Don’t Change Traditional All At Once: Thanksgiving Tips from the Pros

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This post is part of our series on Thanksgiving Tips from Our Pros. To see more tips, click here: Thanksgiving Tips from the Pros.

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Rioja-Pear Salsa

Arlen Gargagliano, Latin Twist
My expertise: Infusing sabor Latino, Latin flavors into dishes and cocktails based on my travels and life abroad.
Thanksgiving tip: Thanksgiving dishes are so near and dear to our family’s hearts, so it’s important to NOT change everything all at once. Ideally you could do a little something on the side, and ease people into new flavors.

Rioja-Pear Salsa
This Rioja-wine infused salsa has layers of flavor, and a deep maroon color. It could be an alternate to your cranberry relish (though yes, my friends, those relishes are often sacred!), or even served with chips as a starter. This salsa is one that sings Thanksgiving, but has other seasonal applications!

Rioja-Pear Salsa

Rioja-Pear Salsa

This Rioja-wine infused salsa has layers of flavor, and a deep maroon color. It could be an alternate to your cranberry relish (though yes, my friends, those relishes are often sacred!), or even served with chips as a starter. This salsa is one that sings Thanksgiving, but has other seasonal applications!

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups red onion,diced into approximately 1/4-inch chunks
  • 1 cup rioja (or your favorite…oldish) red wine (you may need more!)
  • Turbindado sugar
  • 5 Bosc pears
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • Toasted pecans
  • Flat leaf parsley or cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  1. Pour a bit of olive oil into a sauté pan; you'll need enough to coat the bottom. Heat over medium. Add the red onion and sauté for several minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion softens, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add about 1/2 cup of the wine and continue cooking until the wine is mostly absorbed. Taste and add sugar as needed (this will vary depending on the age/acidity of the wine).
  2. Meanwhile, stem and seed the pears and apple before cutting them into 1/4-inch chunks. Add them to the wine mixture, with the additional wine. Cook until well absorbed and the pear and granny smith apple take on a deep red color. Add the orange zest and stir well. Taste and add salt as needed. Remove from the flame, and let cool before storing. Before serving, return the salsa to room temperature, correct seasoning as needed, and add toasted pecans and parsley or cilantro for garnish.
http://food.lohudblogs.com/2014/11/05/dont-change-traditional-all-at-once-thanksgiving-tips-from-the-pros/

 

Recipe:

Ingredients
Olive oil
1 1/2 cups red onion,diced into approximately 1/4-inch chunks
1 cup rioja (or your favorite…oldish) red wine (you may need more!)
Turbindado sugar
5 Bosc pears
1 granny smith apple
1 tablespoon orange zest
Toasted pecans
Flat leaf parsley or cilantro for garnish

Method:
Pour a bit of olive oil into a sauté pan; you’ll need enough to coat the bottom. Heat over medium. Add the red onion and sauté for several minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion softens, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add about 1/2 cup of the wine and continue cooking until the wine is mostly absorbed. Taste and add sugar as needed (this will vary depending on the age/acidity of the wine).

Meanwhile, stem and seed the pears and apple before cutting them into 1/4-inch chunks. Add them to the wine mixture, with the additional wine. Cook until well absorbed and the pear and granny smith apple take on a deep red color. Add the orange zest and stir well. Taste and add salt as needed. Remove from the flame, and let cool before storing. Before serving, return the salsa to room temperature, correct seasoning as needed, and add toasted pecans and parsley or cilantro for garnish.

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About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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