What to do with your Thanksgivukkah leftovers

It came and it went. The once-every-70,000-year holiday has had its day in the social media sun, and hopefully shone a little light on your holiday dinner table as well. You'd think it's over, but as any MacGyver-inspired culinary aficionado knows, the Thanksgivukkah joy has only just begun.

Yep, we're talking leftovers, and thanks to a fridge full of turkey, potatoes, and pie, Thanksgivukkah's real gift to you lands in December. The fun is only enhanced by a cultural directive to embrace oil and keep the intellectual discussion alive.

"When you look at the essence of both Thanksgiving and Chanukah, they align beautifully," says Jewish Community Center of San Francisco's Rabbi Batshir Torchio. "Chanukah is about bringing light into homes during the darkest time of the year, which is really the perfect expression of hope and gratitude." Turns out Thanksgiving, pilgrims aside, was created for the exact same reason.

The holiday was declared in October, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Day proclamation draws attention to "the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies," even in the midst of "a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity."  The Civil War saw three Thanksgiving Days before the 13th amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery in December of 1865. 

As you indulge in the rare merge of Thanksgiving leftovers and Chanukah remembrance, consider the Maccabees, the Abolitionists, and the importance of embracing hope and gratitude during moments in history when circumstances have been grim and freedom just out of reach. 

Sure, maybe you didn't use Thanksgivukkah as an opportunity to purchase a fry daddy big enough for your 16 pound bird, but there are still lots of Nice Jewish Things you can do with your Thanksgiving leftovers to keep the flavor-and the conversation-going just a little longer.


Josie 5

Sufganiyot with Cranberry and Brie

Yield 8

1 package refrigerated biscuits
(1.2 oz biscuits, NOT the big biscuits, sometimes known as "Grands")

1/4 cup leftover cranberry sauce

8 1-inch square piece of brie (about 1 1/2 oz total)

Vegetable oil for frying

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. 


Separate refrigerated biscuits in half along the mid-layer so each biscuit is now two, thinner, equal sized rounds. Arrange 8 of the thin rounds on the parchment. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon cranberry sauce in center of each round. Top with a piece of brie. Top with remaining rounds. Pinch edges together to seal tightly. Each sufganiyot (jelly donut) should look sort of like a flying saucer (but with thick outer edges).

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, heat 1 inch oil to 375°F. Fry sufganiyot, 30-60 seconds per side until golden brown. Transfer golden brown sufganiyot back to cookie sheet. Bake 5 minutes in preheated 400-degree oven.

Mix sugar and cinnamon together on a large plate. Flip hot sufganiyot, fresh out of the oven, in cinnamon sugar to coat and serve.

 Josie 1

Turkey Shawarma with Lemon Tahini

Serves 4-6

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, cut in 1/4-inch-thick slices

3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. Hungarian paprika

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided

plenty of fresh black pepper

3 cups leftover turkey, shredded

3/4 cup tahini

1/3 cup meyer lemon juice

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped

3-4 pita rounds, warmed, split in half, and opened

2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced


Heat a large skillet. Add olive oil. When hot but not smoking, sauté onions 1 minute. Add garlic, coriander, paprika, turmeric, cumin, 1 tsp. of the salt (reserve remaining ½ tsp. salt for tahini), and plenty of fresh black pepper. Sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add turkey and sauté, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes over medium-low heat until hot. Transfer to large bowl. Cover to keep warm.

In a separate bowl, whisk tahini, lemon juice, water, and remaining ½ tsp. salt. Add more water as needed to thin to a warm caramel type thickness. Stir in parsley.

Spoon turkey shawarma into warm pita rounds, and snuggle the sliced cucumbers alongside. Drizzle lemon tahini sauce into pita. Serve.

 Josie 2

Smashed Potato Curried Latkes

Yield: 16-20 Latkes

2 eggs

2 tsp. curry powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped green onion

3 cups leftover mashed potatoes

2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil for frying

1 cup sour cream


In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, curry, salt and pepper. Add the green onions. Add leftover mashed potatoes, scooping in to bowl 1/4 cup at a time to break up the clumps. Stir with a fork until egg is absorbed into potatoes and green onions are distributed. Add flour and stir vigorously until incorporated.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, heat 1 inch oil to 375°F. Fry mashed potato latkes in 1/4-cup mounds, being careful not to crowd pan. Once in the pan, flatten potato mounds lightly with spatula to form into patties.  Cook on medium-low 2-3 minutes until golden. Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown, 1-2 more minutes. Serve with sour cream. 


Josie 3

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream with Pomegranate Caramel

Serves 4

1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

1/4 cup bottled caramel sauce (the Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel sauce works GREAT)

1 pint vanilla ice cream

1 heaping cup leftover pumpkin pie (about 1/8 of a 9-inch pie)

4 Tbs. toasted pumpkin seeds or shelled pistachios

In a 1-cup glass measuring cup, combine the pomegranate molasses and room temperature caramel. Stir to combine. Store at room temperature.

Let ice cream sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to soften slightly. Scoop ice cream in 1/4-cup scoops into a food processor fitted with paddle attachment. Spoon pumpkin pie on top of ice cream. Mix on low just until pie is folded into ice cream. Refreeze or if you don’t mind slightly goopy ice cream, scoop into bowls.

Serve drizzled with pomegranate caramel. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds or pistachios.  

 Josie A.G. Shapiro is a writer and Jewish community professional living in San Francisco. This article first appeared in "J the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California."

Posted: 12/2/2013 11:32:55 AM
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