Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thinking ahead: Thanksgiving Sides

A few friends have emailed asking about my go-to Thanksgiving sides. Each year, I cook something a little different but cover all the Thanksgiving basics: stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry relish, a veggie or two... For example, last year I made some Balsamic Glazed Carrots that were good, but I don't plan to go to the market that has the itty bitty round carrots, so I'll probably pass on that side this year. Realistically, I won't make my shopping list until next Tuesday but I know some of my friends are planning ahead so I wanted to share a few of my favorites:

Cranberry-Apricot Sauce (my go to cranberry sauce-- so easy)

Then I always do some variation on sweet potatoes, and flipping through my binders of tried and true recipes, this one caught my eye this year: Sweet Potato and Orange Puree with Almond Streusel. I have had this recipe forever, and it's fabulous. But if I run out of steam and don't feel like making the streusel topping, then this is my other go-to recipe for sweet potatoes that is equally delicious, just a bit more simple to prepare: Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

For stuffing, I've done it from scratch and I've started with a bag/box of bread and doctored that up. I have no idea what I'll do this year, until I see how my week is but you can count on it including: sauteed onions, celery and apple, chestnuts, fresh sage, a handful of dried currants and a little garlic in addition to the butter and broth.

Green beans are simple to make: blanch them (boil 5 minutes then drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking) and toss them with walnut oil (or butter) and some finely crushed walnuts and a pinch of good salt.

Then, I like something tart at the table to balance out the sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. Something with more texture... so I'll probably whip up a batch of Cider-Braised Cabbage, which is super simple (and also delicious on the next day's turkey sandwiches).

Oh, and my husband usually requests regular mashed potatoes and this is my go-to for that: 4 lbs Yukon gold potatoes + 2 garlic Boursin brand soft cheese + 1 1/4 cup skim milk. Peel potatoes and cut into 2" chunks. Cook at a low simmer for 25 minutes, then drain and return to the warm saucepan. Mash the potatoes (using a fork) with the cheese and milk. Can be made ahead of time then reheated in the oven, covered with a bit of foil, at 375 for about 30 minutes.

I think that covers the basics. I'll let you know what I decide to make next week!


  1. Another good balancing side is Fennel Slaw--I think it's an old Bon Appetit recipe--cool and crunchy!

  2. That does sound good Janet!! Thanks for sharing that idea too!


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