For Thanksgiving, we prepared the traditional fare:
Roast Turkey with sage under the skin for extra flavor.
Fresh cranberry and orange relish
Homemade mashed potatoes
Homemade giblet gravy (my husband makes it deliciously!!!)
Green Bean Casserole
Homemade fresh pumpkin pie
Boxed stuffing made semi-homemade (I'm stealing that phrase from Sandra Lee) by sauteeing minced celery and onions in butter before adding the water.
Candied yams with cinnamon stick
Broccoli with garlic vinaigrette.
I thought we would have plenty of leftovers. Not so. But I did manage to have my husband keep from tossing the turkey carcass away so I could make Jook (Chinese rice soup).
Now my mom's menu was almost identical to mine with the exception of Arroz con Gandules. When she told me she had made this, wise guy that I am I retorted, "Well, that's sure an All-American dish!" But my mom explained to me that my brother's girlfriend is a vegetarian. I thought that was mighty nice of my mom to make that dish for her.
My family may not be Puerto Rican but the dish my mom selected is an important part of a Hispanic family's comfort food...rice and beans.
Which brings me to another non-traditional Thanksgiving Day recipe. My friend Sue shared the following article with me:
Thanksgiving With a Lebanese Twist
She knows her way around a Thanksgiving feast, but it might not be quite what you'd expect.
"I talked to people about their Thanksgivings, and they'd say theirs was pretty traditional," Curtin says. "And then they'd start telling me all sorts of different things they serve."RICE AND MEAT STUFFING
Sauerkraut in the Baltimore area, for instance.
"Where you are and where you come from shows up," she says. "There are strong immigrant roots at the table..."
Serves 8 to 10
2 tablespoons canola or corn oil
1 pound ground beef or lamb
2 cups long-grain rice, rinsed and drained
3 cups chicken, beef, lamb broth or water
1-2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ cup coarsely chopped canned chestnuts
¼ cup blanched, peeled almonds
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup shelled pistachios
¼ cup golden raisins
Place 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the ground meat and cook, stirring often until the meat is brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in rice, broth, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, cinnamon, cumin and nutmeg. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring every 10 minutes. Continue to cook rice, covered, until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. During the cooking, add ¼ cup water or more as needed if all water is absorbed before rice is done. Add more salt if necessary.
Place remaining tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir in chestnuts. Then stir in the almonds, pine nuts, and pistachios. Cook and stir for several minutes, until nuts are lightly browned. Stir in raisins and remove from heat. Serve on its own platter, sprinkled with the browned nuts.