Sunday, November 13, 2011
A bed of mirepoix (onion, celery, carrot) and other goodies such as parsley, garlic, and dried porcini mushrooms. This is the flavorful base upon which Mr. Turkey will be braised in wine and stock... an alternative to the usual roasted bird.
It’s become a sort of tradition among our circle of friends: Most Friday nights, we will get together for dinner. Some weeks, when everyone feels like taking it easy, it will be at an uncomplicated local eatery like Panera. Other times, it will be at someone’s home, with each couple bringing a Foodly Contribution assigned by the hosts. Since many of us are Red Sea Pedestrians, we use the occasion to welcome the sabbath in more-or-less traditional manner, with the appropriate blessings over wine and bread.
This past Friday, the rotation came to Chez Elisson... which suited us just fine, because we had something special in mind.
We wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving early.
See, we plan to spend Thanksgiving - the real one - with Elder Daughter and the Mistress of Sarcasm up in the Northeast. But that means that our usual practice of having a small army of our friends over for turkey ’n’ trimmings would go by the wayside. That, we reasoned, would never do.
She Who Must Be Obeyed, ever clever, came up with the idea of having an early Thanksgiving-cum-Shabbat dinner. Instead of the traditional dishes, several of which we have been serving every year for over a quarter-century, I suggested trying new versions of the basic Thanksgiving food groups.
Instead of oven-roasted acorn squash, we would kick things off with steaming bowls of butternut squash soup, jacked up with a goodly dose of curry and garam masala.
Instead of a roasted turkey, we would have a turkey braised in stock and white wine.
Instead of plain old cranberry sauce, we would have cranberry chutney with ginger.
Instead of Gary’s sweet potato pudding, we would have a sweet potato and Yukon Gold hash.
Sweet potato and Yukon Gold hash. Downright tasty, it was.
I’m here to tell you, it all turned out rather nicely. SWMBO, who can be quite persnickety in matters having to do with Thanksgiving turkeys, was extremely pleased with the braised bird... and the freshly home-baked loaf of challah that kicked off the meal, as well as the homemade French vanilla ice cream (accompanied by brandied figs) that was but one among several desserts didn’t hurt a bit.
The best thing? Enjoying a good meal with good friends. If that isn’t something to be thankful for, what is?