A Hanukah Menu from the Jewish Kitchen

turkey-532962_1280As Hanukah begins on December 24th in 2016, I’ve included a recipe for turkey, plus three fantastic recipes for side dishes from the Jewish kitchen. These are perfect for puree.

These are dishes that can accompany a classically roasted turkey. If you have a family, roast the turkey with your family, as usual. Or, you can get a roast breast or roast leg of turkey from the deli counter of your supermarket by special order.

In my eBook, The Purees of Fall: Delicious Under Pressure, I include a recipe for making a turkey breast or turkey thighs in the pressure cooker. This is a Quickie for Caregivers recipe.

The chestnut stuffing is soft and tender because it is made in an electric pressure cooker. It purees beautifully with my from-scratch gravy, or you can buy your turkey gravy from the supermarket along with the turkey. The puree uses the classic gravy from the Essential Puree A to Z Guidebook. It is easy and can be made with or without turkey drippings, using either homemade or store-bought turkey (or chicken) broth.

My sweet potato latke, or potato pancake, is perfect for the meal, but if you are a traditionalist, and you like the Hanukah ritual of making potato latkes, use russet potatoes in the recipe.

All of these dishes are suitable for a family meal. Simply make enough to reserve the needed amount of servings for the family, and puree the remaining servings for the person with swallowing difficulties. Remember, these dishes freeze very easily in glass storage bowls with lids. If you have any questions, email me from the website, or ask your question on Facebook or Twitter.

The Tori Avey website is my go-to spot for clean eating from the Jewish kitchen. Here is the recipe for the stuffing. I will give you the adaptation for the dysphagia kitchen.

Tip: Tori’s recipe for chestnut stuffing calls for baking the challah, the Jewish egg bread, until it is crisp. For the dysphagia patient, I recommend baking the bread for less time, only until it is golden, but not yet crisp. This produces flavor, but the texture is better for the dysphagia patient and produces a better puree.

For the Puree


When the turkey is a little warmer than room temperature, in the bowl of a food processor, or the pitcher of a blender, tear up two slices of turkey meat, white meat or dark meat, four to six ounces, depending on the appetite.

Add a half cup of gravy, and pulse ten times until the turkey is broken up in the gravy.

Adjust the amount of gravy, adding a tablespoon at a time as necessary.

Puree to get the desired smoothness.

Add a pump of Instant Thickener to bind the puree into the desired thickness.

Chestnut Stuffing

The reason for making the chestnut stuffing in the electric pressure cooker or even in a steamer is to keep the stuffing very moist, for the puree. You may puree the chestnut before adding it to the stuffing, or you may puree it when pureeing the stuffing.

For One Serving

Add one half cup of chestnut stuffing and one quarter cup of gravy, using enough gravy as you pulse to make a smooth puree. If you need more moisture, you may use one tablespoon of water at a time, so as not to overwhelm the stuffing with the gravy.

Adjust the amount of liquid to get the puree to the desired thickness.

Add a pump of Instant Thickener to bind the puree.

Double this to make two servings.

Sweet Potato Latke

Yield: 9 to 12 latkes


  • 2 small sweet potatoes, 2 lbs., slow baked (see directions)
  • 3 tablespoons sauteed scallions, sliced thinly, white parts
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 ½ tablespoons unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon fine matzoh meal
  • Nonstick cooking spray


You can make these one day ahead or the morning of serving.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Wash the sweet potatoes.  Puncture the potatoes three times with a knife. Wipe the outside of the sweet potato with olive oil. Wrap them in a piece of aluminum foil. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet, and bake for 90 minutes. Remove from oven.

Allow potatoes to cool. Remove the flesh. Discard the skins.

When you are ready to make the latkes, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Saute the 3 tablespoons of scallions in a little olive oil in a small skillet until they are translucent and soft. Allow to cool.

Place the potatoes in a bowl, and mash them with a fork until they are completely smooth, removing any fibers or pieces of skin. You can mash them in the bowl of a mini food processor if you like.

In the bowl, add the sweet potato, scallions, beaten egg, salt and white pepper, flour and matzoh meal, and mix thoroughly. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes.

Spray a baking sheet with the non-stick spray.

Add ¼ cup of latke mixture and flatten.

Bake 7 minutes, then turn the latkes, and bake 3 minutes longer. (You only need enough time to cook the egg and bind the patty. The potatoes and onions are already cooked. You want to remove the raw taste of the flour.)

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Tip: Do not bake the latkes until they are dark brown. Take them out of the oven when they are lightly golden and soft, but cooked. The object is to get a good puree. The crisp exterior in the traditional latke is not safe for the swallow.

Turn the oven down if the latkes begin to brown too deeply. Cook for a minute or two longer on a lower oven temperature to make sure the potatoes and onions are thoroughly cooked.

It is possible to prepare the latkes in the traditional manner by frying them, but they retain a lot of oil, and the oil does not create a good puree texture.

If you prefer a traditional latke, use two russet potatoes and simply shred them using a box grater or a food processor with a shredding plate, or a spiralizer making thin threads, and then cut them up into shred-like pieces. Dice a small onion. Put the potato and onion in a wrapping of cheesecloth and squeeze out any extra liquid. Add to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients, and proceed with the recipe.

For the Puree 

Allow the latkes to cool to be a little warmer than room temperature.

In the bowl of a food processor, add two latkes broken into pieces.

Add two tablespoons of water or vegetable broth or lower sodium chicken broth.

Pulse seven times to incorporate ingredients. Add more water or broth one tablespoon at a time, if needed.

Puree to get the desired smoothness and thickness.

I find that adding Instant Thickener is not necessary, as the potatoes were of the correct pudding consistency. Add thickener if it suits your palate.

Pea Puree with Butter and Mint

Take half a package of frozen peas, and add to boiling water for two minutes.

Strain. In a bowl, mix with three tablespoons of plant-based spread or olive oil.

Finely chop three mint leaves.

Add peas, oil and mint to the pitcher of a nutrition extractor, such as a NutriBullet, and add two tablespoons of lower sodium vegetable broth.

Blend for fifteen seconds or until the puree is smooth. Adjust the thickness of the puree to pudding consistency.

Add one pump of Instant Thickener or as much as needed to bind the puree. Place in a bowl.

For Serving the Meal

Assemble two serving bowls. Make two dishes – turkey with gravy, and stuffing with gravy.

Unless you are using jellied, smooth, cranberry sauce, puree your favorite cranberry sauce, whether store-bought or homemade.

Using Instant Thickener, a half pump for four ounces of the sauce, combine thoroughly with the sauce to thicken it. The thickened cranberry sauce will be the same consistency as the turkey and gravy as well as the stuffing and gravy.

A bite of the turkey or a bite of the stuffing can now be dipped in the sauce. As long as the dish and the sauce are the same thickness, they are safe for the swallow.

On the side, serve the latke puree with thickened gravy.

Fill another bowl with one serving of the thickened pea puree.

Serve this very colorful meal.

Happy Hanukah!

Swirl Away!


Featured photo credit:  pixel1 via Pixabaycc