A Memorable Feast for Holy Thursday

Tradition has it that Holy Thursday was Christ’s Last Supper. It was the Passover Seder, rich in tradition, scripture and customs. While we can appreciate the observation, it does not belong to us. Passover belongs to the Jewish faith alone.

That is not to make light of the significance of the Passover Seder. It is a window into understanding and brings Catholics a greater depth of appreciation for the Mass itself.

Holy Thursday give us another tradition – the washing of the feet. It makes no difference if you are among those chosen to be a part of the ceremonial reenactment or stand as a silent witness, the experience is a profound lesson in humility.

After He had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them.” John 13:12-16

After washing their feet, Jesus and the twelve reclined at table for their final meal together. When the supper had ended, the disciples accompanied Jesus to the Garden at Gethsemane, where Christ prayed in agony. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel came to strengthen Jesus in the garden. By this example, He taught us to turn to the God for strength even in the most difficult of times.

Holy Thursday is a lesson in humility, in sacrifice and in the importance to love one another as Christ loves us. Take the time to come together, to break bread and be thankful that our transgressions are forgiven.

A Feast to Celebrate Holy Thursday
Cream of Asparagus Soup

Roasted Ginger Ale Chicken
Buttery Thyme Roasted Potatoes
Roasted Herb Rainbow Carrots

Spring Greens with Candied Pecans

Cream of Asparagus
2 (12 oz) bunches Asparagus
1/4 cup Butter
2 tablespoons Flour
4 cups Milk
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
Hot Pepper Sauce to taste
1-1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon White Pepper
Cracked Black Pepper optional garnish

Snap off wooded ends of asparagus. Cut off tips, set aside. Slice remaining asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Place in a steamer basket, steam until tender, about 8 minutes. Set cooked asparagus aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth; let cook for about 2 or 3 minutes to cook-off the raw flour taste. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly.

While the milk mixture cools, roast asparagus tips in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, shaking or turning tips as needed for even charring. Set aside.

Pour half the milk mixture into a blender; add half the steamed asparagus. Cover and process until very smooth; pour into a soup pan. Repeat with the remaining milk mixture and asparagus. Bring mixture to a low simmer. Stir in the cheese, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper; heat through without boiling.

Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with cracked pepper and a few roasted asparagus tips. Serve and enjoy.

Roasted Ginger Ale Chicken
2 (3-lb.) Roasting Chickens
2 springs Rosemary, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Steak Marinade (Lawry’s)
1 tablespoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 (12-oz.) cans Ginger Ale
Leafy Lettuce, garnish
Rosemary Sprigs, garnish
Grape Bunches, garnish

Remove giblets and necks, if necessary. Rinse chickens with cold water; pat dry. Place each chicken in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Set aside.

Strip rosemary needles from stalks, mince and place in a mixing bowl. Peel and mince garlic, add to the bowl. Whisk in oil, steak marinade, salt and pepper. Pour marinade mixture over chickens. Seal bags, place in the refrigerator to marinate for about 8 hours. Turn bags occasionally for even distribution of flavors.

When ready, heat oven to 325-degrees. Lightly grease a large roasting pan, set aside.

Using a can opener, carefully remove lids from the cans of ginger ale. Pour out about a quarter of the ginger ale from each can. Place cans in the prepared roasting pan. Set aside.

Remove chickens from the marinade, discarding marinade. Place each chicken upright onto a ginger ale can, fitting can snugly into cavity. Pull legs forward to form a tripod, and allow the chickens to stand upright.

Carefully place roasting pan in the heated oven. Roast chickens for about an hour and 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thigh registers 170-degrees and chickens are golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes.

Arrange leafy lettuce on a serving platter. Carefully remove chicken from soda cans, place on the bed of lettuce. Tuck rosemary and grape bunches around chicken for a nice presentation. Carve birds table side as you would a turkey.

Buttery Thyme Roasted Potatoes
3 lbs Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes
6 tablespoons Butter melted
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh Thyme
1-1/4 cups Chicken Stock
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
Fresh Thyme Sprigs, garnish

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Peel potatoes, place in a bowl of cold water until ready to slice.

In a small bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Season melted butter with salt and pepper to taste. Strip thyme leaves from sprigs, mince and add to butter mixture. Whisk to blend, set aside.

Drain potatoes, dry bowl and set aside. Slice potatoes into 1-inch rounds and place back into the bowl. Pour butter mixture over potatoes; toss to coat.

Spread potatoes out in a single layer in a large rimmed baking sheet. Place in the heated oven to roast for 20 minutes. Remove potatoes from the oven, close door to retain heat. Turn all the potatoes over; return to oven and roast for another 15 minutes.

While potatoes are roasting, peel and mince garlic. Place chicken stock in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Add minced garlic, whisk to blend and set aside.

Once the potatoes have roasted for a second time, remove from oven again, closing the door to retain heat. Turn all the potatoes for a final time. Pour chicken stock mixture over the potatoes. Place back in oven to roast for a final 15 minutes.

Transfer potatoes to a rimmed serving platter. Spoon sauce from the pan over the potatoes. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs as desired and serve.

Roasted Herb Rainbow Carrots
2 lbs Rainbow Carrots
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 sprigs fresh Rosemary
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
Parsley garnish
2 teaspoons Lemon Juice

Heat oven to 450-degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil, set aside.

Peel, trim and cut carrots diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces. Scatter carrots over the prepared baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and set aside.

Strip rosemary needles from stocks. Finely mince and scatter over the carrots. Strip thyme leaves from sprigs, mince and scatter over the carrots. Season with salt and pepper, toss everything together, then spread out in a single layer with as much space as possible between carrot pieces for a more even roast.

Place in the oven and roast carrots for about 18 minutes. Remove from oven, shake pan to reposition carrots. Return to the oven and roast another 18 minutes or until lightly caramelized around the edges and fork-tender.

Transfer carrots to a rimmed serving platter or large serving bowl.

Mince parsley, scatter over the carrots. Drizzle with lemon juice for brightness just before serving.

Spring Greens with Candied Pecans
Candied Pecans

1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Pecan Halves

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone liner. Set aside.

Melt butter with brown sugar in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add pecans, stir to coat.

Empty pecans onto the prepared baking sheet. Separate into individual nuts and let cool.

Spring Greens
2 bags Mixed Spring Greens with Arugula
1/4 cup dried Cranberries
1/2 Red Onion
6 Roma Tomatoes
Feta Cheese, optional

Wash and the drain greens. Place in a large mixing bowl. Scatter cranberries over the greens. Set aside.

Cut onion in half from root to tip. Reserve half the onion for another use. Peel remaining half, slice into thin crescent-shaped slivers. Scatter over the top of the salad. Dice tomatoes, add to the salad. Toss to blend.

Keep salad refrigerated until ready to serve.

White Balsamic Dressing
3 tablespoons Honey
2 tablespoons Stone Ground Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup White Balsamic Vinegar
Kosher Salt to taste

Note: A Mango, Raspberry or Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar would add an extra layer of sweetness and flavor to the dressing.

In a 2-cup glass measuring cup whisk together the honey, mustard and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with salt. Pour into a dressing bottle and set aside until ready to serve.

To Serve the Salad: Scatter candied pecans over the salad. Toss. Shake dressing to mix well. Drizzle dressing over the salad, toss again and serve on chilled salad plates. If desired, pass crumbled Feta Cheese tableside.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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