Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Sides

Today's morning prep
Happy Thanksgiving! I am glad to see some of you checking out some of the simple holiday recipes: Cranberry Sauce, Pecan Tarts, and Apple Crumble with cranberries is great, add some freshly grated ginger too.... Today we're headed to a friend's house. They're taking care of the bird while I am working on the sides (in my opinion, the best bits!). 
I used to go out and get all the ingredients for the recipes, including buying port and brandy for only small portions. While it's nice to have complexity of flavors, it is also good to pare down to the basics, when you don't have something on-hand. I've simplified the Fruit and Nut Stuffing this time, which we are baking on the side. This considerably reduces the roasting time of the turkey and also keeps the stuffing from turning to mush. The cranberry sauce without the port needs a bit more sugar, so below is the recipe, slightly changed.
If you plan on making lots of sides, you only need small portions of everything. The recipes below are enough for 4 adults and 4 kids, but are very flexible.

6 slices day-old bread of choice, cubed

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
4 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp dried sage

1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups (500ml) vegetable stock
  • Yesterday, I cut the bread into cubes and left it out to dry. 
  • Turn heat up the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and celery. Sauté 5 minutes. 
  • Remove pan from heat. Stir in parsley, sage and salt. Add bread cubes and toss well. 
  • Add the stock and spoon it into a generously buttered baking dish.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and crisp off the top for 20 minutes.

1 lb (454g) brussel sprouts, stems trimmed

2 Tbsp olive oil 
¼ onion or 1 whole shallot, peeled and finely chopped
Pinch of sea salt
  • Boil the brussels sprout halves in salted water for 8 minutes. Drain and set aside. When cool to touch, cut the sprouts into shreds. This can be done in advance. 
  • When you’re ready to serve (usually when the meat is resting), on a medium-high heat in a frying pan big enough to hold everything, heat up the oil.  Add the onion and sauté for 10-15 minutes until the onion is soft and browned. 
  • Add the brussels sprouts, and sauté for a further 5 minutes, adding a small splash of water to refresh the greens if necessary. 
  • Season with sea salt and pepper.

4-5 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1-2 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks

1 tsp sea salt
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 Tbsp milk of choice
  • Place potatoes and parsnips in a saucepan and fill with water to cover by 1". Add salt. 
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly and boil for 15-20 minutes until soft, test by poking a piece with a fork. 
  • In a colander, drain out the water. Return the vegetables to the saucepan and on a medium heat, burn off any water. Add the butter and milk or cream and mash. season to taste.

In the top left corner, by special kids' request,
Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallow.
(hey, it's the holidays!)
GREEN BEANS – Simply coat a frying pan with olive oil and sautéing for 3-5 minutes or so. If necessary, a splash of water, cover and let the steam permeate through for a further few minutes. Test for doneness. Season and serve.

½ lb (225g) fresh cranberries*
2/3 (150ml) cup water
½ cup (120g) raw cane sugar 
1 Tbsp orange zest 
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice 
¼" thick slice of fresh gingerroot, peeled and crushed in a garlic press

  • In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients, except for the marmalade. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stir to dissolve sugar. 
  • Reduce heat to low for 12-15 minutes, stirring continuously until cranberries have popped and the sauce thickens slightly. 
  • Set aside to cool. Let cool completely before covering with cling film and refrigerating. Bring to room temperature for serving. 
*Make Apple Crumble with of any leftover cranberry sauce. 

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