I truly disliked Thanksgiving as a kid–all the agony of Christmas but without the presents. Now that I’m grown up it’s a bit different, though I still am baffled by the power this holiday has over people. My perfect Thanksgiving would be watching two of the greatest movies ever about importance of family, The Godfather I and II. Back to back.
However, many of my friends share a different sentiment. They hold a weird sentimentality towards a holiday whose menu gets repeated about a month later for Christmas dinner. Since I love my friends and I love a party, we do potluck for 30 at my house. There’s a chance with potluck Thanksgiving you’ll end up with a table groaning under pies and wine, not that I’d really mind, but Thanksgiving purists who are invited ensure the presence of green bean casserole (this year a gourmet version made by a sci-fi writer), yams and mashed potatoes. The vegetarians bring something they can eat; it’s called celebration loaf. Two smoked turkeys arrived courtesy of a close friend and her husband; the birds can be served at room temp, thus freeing up my oven for other things. There’s wild boar ham from yet another guest who is anything but a wild bore. I’ve made two batches of braised Brussels sprouts, one vegan, one loaded with bacon (see recipe below), and I’m making a vegetarian dressing, two pans. Oh and cranberry sauce. I did that from scratch.
Since Thanksgiving coincides with Hanukkah this year, I also have a 12lb brisket in the oven, and latkes will be made. Hanukkah is a festival for giving thanks, it’s kinda cool they fall together this year. The ham-bringer is also bringing the menorah (he’s very progressive), plus we have bags of gelt. Appetizers will arrive. Something with kale is coming, along with herbed greens beans, roasted root veggies, grains, homemade gravies (vegan and not), corn casserole, salads and pie. Lots of pie. Homemade pie. Store-bought pie. Pumpkin, berry, pecan, apple.
Whether you celebrate Thanksgivukkah with family, friends or alone with the Corleone family, have lovely one.
Vegan Braised Brussels Sprouts:
Wash B sprouts and cut in half.
Chop and onion and garlic (I used 6 cloves, you may decide differently) and sauté them in olive oil with some fresh thyme (optional). If you want to add salt and pepper, now is the time.
When the aromatics begin to release their scent and are starting to sizzle, throw in B sprouts and let them sit for a couple minutes until they start to brown and then turn bright green. Flip them, then cook a little more. Add sliced mushrooms and toss contents of pan again, and pour in some vegetable broth. When it starts to boil, cover the pan and turn down the heat and wait a couple minutes.
Uncover pan, see if mushrooms are steamed through. If so, remove from heat; if not, re-cover and return to low heat.
For the baconed version, cook bacon, crumble it, and use about 2 or 3 tbs of the bacon fat for cooking B sprouts. Add liquid of choice once the veggies are sorta browned, then cover and cook until bright green. Take off heat then add the crumbled bacon.