A Thanksgiving Twist

It was Thanksgiving last weekend here in the Great White North.  Tradition normally dictates turkey, but personally I prefer to roast duck for the holidays.  So that was the plan and while shopping for dinner I came across a sale on prickly pears.  As I was peckish I grabbed one for a snack.  Cutting into it I was immediately struck by the gorgeous colour.  It’s been a while since I’ve had prickly pear and had all but forgotten what it’s like.

Thus I decided that rather than trying to come up with a dessert idea I would use it as a sauce for my thanksgiving feast.  It was a fun experiment and although it wouldn’t work so well with turkey, the prickly pear tastes great with duck.

A perfect peck of prickly pear in a pot.

To make the sauce, quarter and pull the flesh out of about eight prickly pears and add the zest of a lime.  Be cautious as you do so because even if there are no big thorns, prickly pear will still have tiny hairs that sting like a bastard if they get in your skin.  I recommend using rubber gloves, although I personally didn’t.  Yeah, I’m hardcore that way.  Bring to a boil in a pot, then simmer for about half an hour.  Next, strain out the rather tough seeds and pulp then add about a teaspoon of cornstarch and boil to thicken.  There’s your sauce.  Though I love me some cranberry sauce, this is a really fun alternative.

The rest of my meal consisted of roast duck with gravy, roast yams and parsnips, rice and a salad.  It’s a good season for yams and the one I got was easily able to feed four.  Experimenting is fun, though I’ve heard it said you should never do so when expecting company.  I almost always break this rule, however, and I find having guests is a great excuse to try new things.

As an added bonus, I finally found a good use for the katana.

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