A Thanksgiving Turkey – and More
We’ll celebrate our Thanksgiving on the Sunday AFTER Thanksgiving, as we always do. Giulia and Keegan and friends are celebrating in Perugia on THE day – and have pre-dinner games planned on the Thanksgiving theme.
I love their invitation, featuring a most original turkey, ie, our former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi all set to be roasted, with the usual smirk on his face as he heads for the oven.
We’ll have our stuffed de-boned turkey thigh (two of them as there will be over ten of us), expertly seasoned by Pino who will rub the meat inside and out with his mixture of lard, wine, lemon juice, sage, rosemary, garlic, hot red pepper, our olive oil, salt. I might add chestnuts this year to the traditional stuffing. Cranberries will be missing but I’ll do either pumpkin/sausage risotto or pasta with winter squash and sage as a first course – to add an Italian touch. The traditional turnips, creamed onions, cornbread, and Waldorf salad have to join in, too – and of course, pumpkin pie made with a local winter squash.
I think this year, I’ll also add a winter squash recipe I learned from a cook on the island of Ustica (off the Sicilian northern coast):
Zucca Gialla Agliata
(Garliced Orange Squash) – about 8 servings
(recipe thanks to Signora Giovanna, Ristorante da Umberto, Ustica – province of Palermo)
Use enough orange squash (I often use butternut) to slice into about 24 slices, approximately 4- 5″ wide and approximately 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick (note: as is typical of any good cook, Giovanna has never used a recipe so her instructions to me were very “approximate” – do experiment, therefore!)
Heat olive oil* – add garlic clove or two and lightly fry til golden. Remove garlic cloves from oil.
Raise heat to “sizzling”. Be sure that there is at least 1/2 in. olive oil in the pan and that oil is “spitting”, though not smoking. Flip over, browning squash slices on both sides. Remove from heat and drain. Prepare agrodolce (“sweet/sour”) mixture: mix about 1 c. wine vinegar with 1 tsp sugar. (Giovanna points out that sugar/vinegar proportions will depend on personal taste.)
Leave just a bit of olive oil and return squash to pan. Add shredded carrot, shredded garden fennel and wild fennel seeds (if not available, use dill), salt and pepper as desired. Pour agrodolce mixture over all and simmer uncovered until liquid evaporates. Then serve.
*Hint: when frying, use part sunflower seed oil to reduce smoking tendency of olive oil.
Buon appetito e Felice Ringraziamento!
Click here to read about November Umbrian culinary traditions
Click here for a recipe for a sauce for turkey
Click here to read about chestnuts in Umbrian rural lore
Click here for more recipes
Click here to read more about Ustica
Click here for more on anAssisi Thanksgiving (with recipe!)
Click here for a tasty squash antipasto recipe