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Thanksgiv(ukkah) in Paris (part 2 and long)

First of all, I want to thank this board for the excellent discussion about what I should do for Thanksgivukkah here. By the way, I did get to the Marchés des Producteurs last weekend and picked up some beautiful chestnuts and drap d'or apples. I found a boucherie here that will order a 4-kilo dinde fermière for an OK price. So I'm ready to go.

Now for the menu. Here are my principles (Am I overthinking this? You bet! That's half the fun):
1. The dinner will pay tribute to three cultures: American/Thanksgiving, Jewish/Hanukkah-- both Ashkenazi(European) and Sephardi (Spanish-Middle Eastern)--and French. But it should work together as a meal.
2. I will try to keep the Jewish elements to foods that are appropriate for Hanukkah. So Brussels sprouts with pastrami (which has appeared on a few sites) is out. Pastrami is Jewish but it isn't really a Hanukkah thing.
3. The food will be "imitation kosher." This means that I'm not actually cooking in a kosher kitchen with kosher meat, etc., but I will not mix milk and meat (at least not on the same course), no pork, shellfish, etc. So goodbye smoked oysters and crème fraiche.
4. Most of our guests will be French. So yeah, I'm a little intimidated.

Here's what I've got so far. Comments, criticism, and (gentle) ridicule welcome. Oh yes, and as they say, pardon my French:

Appetizers: hareng fumé = smoked herring on endives

Les trois petites galettes:
de pommes de terre,
de chou de Bruxelles,
et des poireaux
=Two kinds of latkes (potato and Brussels sprouts)
and one Keftes de Prasa (a Sephardic leek fritter traditional for Hannukah).

Dinde fermière à la Ashkenaz/Normande
= Turkey with apples, chestnuts, and Cidre Normande gravy.
The idea here is to pay tribute both to poulet/pintade Normande and the traditional European Hannukah goose while still using a turkey. If I can find a small bottle of Calvados I might light it up. I'll put a few scallions and apples inside and scatter chestnuts and apples around it. If the bird will fit sideways in my oven I'll try rotating it on the thighs.

Sauce aux pommes et aux canneberge
= cranberry apple sauce (for the latkes as well as the turkey).
If I can get enough cranberries I might make a cranberry-orange relish, which is what I always do.

haricots aux amandes

salade de carottes rapees et raisins sec
= carrot tsimmes.
This is a raw tsimmes, not the traditional carrot, prune, and meat stew also called tsimmes.

Dessert: sufganiot/bimuelos/beignets à la crème de potiron.
I won't fry these myself. I'll buy them from the local sephardic bakery and top with a pumpkinesque creme.
My niece (the one with a culinary degree) also suggested a getting a big meringue and putting pumpkin or cranberry on it.

So. A couple of questions:
- If I make a dressing (not a stuffing--see above), it will be with apples, chestnuts, and dry challah. But isn't there enough starch with the latkes?
- What wines to serve with this? I usually go patriotic with American wine at Thanksgiving (e.g. Oregon pinot) but I'm here and besides American wine is expensive here.

Thanks again for the advice!

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  1. Another hound and we also went to the marché des producteurs last weekend.
    And I did pick out a farmer from Dordogne, ordered a 3.5 kilo turkey, loosely trussed so it could still be stuffed, to be picked up on the pre-Thanxgiving weekend at Marché Enfants Rouges.
    10.40 euro/kilo
    My recent fave red for poultry is Les Creisses of Philippe Chesnelong.

    8 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842

        Yup. Am doing cartwheels. And it's a reeeeeal farm.

        1. re: Parigi

          Yippee! Just so you know -- the one I linked in the first part of this discussion is a real farm, too -- but in your case the Dordogne farm wins because you don't have to trek off to the wilds of the 77 to retrieve it!

          We had visited the farm before the holiday, and were struck by the spotlessly clean farm, and the fat, glossy birds peering through the fence at us. (and there was actual grass in their pen!)

          1. re: sunshine842

            Jack-effing-pot !
            Went to pick up my reserved Dordogne farm turkey this morning at the Enfants Rouges market. A beautiful 3.5 firebird.
            Also got from Mr Poultry God a big bag of bright orange-yellow chanterelle.
            Asked to buy from him the lovely duck carcass, but he threw it in for free.
            He also told us that on Thursday he had just dilivered a monster turkey to some Americans in Paris, and that Thursday is his restaurant delivery day.
            Of course I had to know which restos.
            I, begging: which ones ? Tell me please please please.
            He: Le Chateaubriant…
            I: moan
            He: Septîme
            I: moan
            He: Spring
            I: moan moan moan
            He: Bistro Paul Bert…
            The rest is a blur.

            1. re: Parigi


              We KNOW you're thankful this year!

              1. re: sunshine842

                There's still the software…
                We'd better not screw up the cooking.

      2. re: Parigi

        I wondered about those vendors. I didn't find one that would be back before Thanksgiving. Where was it in the market?
        My place is on Charonne and the price is about 10/kilo so I'm happy enough.

      3. So what time and where? ;-)

        Nice menu!

        Don't worry about starch - it's just the nature of the beast. The dressing sounds lovely.

        Parigi gave you a red rec, so I'll give you white: it's hard to go wrong with a Pouilly-Fuissé. My sister always serves one at Christmas, and as much as I'm predominantly a red wine drinker, it's very nice with the turkey and fixins.

        Enjoy, and good luck!

        1. Make the dressing. You know it's a Thanksgiving thing. Besides, it sounds tasty.
          <Brussels sprouts with pastrami (which has appeared on a few sites) is out.> love both brussels sprouts and pastrami, but together they sound horrid. :(

          Cru Beaujolais (not Nouveau) is what I always like with Thanksgiving.

          1. You should be able to find plenty of cranberries at La Grand Épicerie.

            11 Replies
            1. re: Nancy S.

              Indeed. Or at a good neighborhood primeur (fruito-veg purveyor).

              1. re: Parigi

                Nancy, thanks for the tip. I'll check out La Grand Épicerie. I tried asking at the market and a couple of primeurs. I had to explain practically every time what a canneberge was. Of course, it's easy to find them dried, so I will put them in my tsimmes.
                In the meantime, I found this link:
                At least somebody here knows what they are ;^)

                1. re: chefMolnar

                  Try using the word "airelles", which the primeurs seem more familiar with. My primeur on rue des Martyrs has them, and he is not the only one on the street. I have also seen them in supermarket international section.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    be careful, though -- sometimes "airelles" are the itty-bitty Scandinavian ones -- they're close, but they don't taste the same.

                    1. re: Parigi

                      Airelles are a totally different animal than cranberries... If you ask for airelles you might get canned lingonberries (which they are, and were known in France long before cranberries were).

                      True cranberries are known in France as canneberge or just "cranberries".

                      1. re: Ptipois

                        but they'll do in a pinch (I used them the first year, when I couldn't find actual cranberries).

                        They don't taste exactly the same, but it's a similar bright/tart flavor.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          They have far less pectin (actually, hardly any pectin at all) and being canned in water, they do not provide the same texture at all. Not to mention the color which is generally all faded out from the canning.

                          But if found in another form (I haven't yet), and if you have nothing else, they might do perhaps — they do have a similar taste.

                          Try supermarkets, too. Large Monoprix like Montparnasse or Beaugrenelle will have fresh cranberries (or at least canned cranberry sauce in the international section), and last year I saw heaps of them at the big Auchan in Le Kremlin-Bicêtre.

                          1. re: Ptipois

                            Carrefour also *usually* has them (but never on the day you're looking for them) and the odd carton would sometimes show up at Intermarche (but usually starting to dry out and get wrinkly).

                            I had found a jar of conserves d'airelles -- it was just okay -- but I worked really hard in following years to find cranberries.

                            By the by -- G. Detout almost always has pecans. Last year there was a bad harvest, so we really struggled to find pecans, and finally found them at Grand Frais (both the one in Meaux and the one in Mitry-Mory had them).

                2. re: Nancy S.

                  Thanksgiving carries them, but will charge you a king's ransom.

                  If you're out in the provinces, Grand Frais usually carries them for a (fairly) reasonable price, along with gorgeous pecan halves.

                  1. re: Nancy S.

                    Score! La Grand Épicerie does indeed have them. I think it was €6.95 for 340 grams--OK if you don't compare them to your local Safeway. There are plenty left, so if you can't find them where you are you can get them there. Thanks again to Nancy.

                  2. sorry, didn't see the wine question --

                    We typically served a Cotes-du-Rhone and a Pouilly-Fuisse, in addition to the plethora of bottles that were brought along.

                    1. This thread suggests that perhaps a good "gift from America" at this time of year might be a few bags of cranberries!

                      1. Hi, there are fresh organic cranberries for sale at the outdoor market in the 16th arrond place Iéna avenue president wilson C'Bio stand in front of palais de tokyo. also on friday in the 13th at boulevard Blanqui in front of Metro Corvisart and saturday at pres wilson and also Batignolles, place clichy.

                        1. while sometimes it's aggravating, Thanksgiving in Paris can actually be fun -- this huge scavenger hunt all across the city!

                          1 Reply
                          1. From the 11-27-13 New York Times " JB

                            For the past 25 years, I've run an American grocery store in Paris, called Thanksgiving after my favorite holiday. We supply fresh turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes, as well as other hard-to-find ingredients here. Up until 3 years ago we also had a restaurant and catering service and helped Parisians of all nationalities celebrate what used to be a family-centered gathering for expats, students, and travelers away from home. But since the media has turned cooking into a competition for the best ingredients, technique, and presentation, much of our clientele has become stressed, entitled, and for lack of a better word, ugly shoppers. Although I make my living from supplying these foods, my advice this year to people who fret that their guest list is larger than their oven, is that Thanksgiving is not so much about what's on the table, but who's around the table. 2013 has not been a stellar year, but there is still much to be thankful for. Thank you for explaining this so well!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: UPDoc

                              "From the 11-27-13 New York Times " JB"
                              However, I agree with Sunshine that
                              "Thanksgiving carries them, but will charge you a king's ransom."

                              1. re: John Talbott

                                yes -- they've set their price structure in such a manner that the privileged are the only ones who can afford to buy anything there.

                                Sweet potatoes? Just last year they were upward of €3 a kilo -- sweet potatoes at, oh, anywhere else (Carrefour, Auchan, Grand Frais, the local marché...) were about €1,50 per kilo. I realize that they're importing them from the US, but seriously.

                              2. re: UPDoc

                                OK, for the record: This started as a challenge I couldn't resist--how to combine these three food cultures? The "scavenger hunt" for ingredients has been a wonderful way to get to know Paris and its neighborhoods, resources, and people. I have been telling my friends that my two favorite places in the world are libraries and open markets, and this visit has been a great opportunity to know both.

                                These four months here would not be the same without the friendship of the Parisians who have been gracious and hospitable to us beyond expectations. People have invited us into their homes (and not incidentally, cooked us the best food we have eaten in France) and this will be a way of repaying their kindness in some small way. And since we come from two other cultures in which foods are deeply symbolic (Jewish and American), it is most appropriate that we fuss over it a bit.
                                Happy holidays to all.

                              3. Just to let you know--the bird I got on Charonne was clearly the best turkey I have ever tasted. I hope you all had a great Thursday/T'giving/holiday. Thanks again for the advice while I was in Paris. On to our next adventure.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: chefMolnar

                                  Just had the Dordogne turkey tonight. Approved by everyone, including a few hounds

                                  1. re: chefMolnar

                                    What wines did you finally buy? I was able to find very decent kosher wines in France, at a decent price, when I was visiting friends who keep kosher (actually the only household I knows that does, most of my nominally Jewish friends are rather heathen, as are the nominally Catholic or Muslim friends. I bought kosher wine at a little supermarket in the 19th (cheaper than le Marais).

                                    1. re: lagatta

                                      I have also had perfectly decent kosher wines in Paris. We didn't get kosher wines this time. We went to the local cave (where the guy was rather perplexed at our menu) and he recommended an Alsatian riesling with the entree and a Bourgogne for the main course. Of course we basted the bird with cidre de Normande and even lighted up some Calvados.