NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Looking to make your Thanksgiving a little more vegan-friendly this year?
As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reports, you can give up the meat without having to give up taste.
Feast your eyes and your taste buds on a smoked watermelon ham that puts a vegan twist on a carnivores’ favorite.
“It sounds strange to a lot of people. But for us, we’ve spent years making normal smoked hams. We’re really just doing the same thing, but we’re doing it to a watermelon,” said Will Horowitz, chef and co-owner of Ducks Eatery in the East Village.
Horowitz is known for his smoked goat and brisket, but he wanted to offer more plant-based, sustainable foods.
“This is our answer to that,” he said.
It all starts with a ripe, seedless melon. Remove the rinds and prep the brine.
“Start off just with some cold water – no big culinary secret to that,” said Horowitz.
Whisk in salt, pepper, oregano, Tamari and ash.
“Using ash or using lye or anything of a high alkalinity to a recipe or to food sounds very unique, but it’s actually something that is insanely common all over the world,” Horowitz explained.
The fruit brines for five days, gets smoked over oak and maple woods for eight to nine hours. Top it off with kosher salt and rosemary garlic gravy.
You can preorder the smoked watermelon ham for Thanksgiving and Christmas for $75, including sides. It feeds three to five people.
Of course, no vegan Thanksgiving is complete without knock-your-socks-off sides.
For a fresh twist on a traditional favorite, Murdock visited Michelin-rated Double Zero, a plant-based pizza restaurant in the East Village. Chris Owen, Chef de Cuisine for Matthew Kenney Cuisine, prepped their charred root vegetables with sweet potato mash – a twist on his mom’s recipe.
“I kind of took a page out of her book and sort of designed something here for it,” he said. “Thanks mom.”
First step – take the woodsy ends off the celery root.
“A little bit sweeter, a little bit creamier of a flavor profile,” said Owen.
Rough chop parsnip, scrub the carrots, smash the garlic, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle sea salt and into the wood-fired oven it goes. You can achieve the same effect from your oven at 500 degrees.
Separately, roast the sweet potato and mash it to create the foundation. Add your charred root veggies and top it off with fresh herbs.
Thanksgiving goodness for all to enjoy.