Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Moroccan Thanksgiving

I'm really struggling about what I'm going to serve for Thanksgiving this year.  Do I go with a traditional menu, or something a bit more interesting like Moroccan.  I have about five more posts to do using traditional recipes and then I'm going to make my decision.  But both my husband and I are leaning towards Moroccan and we think our dinner guests will like it too!

There are a lot of different components to this dish.  It's basically your entire meal served on one plate--very much like a traditional Thanksgiving.  If I do serve this dish as our main course, I will start the meal with a salad of roasted chioggia beets, shaved fennel, baby greens, marcona almonds, candied orange peel and a toasted fennel-blood orange vinaigrette.  And for dessert I'll serve a spiced pumpkin cake with a cardamon-orange syrup and candied oranges (which I'll post this week)...Yes, the more I think about it, the more I'm leaning towards Moroccan!
 

Saffron-Tomato Broth:

1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 stalk celery, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 14oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp saffron threads
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Method:
  • Crumble saffron threads in cold vegetable stock and let sit for about 10 minutes to bloom.
  • In a large dutch oven or stock pot, cook onion and celery in olive oil on medium heat until soft.
  • Add garlic, red pepper, thyme, bay leaf, tomatoes, and saffron vegetable stock and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil.  
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about one hour until broth has reduced by half and is flavorful.
  • Strain broth, keep warm and set aside.
Tomato-Pistachio Chutney:

1 lb pearl or cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup raw pistachios, toasted
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tbsp minced mint
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground paprika
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Method:
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Toss tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for about 20 minutes until charred, tossing half way through the cooking process.
  • Remove from oven and let cool.
  • Once tomatoes are cool, remove skins and roughly chop.
  • Place tomatoes in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
  • Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use, return to room temperature before using.
Lemon Scented Lentils:

1 1/2 cups French green lentils
4 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp ground sumac
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Method:
  • Add lentils, bay leaf and vegetable stock to a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 17-20 minutes until lentils are soft but still retain their shape.
  • Drain lentils well and then return to sauce pan.  Add olive oil, lemon juice, ground sumac and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well, cover lentils and set aside.  
Couscous:

2 cups whole wheat couscous
2 1/2 cups filtered water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup golden raisins
1 tbsp minced preserved lemon (optional)

Method
:

  • Place couscous in a medium sized bowl.
  • Add olive oil and salt and using your fingers, rub the olive oil through the couscous grains.
  • Bring water to a boil and pour over couscous--just enough water so that it covers the couscous by about a 1/4".
  • Cover bowl with a plate and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Remove plate and fluff couscous with a fork and fold in raisins and preserved lemon peel. 
Roasted Acorn Squash:

1 acorn squash, cut into about 8-10 wedges depending on size
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp extra virgin olive
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Method:
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Toss squash with cinnamon, maple syrup, olive oil and salt and pepper and roast for about 10 minutes until soft and caramelized, turning half way through the cooking process.
  • Remove from oven and keep warm until ready to use.
Sauteed Spinach:

1-2 lbs organic baby spinach, washed, dried
1 tbsp minced garlic
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Method
:

  • Heat a large saute pan on medium-low, add olive oil, garlic and saute until just starting to bubble.
  • Immediately add spinach and salt and pepper and saute until just wilted.
  • Keep warm and set aside.
Mint Yogurt Sauce:

1/2 cup vegan sour cream or cashew cream
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp ground sumac
2 tbsp minced fresh mint
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Method
:

  • I made a cashew cream from scratch (1/2 cup cashews, 3/4 cup filtered water, blended until smooth).  But you can purchase your favorite vegan sour cream (I like Follow Your Heart).
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl and chill until ready to use.
Assembly:
(Serves 4)
  • Place couscous on the plate, followed by lentils, spinach, chutney, squash yogurt sauce and then ladle over saffron broth.
  • Garnish with additional mint and preserved lemons.













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