What to cook for an inspired Thanksgiving

The Jerusalem post shares favorite recipes from leaders in the Middle Eastern food scene.

When Middle East cuisine meets American tradition.

Stuffed Pumpkin (serves 6-8)
By Avi Steinitz, culinary manager at Dan Gourmet
“This recipe is a take off of a traditional Thanksgiving dish using some of the first winter vegetables in the market here in Israel.”

1 kg. pumpkin
2 cups freekeh
1.5 white onion chopped
A bunch of mint, parsley, and cilantro
3 green onions
3-4 celery stalks
A handful of roasted hazelnuts
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 squeezed lemon
4 Tsp. date honey

Heat the oven to 190°C. Place the pumpkin on a flat baking rack and brush with olive oil and roast for an hour or until soft. Wash the freekeh and strain. Heat olive oil in a pot and glaze the onion; add the freekeh and salt. Keep heating for a few minutes before adding water and stirring. Cover the pot and lower the heat to minimum heat for 8-10 minutes. Chill. Chop all the greens. Place the cooked freekeh in a ball, add all other ingredients and season to taste.

Sumac Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Casserole (serves 4-6)
By Natalie Seeff, owner of Natflat Supperclub in Tel Aviv
“One thing I love about Tel Aviv is going to the shuk and being met by an array and abundance of local spices and delicacies to incorporate into my culinary creations.”

1.5 kg. sweet potatoes
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. sumac spice
1 Tbsp. salt
280 g. Dandies vegan vanilla marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Peel and chop sweet potatoes and boil until soft. Mix all ingredients except for marshmallows with the sweet potatoes and mash to a smooth puree. Spoon mash halfway into ceramic ramekins and cover with marshmallows. Bake 15 minutes.

Baharat Whole Roasted Chicken (serves 4)
By Eden Grinshpan with Rachel Holtzman, authors of Eating Out Loud
“This is a great substitute for a Thanksgiving turkey. Baharat is Arabic for ‘spice’ and it’s basically an all-purpose spice blend with savory notes like cumin, clove and coriander. Serving it with jammy-roasted shallots, creamy garlic and caramelized sweet potatoes adds so much richness to the chicken, and the preserved lemon you finish it with really breaks up that richness and adds a pop of bright citrus flavor.”

1.5-3 kg. chicken
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
1½ Tbsp. baharat spice blend
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean, cut lengthwise into 2.5cm wedges
6 shallots, halved lengthwise
1 head of garlic separated into cloves, unpeeled
1 preserved lemon rind, store-bought rinsed and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Slide your fingers beneath the skin of the chicken to gently separate it from the meat. Pour ¼ cup of the olive oil over the chicken, rubbing it under the skin and all over the outside of the bird. Season with the baharat, salt, and pepper. In a roasting pan, toss the sweet potatoes, shallots, and garlic with another ¼ cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Set the chicken breast-side up on top of the vegetables.

Roast about an hour. Carefully remove the chicken from the pan and tent it with foil. Return the pan with the vegetables to the oven and roast for another five minutes. Peel the garlic and discard the skins. Return the roasted cloves to the pan. In a small bowl, mix together the chopped lemon rind and the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil. Serve the chicken surrounded with the roasted vegetables and drizzled with the preserved lemon oil.

Harissa Turkey Breast Roast (serves 4)
By Jamie Geller, founder of Kosher Media Network
“Turkey breast is one of the leanest sources of high-quality protein. You can eat it hot from the oven on Thanksgiving and then cold the next day. You can even slice it up deli-style and freeze it for future quick lunches.”

½ cup pomegranate molasses**
2 Tbsp. harissa
1 large skinless, boneless turkey breast
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix pomegranate molasses with harissa in a bowl. Season the turkey breast with salt and pepper. Coat with pomegranate harissa mixture on all sides, best to do this with your hands. Roll the turkey breast and wrap with butcher twine so that it will cook more evenly. Place on a sheet pan and into the oven for about an hour. Remove the turkey breast from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes.

** To make pomegranate molasses, simply simmer two cups pomegranate juice with ¼ cup honey over medium heat until it is reduced to a syrupy consistency.

Pumpkin Stew With Carrots and Raisins (serves 4-6)
By Orly Ziv, author of Cook in Israel
“This is one of those dishes that I prepared for a cooking class and it was such a big hit that I’ve kept it in my rotation. It’s sweet and savory with a distinct flavor that’s perfect for Thanksgiving in Israel.”

300 g. pumpkin diced
2-3 carrots sliced
2 onions sliced
150 g. white raisins
1 cup chickpeas cooked
1-2 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
Vegetable oil
Salt to balance the taste

Cut the pumpkin and the carrots and cook separately in water until soft. Sauté the onions in vegetable oil until golden. Combine the pumpkin, carrot, raisins, chickpeas, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and little water and cook together 10-15 minutes. Season with salt.

Lemon Sumac Green Beans (serves 4-6)
By Jamie Geller
“We use Middle Eastern flavors and spices to enhance Thanksgiving foods. Green beans are so much more vibrant when paired with tangy sumac and lemon. Skip the whole boiling water routine and just sauté the beans in extra virgin olive oil with a sprinkling of garlic.”

½ lemon, thinly sliced and then slices cut into quarters
Extra virgin olive oil
½ kg. trimmed green beans
3 minced garlic cloves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Zest and juice from ½ lemon
3 tsp. sumac
3 tsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat a large sauté pan, lightly coated with oil over medium-high heat. Sear lemon slices for just a minute until they begin to brown.

Add green beans, garlic, salt, and pepper and sauté until beans begin to cook through. Add zest, juice, sumac, and parsley. Continue cooking for another five minutes. Transfer beans to platter and garnish with sumac.

Inside-Out Apple Crumble (serves 6)
By Danielle Renov, author of Peas Love and Carrots and the host of online Jewish-themed cooking demos via the 92Y
“I love this recipe for Thanksgiving since I can find all the ingredients at Israeli markets and it’s easy to put together. It’s also light and comforting.”

6 apples, washed and cored
¾ cup brown sugar, divided
1 Tbsp. bourbon
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
¾ cup quick-cooking oats
½ cup flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 180°C. Coat baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar into the pan. Drizzle vanilla and bourbon over the sugar. Add cored apples. In a bowl combine remaining ingredients, mixing until well blended into a crumble.

Stuff about two tablespoons of granola into the cavity of each apple. Sprinkle any remaining mixture into the nooks and crannies between the apples. Liberally coat a large piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray; cover the baking dish tightly. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil; bake 10 minutes. Serve hot.


Here’s an extra fun recipe and how-to from Serious Eats:

Latke-Crusted Turkey Stuffing Fritters With Liquid Cranberry Core and Schmaltz Gravy Recipe

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