For many, choosing a wine to match the diversity of dishes associated with the traditional Thanksgiving meal poses a challenge as imposing as finding a tie/pair of shoes that matches every suit/outfit in your closet and gaining the agreement of your friends and family on the decision. Impossible? Insane? Absolutely. With the big day close at hand, and facing the annual beverage selection conundrum, why not take a new tack entirely? You know what we’re about to suggest don’t you? That’s right…
Drinking sake with Thanksgiving isn’t as unorthodox an idea as you might think. The flavors of roast turkey, cranberry relish, and sweet potatoes all have components that pair incredibly well with a number of sake. Kimoto and yamahai sake’s creamy, earthy notes are a perfect complement to the roast turkey. We drank Hiraizumi Junmai Yamahai last year and still haven’t found a wine that was as enjoyable with this Thanksgiving centerpiece. Likewise, a complex, compact Ginjo from Okunomatsu or a slightly rich, fruity Junmai such as Urakasumi would be perfect partners for the Sweet Potatoes in Mirin recipe that we’ve included here. If you’re a cranberry relish fan, try the recipe below with your meal and either Chokaisan Junmai Daiginjo or Kudoki Jozu Junmai Ginjo with their clean, apple-tinged flavors.
Come visit us at SAKAYA and tell us what you’re planning to make. We’ll be happy to offer some sake suggestions. Make this the year that brings the change we need to the Thanksgiving table, the change from the same old beverage of the last eight years (or so), the change to Thanksgiving with sake!
Cranberry Orange Relish adapted from New York Times
1 cups fresh cranberries
1 oranges, pitted, peel removed from one orange
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
1. Wash the fresh cranberries, and grind them in a meat grinder using a fine blade or process in a food processor until the cranberries are finely chopped.
2. Cut the oranges into eighths, and grind or process until finely chopped.
3. Combine fresh cranberries, oranges, maple syrup, Grand Marnier, sugar and nutmeg; stir well, and refrigerate at least an hour but up to 3 or 4 days.
Yield: 2 cups.
Sweet Potatoes in Mirin
2 Sweet Potatoes or yams, wash well and cut into 3/4 slices
1/4 cups mirin
1/4 cups sake
1 tablespoons sugar
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cups water
1. Combine the sweet potatoes or yam, mirin, sake, sugar, 1 tablespoons of soy sauce and water in a small sauce pan.
2. Cover and cook over medium heat until the sweet potato is tender, about15 minute. Add a little more water if necessary.
3. Taste it and adjust seasonings. (If it needs sauce sauce, add more. If it needs more sugar, add more.)