A Thanksgiving Treat

Written by on November 14, 2013 in The Southwest - Comments Off on A Thanksgiving Treat

While most of us grew up believing that the first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth with the Pilgrims, in point of fact, the harvest festival has its roots so far back in human history that we don’t even know for sure when it started. Our ancient ancestors, no matter where they were on the globe, tended to celebrate a bountiful harvest. However, it wasn’t until 1863, that President Lincoln issued a proclamation that all states will celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. This act was an effort to unite the North and the South, but due to rebellion of the North’s authority, the holiday was not consistently celebrated on the same day until after Reconstruction. A joint resolution was signed by Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 to change the holiday to the fourth Thursday of November rather than the last, believing the earlier economic boost to be beneficial to the United States economy.

Arizona Territory (Arizona and New Mexico) was claimed by the Conferate States of America during the American Civil War. Colorado, formed just a few years before the war, was mainly pro-Union. But the Colorado Territory was hotly disputed by both sides, mainly because of the gold and silver mines – both sides wanted to use the mineral wealth to help finance the war. Utah Territory was largely ignored by both sides since it was so far from the fighting, although initially, Union troops were pulled from the state at the beginning of the war. However, later in the war effort (1862) Union Troops were sent back to protect the overland mail and stage routes to California.

Since Thanksgiving has its roots in harvest festivals, the day tends to be all about food, food and more food. If you are anything like our families here at SeeTheSouthwest, half of you look forward to the green bean casserole that is only served at Thanksgiving and Christmas. You know the one I mean … it’s full of creamy soup and loaded with cheese and topped with those French Fried onions. Of course, the other half of the family thinks its totally digusting, so you have to have at least one more veggie dish to keep everyone happy. This year, we asked a chef friend of ours to come up with a healthy and great tasting recipe that is easy to prepare and full of fall flavors. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Braised Root Vegetables With Apricots
Serves 8

2T olive oil
2t cumin
1/2t cardamom
1/2t turmeric
6 large shallots, peeled, halved
2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 2” chunks
2 large parsnips, peeled, cut into 2” chunks
1 small sweet potato, peeled, cut into 2” chunks
1C peeled and cubed turnips
1 1/2C chicken or vegetable stock, low-sodium, low fat is best
1/4C fresh orange juice
1/4C diced apricots
1t honey
1/4t salt
1/4t ground black pepper
1/4C freshly minced parsley

Preheat your oven to 350. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cumin, cardamom and turmeric. Heat for one minute, stirring.

Add the shallots and sauté for 3 minutes. Increase your heat to medium-high, then add the carrots, parsnips, sweet potato and turnips. Stirring now and then, sauté for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned.

Add the broth and orange juice, then bring to a simmer. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. During the last 10 minutes, stir in the apricots.

When done, drizzle the honey over all, then season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the minced parsley. You’ll want to serve this in your best white platter and set it down right in the middle of your holiday table.

Calories: 125, Satfat: 0.5g, Carbs: 22g, Fiber: 4g, Cholesterol: 0

Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef, specializing in diabetic menus. You can follow him at www.kentcooks.com .
Photo courtesy www.QuinnCreative.com

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