Thanksgivukkah is a chance to merge Thanksgiving staples with traditional Hanukkah foods. We asked Michael Friedman, chef and co-owner of The Red Hen, a trendy new restaurant in D.C.’s Bloomingdale neighborhood, to dream up dishes for the hybrid holiday. His ideas: Ditch the turkey for melt-in-your-mouth short ribs, and whip up latkes using squash.
Braised Short Ribs ‘Brisket Style’
“My mother makes the best brisket during Hanukkah,” Friedman says. “Only recently did I coerce her into telling me her secret — beer and chili sauce. Anyway, I take the same technique my mother uses for her famous brisket and apply it to short ribs for a hearty Thanksgiving centerpiece, alongside parsnip mash and a good shaving of horseradish over the top.”3 pounds boneless short ribs
- Canola oil, for sauteing
- Kosher salt + ground black pepper
- 3 yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and
- sliced into thin rounds
- 3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 bottles of good lager beer
- 2 bottles of Heinz chili sauce
- 2 cups beef or chicken stock (or a
- combination of both)
Dry the short ribs well with a towel. Bring a saute pan to medium heat and add the canola oil. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, and sear on all sides in the pan. If the oil gets too dark, simply remove the oil and clean the pan. Reheat the oil and continue searing all the short ribs. Place on a plate and reserve.
Preheat your oven to 325 F. In a large Dutch oven, heat canola oil over medium-high heat until it’s smoking. Add the onions carefully, and caramelize, 4-5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaves and saute 10 minutes. Add the beer, chili sauce and stock. Heat until the liquid comes to a simmer.
Add the short ribs to the Dutch oven and cover with the lid. Place in the oven and let cook for
2-3 hours, until the short ribs are spoon-tender. Remove the short ribs and the bay leaves. Puree the sauce with an immersion blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Place the short ribs back in the sauce.
Serve on a large platter with shaved horseradish and parsnip mash.
Butternut Squash Latkes
“The latke mixture can be made up to an hour before frying, but be careful: The grated potatoes will begin to turn a darker color if left raw for too long,” Friedman says. “Serve the warm latkes with sour cream and apple sauce, just like my mom does.”
- 2 cups russet potatoes, grated
- 4 cups butternut squash, grated
- 1 small onion, grated
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup matzo meal (or flour if you don’t
- have matzo meal)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 tablespoons dill (use sage instead “if
- you really want to go the Turkey Day route,” Friedman says)
- Vegetable oil, for frying
Place the grated potatoes, squash and onion in a bowl. Mix in the eggs, matzo meal (or flour), salt, pepper, baking powder and dill. Let sit 10 minutes to thicken.
While the mixture is resting, fill a pan with ½ inch of vegetable oil. Heat until mixture is hot but not smoking. (A good test is dropping a bit of latke batter in the pan — if it sizzles, it’s ready.)
With a tablespoon, carefully scoop the latke batter into the oil. Fry for one minute on each side and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Let cool for 2-3 minutes and serve immediately with sour cream and apple sauce.
Thanksgivukkah’s convergence of cuisines pretty much guarantees that no one wine will do. That’s OK, says Brian Zipin, general manager of D.C.’s DGS Delicatessen, who recommends setting out several wine glasses per guest to encourage experimentation. Many of the suggestions below are available from kosher wineries. Kelly Magyarics (for Express)
Appetizers & Sides: Champagne
Try uncorking a French sparkler at your celebration, says Michael Scaffidi, wine director for Plume and Quill at The Jefferson Hotel. “The bubbles in Champagne can entice your appetite.” Champagne is perfect for foods like fried latkes (or fried turkey) and rich sides like candied sweet potatoes and kugel. Looking to toast with a crowd? Choose a wallet-friendly bubbly like Cava or Cremant de Bourgogne.
Appetizers & Sides: Rose
If white’s not right and red’s too bold for a dish, think pink. Rosé is versatile: It can take you from salmon starter to turkey dinner, says Brent Kroll, wine director for Neighborhood Restaurant Group. “In tart examples, it will make something like cranberries seem less tart and acidic.” (He suggests bottles from cool climates like France’s Loire Valley.) Its tinge of strawberry and lemon pair with salad, too.
Main Course: Cru Beaujolais
The third week of November signals the release of Beaujolais Nouveau, France’s light, fruity red wine made with Gamay grapes from this fall’s harvest. Kroll eschews the hype (and the super-young bottles) in favor of Beaujolais Nouveau’s more complex counterpart. “This is the time to drink Cru Beaujolais,” he says. “It isn’t very tannic and can be drunk on its own.” It can also stand up next to whatever platter is the centerpiece of your holiday table — poultry, beef or seafood.
Dessert: Malmsey Madeira
Don’t forget about serving wine with dessert, says Zipin, who suggests the balanced acidity and flavors of toffee, raisins and nuts of a cocoa-hued Malmsey Madeira, which will go nicely with everything from Thanksgiving’s pumpkin pie to Hanukkah’s chocolate-filled sufganiyot. Lightly chill it, and serve it in small pours, he advises, and “it will make a memorable finish to a great meal.”