theme will be “leftovers and latkes” with three kinds of turkey sandwiches and a trio of latkes as well.
Both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving typically revolve around a meaty main course, making the dual holiday doubly challenging for vegans and vegetarians. But Hever, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Gluten-Free Vegan Cooking, says there are plenty of plant-based seasonal options with broad appeal: “Autumn-themed dishes are perfect this time of year, using brightly colored squashes, pumpkins, accented with dark, leafy greens, and substantiated with potatoes, whole grains, and legumes.”
Rather than trying to substitute something big in place of a turkey or brisket, she suggests serving a variety of dishes: “I love doing buffet style, where there's just tons of different, colorful healthy foods that people can pick and choose from. I put everything out at the same time, including the soups and salads, instead of serving the meal course by course.”
One of Hever's holiday favorites is stuffed acorn squash. Looking pretty and tasting great, this is a nice addition to a traditional or vegan Thanksgiving dinner — and it just occurred to us that acorn squash kind of looks like the spinning tops known as dreidels, so you've got Hanukkah covered, too.
Turn the page for the recipes…
Stuffed Acorn Squash
From: Julieanna Hever
4 medium acorn squash, washed, halved and seeded
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 medium celery stalks, diced
4 medium carrots, diced
¼ cup plus 3 ¾ cups water or vegetable broth
¾ cup wild rice, cooked
¾ cup brown rice, cooked
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
½ teaspoon dried sage
ground black pepper to taste
½ cup fresh parsely, minced
1 cup raw walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place squash halves, cut side down, on one or two baking sheets filled with an inch of water. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. When done, remove from oven, carefully pour out the water and flip the squash so it is cut-side-up.
2. In a medium pot, sauté onions, carrots and celery in ¼ cup water or vegetable broth until slightly browned, approximately 5 minutes. Add the cooked wild rice, cooked brown rice, mushrooms, poultry seasoning, sage, black pepper and remaining water or vegetable broth.
3. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat and then simmer on medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Add parsley and nuts and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Spoon rice mixture into each squash. Cover with foil and return to the oven. Bake for 20-25 additional minutes or until squash is tender. Serve warm.
Challah Bread Stuffing
From: Eric Greenspan
2 cups finely chopped onions
2 cups finely chopped celery
8 tablespoons schmaltz (rendered chicken fat)
1 cup turkey liver, sautéed and chopped
¾ teaspoon ground caraway seed
½ teaspoon fresh thyme
1 ½ teaspoons ground celery seed
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 one-pound challah bread, cubed and toasted
½ cup chicken stock
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large skillet, cook the onion and celery in melted schmaltz over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and light golden.
2. Add the caraway, thyme, celery seed, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook the mixture, stirring, for 3 minutes.
3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, add the liver, chicken stock, toasted challah cubes and eggs. Combine all ingredients gently but thoroughly. Put the mixture into a medium casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes, until browned and crispy on top.
4. Serve immediately. The stuffing can also be made ahead and refrigerated, then reheated to serve.
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