Saturday, November 13, 2010

Compliments To The Chef....

Celebrating Thanksgiving - which is, essentially, America's "national holiday" (apologies to the Independence Day enthusiasts) - in Israel is actually really awesome. I won't exhaust your attention spans by compiling a comprehensive list of all of the things I'm thankful for... but you get the idea.

Preparing a 'traditional' Thanksgiving feast outside of the States can prove a little tricky, though. But I sort of feel that we Americans abroad have an opportunity to somehow keep it [more] real at this time of year. Scouring the Arab meat market (note the a) for a turkey you have to clean and prep yourself; hoarding green beans, mushroom soup and french's fried onions for months [don't sleep on my green bean casserole, friends. It's the bizz.]; downloading Marilyn Monroe's stuffing recipe....

Wait. What?

They tweaked it a little, but here it is, adapted from "Fragments" - a collection of letters, poems, and recipes from Lady Monroe herself:

Time: 2 hours

No garlic

A 10-ounce loaf sourdough bread

1/2 pound chicken or turkey livers or hearts

1/2 pound ground round or other beef

1 tablespoon cooking oil

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

2 cups chopped curly parsley

2 eggs, hard boiled, chopped

1 1/2 cups raisins

1 cup grated Parmesan

1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts, pine nuts or roasted chestnuts, or a combination

2 teaspoons dried crushed rosemary

2 teaspoons dried crushed oregano

2 teaspoons dried crushed thyme

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon salt-free, garlic-free poultry seasoning (or 1 teaspoon dried sage, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)

1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon pepper.

1. Split the bread loaf in half and soak it in a large bowl of cold water for 15 minutes. Wring out excess water over a colander and shred into pieces.

2. Boil the livers or hearts for 8 minutes in salted water, then chop until no piece is larger than a coffee bean.

3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef in the oil, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat, so no piece is larger than a pistachio.

4. In your largest mixing bowl, combine the sourdough, livers, ground beef, celery, onion, parsley, eggs, raisins, Parmesan and nuts, tossing gently with your hands to combine. Whisk the rosemary, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper together in a bowl, scatter over the stuffing and toss again with your hands. Taste and adjust for salt. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use as a stuffing or to bake separately as dressing.

Yield: 20 cups, enough for one large turkey, 2 to 3 geese or 8 chickens.


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