Thanksgiving has always been one of those holidays that makes me want to get in the kitchen and cook up a storm. The question was always, though, what to cook?
On the one hand, there is the traditional American menu with the turkey, mashed potatoes, string bean casserole, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, etc, which is the unbeatable menu for this holiday, especially during the years when we did not live in America.
On the other hand, I’m not crazy about the whole turkey idea. No matter how you treat it, before and during cooking, it doesn’t taste good enough, and every year I’m disappointed all over again. There were times when instead of cooking the turkey in one piece, I cut it into pieces and made different dishes out of the different parts. It did taste better, I must say, but we were missing the sight of the whole bird sitting on the table.
With time, my husband Doron and I picked up recipes that we liked. We ended up composing our own Thanksgiving meals, with the idea of using the ingredients commonly used in the original menu, but cooked differently. Since both Doron and I like to innovate and discover new recipes, no Thanksgiving meal in our house is similar to its predecessors.
This year, though, we are invited to our friend’s house, and I’m only in charge of dessert. I plan on baking a mixed nut tart, a recipe I have from a book by one of my favorite bakers, Karin Goren. Expect a post on that in the next few days.
In the meantime, here is a recipe that I love, that I think would make a great Thanksgiving first course.
2 oz (50g) butter
3 tbs canola oil
1 large onion finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, sliced
3 lb (1.5kg) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
2 tbs fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp lemon zest
salt and black pepper to taste
6 cups chicken stock or water
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup cilantro chopped for decoration
In a large pot, melt the butter with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, lemon zest, ginger, salt and pepper, and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chicken stock, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Cook over low heat for 45 minutes.
Add the cream and the coconut milk. Using a hand blender or a food processor, blend the soup until smooth. Heat the soup until it almost comes to a boil, then turn off the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
When serving, mount some fried onions in the middle of the bowl , swirl a bit with some coconut milk around, and drip some sweet chili sauce on top. Garnish with some parsley.