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.
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.