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The Day After the Big Day

November 18, 2010 By:
Linda Morel, JE Feature
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I love the night after Thanksgiving. It's the perfect time to host a late fall Shabbat dinner for friends and relatives who spent the holiday with other people.
 
Making the most of this opportunity, my niece's in-laws routinely celebrate Thanksgiving a day late, because they know all four of their married children will be able to join them the next night. It's both altruistic and Machiavellian at the same time.
 
By Friday night, everyone is still stuffed with turkey, so I select a seasonal menu that intersects with traditional Thanksgiving fare, yet strives for a personality of its own.
 
So, duck can replace the turkey. A ginger-peach sauce is assertive enough to tame the richness of the game bird. Serving a cornucopia of seasonal food, I prepare wild rice with mushrooms, whipped root vegetables and a nice green vegetable, such as Brussels sprouts. This menu also coordinates nicely if I have Thanksgiving leftovers on hand.
 
Since an outrageous amount of sweets and starches are consumed on Thanksgiving Day, I drop the marshmallows and candied yams, the sugary cranberries, stuffing and mashed potatoes in favor of healthier options.
 
People always seem to enjoy taking part in this end-of-season Shabbat, which keeps the fall holiday vibe going just a little longer. Before the meal begins, we recite blessings over two tall candles, a kiddush cup filled with a good Pinot Noir and a loaf of braided challah. With the candles twinkling on the table, the atmosphere is festive and light, capped off by some pumpkin cake and good old-fashioned pecan pie.
 
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
(Pareve)
nonstick vegetable spray
1 package (10 oz.) fresh Brussels sprouts (about 15 good-sized)
2 Tbsps. olive oil, or more, if needed
kosher salt to taste
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
 
Preheat oven to 400°.
Coat a small roasting pan with nonstick vegetable spray.
In a colander, rinse the brussels sprouts under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.
Cut off stubs and coarse outer leaves and discard.
Place the brussels sprouts in a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle olive oil over them and roll them around to coat all sides evenly.
Sprinkle sprouts with kosher salt and garlic powder; mix again.
Place the sprouts in the prepared pan and place inside oven.
Turn sprouts every few minutes, adding more olive oil if they become dry. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they brown and turn crisp.
Serves 4.
 
Mushroom Wild Rice
(Pareve)
1/2 lb. mushrooms (8 oz. package), preferably pre-sliced for convenience
2 Tbsps. olive oil, or more, if needed
1/4 tsp. kosher salt, or more, if needed
1/8 tsp. ground sage, oregano, thyme or rosemary (optional)
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
11/2 cups water, plus 21/4 cups water
1 cup uncooked white rice
 
In a colander, rinse the mushrooms under cold water and dry on paper towels. Cut into slices, if they weren't pre-sliced beforehand.
Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pot on a medium flame. Sauté the mushrooms in oil until they begin to brown. Add kosher salt, and one or two of the optional spices, if desired. Stir to combine.
To the mushrooms, add the wild rice and 11/2 cups water. Stir to combine.
Cover the pot and cook the rice on a medium-low flame for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
To the pot, add the white rice and 21/4 cups water. Stir to combine and cover the pot.
When contents return to a simmer, cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more salt, if needed.
Remove the pot from the flame, and let rice rest for 5 minutes.
Bring to a simmer again and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.
Fluff with a fork.
Serves 4 to 6.
 
Whipped Carrots and Parsnips
(Pareve or Dairy)
8 parsnips
8 carrots
1 yam or sweet potato
nonstick vegetable spray
2 Tbsps. margarine (preferably nonhydrogenated) or butter
kosher salt to taste
 
Peel the parsnips, carrots and yam.
Cut the parsnips and carrots into lengths the size and shape of carrot sticks. Cut the yam into 1-inch chunks.
Place all of the vegetables into a large pot. Pour water over them an inch above the level of the vegetables.
Cover the pot and boil until the vegetables feel soft when pierced with a utensil-sized fork, about 15 to 20 minutes.
During the boiling, coat a 6-cup soufflé dish or deep casserole with nonstick spray.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Using pot mitts, carefully drain the contents of the pot into a colander.
In two batches, place the vegetables into a food processor fitted with a serrated metal blade. Add 1 tablespoon of margarine or butter to each batch, and then sprinkle in salt to taste. Process until vegetables are thoroughly whipped. Check to see if more salt is needed, adding some, if desired.
Spoon the whipped vegetables into the prepared casserole.
(Note: This recipe can be prepared up to this point, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated for 3 days before baking. Bring to room temperature before baking.)
Place casserole in the oven and bake until the edges bubble, about 20 minutes.
Serves 4 to 6.
 
Roasted Duck
(Meat)
nonstick vegetable spray
1 duck, 41/2 to 5 lbs.
1/4 cup dry white wine
kosher salt to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. paprika
Ginger-Peach Sauce (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350°.
 
Coat roasting pan and rack with nonstick spray.
Rinse the duck under cold water, running water through the chest and back cavities. Pat dry with paper towels.
Using a knife with a sharp point, pierce the skin with the knife point and score it 5 times on top and another 5 times on the bottom side.
Pour the wine over the duck's top and bottom surfaces, and inside the chest cavity
Sprinkle salt, garlic powder, and paprika on the top and bottom surfaces, and inside the chest cavity.
Set the duck on the rack and roast in the oven.
Using 2 fork utensils, turn the duck over after 30 minutes. Continue turning every 30 minutes. As the fat liquifies and accumulates in the pan, remove it by carefully filling the baster and draining the duck fat into a heat-proof container or an empty coffee can. When the fat cools, discard it.
While the duck roasts, prepare the Ginger-Peach Sauce.
During the last 5 minutes of roasting, remove the duck from the oven and spoon some of the sauce over the duck. Return the duck to the oven.
Continue roasting until the skin is very crisp and the juices run clear, not pink, when a knife is inserted into the leg joint. Roasting time should be between 2 and 21/2 hours.
Serves 4.
 
Ginger-Peach Sauce
(Pareve)
1 can (15 oz.) sliced peaches in lite syrup
1 piece (11/2 inches) fresh ginger root
 
Place a fine sieve over a large bowl. Pour the contents of the can into the sieve, syrup and all.
With a mallet or the back of a spoon, mash the peach slices through the sieve, until only a mushy clump remains in the sieve. Pour that clump into the bowl. Transfer contents to a medium-sized saucepan.
Scrape the peel from the ginger. Dice the ginger fine, then chop the pieces with a sharp chef's knife until minced. Measure the ginger to a rounded teaspoon and use the remains, if any, for other purposes. Add ginger to the peach mixture.
Bring to a fast simmer over a medium flame until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly, about 15 minutes.
Spoon some of the sauce over the duck during the last 5 minutes of roasting. Serve the rest of it in a gravy boat as an accompaniment to the duck.
 
Linda Morel is a writer based in New York City. E-mail her at: lindam212@aol.com.your story

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