Make room for the Thanksgiving side dishes

Cooking with Cathie

Cathie CampbellNovember 16, 2012 

The turkey is just going to have to move over to make room for the delectable side dishes it shares the table with. We all have our traditional favorites, but I like to sneak in something new and different once in a while. If you have room at your table for a new side dish, perhaps you will find a recipe here you might like to try.

I am getting hungry already, but Thanksgiving cooking can be exhausting. If anyone asks you if they can help you in the kitchen or bring something to share, take them up on it! I hope you are all looking forward to our upcoming Thanksgiving Day holiday and have many blessings to count.

Brussels sprouts and butternut squash

This recipe includes a bacon vinaigrette.

  • 4 oz. thick-cut bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/4 -inch pieces
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 -inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped steamed chestnuts
  1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until browned and crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour all but 1 tablespoon of the fat into a heatproof bowl and reserve. Add the shallot to the remaining fat in the pan and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, thyme and shallot. Slowly whisk in 5 tablespoons. of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set the vinaigrette aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the brussels sprouts and cook until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the brussels sprouts to a bowl of ice water. Drain well, then cut them in half lengthwise and place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
  4. Return the water in the pot to a boil, add the butternut squash and cook until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain, then transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain again and place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
  5. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the squash and sauté, stirring occasionally, until light golden and warmed through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  6. In the same pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat. Place the brussels sprouts, cut side down, in the pan. Cook, without moving them, for 3 to 4 minutes, then stir and add the sage and chestnuts. Cook for 2 minutes more. Transfer to the bowl with the squash. Add enough vinaigrette to lightly coat the vegetables (you may not need all of it), then stir in half of the bacon. Transfer the vegetables to a platter, sprinkle with the remaining bacon and serve immediately. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Mushroom bread pudding

An earthy, savory side dish.

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and tender green portions
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh marjoram or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram, crumbled
  • 1 pound white button or cremini (brown)mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup medium-dry sherry
  • 7 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 1 baguette, cut into 1-inch-thick diagonal slices (about 16 slices)
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Generously butter a baking dish. In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the green onions and marjoram and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and salt and cook, stirring once or twice, until the mushrooms release their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the sherry and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. Whisk in the half-and-half and hot-pepper sauce. Add the bread slices and let stand, stirring gently once or twice, until the bread is moist and soft. Arrange half the bread slices in a single layer in the prepared dish. Spread half the mushrooms over the bread. Arrange the remaining bread slices over the mushroom layer, then top with the remaining mushrooms. Pour any egg mixture remaining in the bowl evenly over all.
  3. Bake until the pudding is puffed and golden and the center is just set, about 45 minutes. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot or warm. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Glazed pearl onions

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound frozen pearl onions, thawed and patted dry
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
  1. Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onions. Cook, tossing once in a while, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle with sugar; season with salt and pepper. Add 2/3 cup water and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. The longer the pearl onions cook, the sweeter and more caramelized they will become. Toss with a little balsamic vinegar, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Honey glazed carrots

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths, halved if thick
  • 1 cup canned chicken broth or water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots; cook, stirring once, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add broth, honey and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until crisp-tender, 10 minutes. Uncover and cook over medium-high until carrots are tender and liquid has thickened into a syrup consistency, about 7 to 9 minutes more (there should be only a small amount of liquid remaining).
  3. Remove skillet from heat; add butter, and swirl skillet until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.

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