November 29, 2013
What began as a customary “thanksgiving” by English colonists for everything from military victories or the end of droughts ended up with a festival being celebrated by the first pilgrims to America, after their first harvest in the “New World” in 1621.
It was and to this day remains a tradition of thanking all those who sacrificed their lives for the well-being of the present.
What started off as a very American festival has now gained worldwide proportions. It has become a festival to reminisce over the family bonds we share. It is the idea of living, eating and praying together.
Thanksgiving has now become firmly entrenched in contemporary, metropolitan India and over the weekend, the festivities are sure to ramp up. The influence of globalisation has seen the festival being celebrated here with much enthusiasm.
Roast duck with onion jus, turkey (or chicken) thanksgiving style, clam chowder, crab cakes, pumpkin pie, butternut squash puree, charred pepper mousseline, shrimp and pumpkin bisque, turkey roulade and countless more mainstays are sure to tempt the senses and send the mouth into a ‘drool-overload’.
The festivities, events and the many restaurant options themed around this celebration are dime a dozen, providing us Indians one more reason to celebrate. After all it is about rejoicing, relationships and food. We all agree that this combination is a classic formula for any Indian holiday.
However, we do recommend that you make thanksgiving more traditional by cooking a meal for your loved ones, sitting around the dining table – talking, laughing and gorging on some sumptuous food. Here are two easy recipes to get you going.
The ubiquitous dish in a traditional Thanksgiving has never been easier to make. It may be hard to find but is worth the effort.
· Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius
· Dry the washed whole turkey with paper towels
· Season inside and out with salt and pepper
· Fill the turkey with herbs, Chopped onions, carrots and apples
· Place on a roasting pan and brush with melted butter
· Cover with foil and roast for 2 hours (for a 4 to 6Kg Turkey)
· Collect the drippings
· Remove the foil and baste with more melted butter
· Increase the oven temperature to 250 degrees Celsius.
· Roast for another hour or until the meat registers 75 degrees Celsius
· Let it rest and start with the gravy
o ¼ cup of turkey fat (from the drippings)
o 1/3rd cup of flour
o 1l of chicken broth
o Black pepper
· In the turkey roasting pan (which has NOT been cleaned) add back the turkey fat, sprinkle in flour and whisk into fat until it has a paste like consistency (if too clumpy add more fat and if too greasy add more flour)
· Whisk and cook over medium heat until a deep golden brown
· Pour in the chicken broth and whisk throughout the process
· Allow to cook and thicken for several minutes until it thickens
· Add a lot of black pepper. Add some leftover turkey meat to the gravy and serve immediately
o 2 cups of pumpkin puree
o 1.5 cups cream or condensed milk
o 1/3rd cup of brown sugar
o 1/3rd cup of white sugar
o 2 eggs + 1 yolk
o 2 tsp. cinnamon
o 1 tsp. ground ginger
o 1/4th tsp. ground nutmeg
o 1/4th tsp. each ground cloves and cardamom
o ½ tsp. lemon zest
§ Whisk 1 1/4th cups of flour and 1/4th tsp. salt together
§ Add ½ cup shortening and cut until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs
§ Drizzle 3 tbsp. of cold water over flour
§ Toss mixture with fork to moisten, add the water a few drops at a time until dough comes together
§ Gather into a ball and chill for 30 minutes in a cling wrap
§ Roll out the dough and put it in a pie plate.
· Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius
· Once dough has chilled, pierce the bottom and sides
· Line the crust with foil
· Evenly fill the foil with dried beans or pie weights
· Reduce temperature to 200 degrees Celsius and bake till edges are golden and the bottom has a translucent look, around 6 to 8 minutes.
· Remove the foil and the beans and return the pie to the oven
· Remove pie shell from oven and seal by basting one beaten egg and 1 tsp. water over it.
· Return crust to oven till egg wash is dry
· Mix sugar, salt, spices and lemon zest in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and add to the bowl.Stir in the pumpkin puree and cream. Whisk well until incorporated
· Increase oven temperature to 220 degrees Celsius
· Pour the mixture into a pie shell and bake
· After 15 minutes reduce to 175 degrees Celsius an d bake for 40 to 50 minutes or untila knife is inserted into the centre and it comes out clean
· Cool for 2 hours
· Serve with whipped cream
So no matter what you do, make sure you enjoy in the spirit of thanksgiving. And even though Thanksgiving day is over, the spirit of the festival is sure to carry on into the weekend. So here’s to a weekend of fun, food and family.
And just so that you know……It takes 263 AA batteries to cook a turkey!
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