A Greek Thanksgiving
The Norway Maple tree in front of my house is fast dropping its thick blanket of leaves all over the lawn, and the chill in the air has me rooting around for my woolly sweater. Wouldn’t it be nice if those sultry summer days could last till December? I can dream, I suppose. With two food-centred holidays in it, October is actually a fabulous month. Oh sure, Hallowe’en has its charms. But, Thanksgiving truly warms my heart.
Roast turkey, fruit and nut studded stuffing, herb scented veggies — I’m craving those flavours as I write! Last year, I let the turkey soak overnight in a brine of salt and herbs before roasting it in the oven the next morning. No more bland meat for me. The brine works its way all through the bird flavouring every bit of it. I will most certainly go that route again this year. One word of caution: the juices that the turkey releases will be considerably more seasoned than usual. Here’s how I set that problem right. First, I added a few thinly sliced potatoes, and simmered it until they had absorbed enough of the extra salt. Then, I made a roux (equal parts unsalted butter or olive oil and white flour), and stirred it until the mixture was thick and brown. Then I poured the turkey juices into it and stirred it again until it all came together. Totally mouthwatering.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to add a few soon-to-be favourites to the menu, don’t you think? This year, I’m going Greek. Sandy beaches, palm trees, the clear, blue waters of the Aegean and Ionian Seas … this is the way to forget about the impending cold. I won’t be hopping on a trans-Atlantic flight, though. I’ll be peeling and slicing at my own kitchen counter the morning of the big day preparing a dish that many of us who can’t claim Greek heritage probably have little opportunity to savour.
Skordalia is a classic Greek delicacy, and like so many culinary treasures, each family has its own interpretation. Effy Ligris, owner of Kalikori Olive Oil in Montreal, declares this recipe to be a family favourite, especially when paired with Retsina. Effy insists that the natural earthy flavour of Retsina enhances the already awesome flavour of the food. Don’t be afraid of the amount of garlic going into it; the finished dish will be silky smooth, and full of wonderful rounded flavour. The vinegar gives it just the right hit of tang.
Thanksgiving comes with lots of opportunities to eat. This year, add this gem to your menu.