For the first time since 1888, two great feasting holidays, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, collide for a delicious mash-up of epic proportions. This year, the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving Day and this won’t happen again for another 70,000 years. Traditionally, food for Hanukkah celebrations focuses on frying, such as potato pancakes (latkes) and doughnuts (sufganiot), to represent the little bit of oil that lasted in the menorah for eight days. Other traditional Jewish foods, like tsimmes, a casserole of root vegetables, and matzoh ball soup, can easily be adapted to fit perfectly into a Thanksgiving menu. So, let’s gather the gourds, spin the dreidel and celebrate Thanksgivukkah.
Town Dish’s Top Recipes for Thanksgivukkah
Let’s Get Started
While waiting for all the guests to arrive for the festive meal, why not start with an hors d’oeuvre that will set the tone for the evening? Latkes topped with applesauce is about as traditional as it gets for Hanukkah. Add that special Thanksgivukkah twist by making sweet potato latkes topped with a dollop of cranberry applesauce.
Of course, you should offer your guests a beverage upon arrival. How about a nice cold He’Brew from Schmaltz Brewing Company? He’Brew has a special Hanukkah gift pack that includes eight different beers, a custom glass, Hanukkah candles and instructions on making your own beer menorah. L’Chaim!
Once everyone is gathered around the Thanksgivukkah table, start the meal the way your Bubbe would, with matzoh ball soup. New England Soup Factory brings us this recipe for sage-scented matzoh ball soup made with turkey and root vegetables.
The Main Event
Let’s talk turkey. Over the years, I’ve always been tempted to try deep frying a turkey. This seems like the perfect opportunity to stick my bird in a vat of sizzling oil. Paula Deen, queen of Southern food, has a pretty straight forward recipe.
It doesn’t matter if you call it stuffing or dressing: I call it delicious. I found this simple recipe that utilizes challah instead of regular bread. How’s that for a Thanksgivukkah miracle?
In my family, my mother always served carrot tsimmes on Rosh Hashana. So, this isn’t really a Hanukkah dish, but it is a way to serve traditional Jewish food at the Thanksgivukkah table by adding in some pumpkin. This tsimmes version also includes brussels sprouts, turnips, parsnips, persimmon and pomegranate, making it a perfect light option to go along with all the rich foods being served.
My all-time favorite Jewish food is sweet noodle kugel. I love the creaminess of the cheese, the sugary sweetness and the crunch of the baked noodles on top. I always serve candied sweet potatoes at my Thanksgiving table, so this sweet potato bourbon kugel seems like the perfect addition to any Thanksgivukkah dinner.
The one dessert at every Thanksgiving table is pumpkin pie and the must-have dessert at a Hanukkah celebration is the doughnuts. Those two rock stars meet head-on in these pumpkin pie sufganiot.
If you won’t have time for frying and filling doughnuts, then go the no-bake route with these easy vegan no-bake sweet potato pie doughnuts.
On Hanukkah, when you play the dreidel game often the prize for winning is chocolate gelt, chocolates wrapped in gold foil that look like coins. A fun way to incorporate gelt into a dessert is this chocolate cranberry cake with gelt glaze.
However you choose to celebrate this combination of holidays, I hope you enjoy your family and friends and all of the unique flavors that Thanksgivukkah brings. Gobble Tov!