Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. What’s not to love about a holiday that’s focused on fatty foods and family? This Thanksgiving (and pretty much every Thanksgiving) we’re all about the sides. Who cares about Turkey when you’ve got Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence (call me, maybe, Tyler?) and Ina Garten at your table? Or their delish side dishes, anyway.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts | Bobby Flay
Brussels sprouts have a bad rap, but people seriously need to get over it because when you combine this little cabbage with delicious pancetta, you’ll be craving these sprouts every night. Cindy, a former Brussels sprouts hater, first tasted this dish at a dinner party. She decided to be polite and eat it, but ended up falling madly in love with the sprouts.
This recipe starts with some pretty healthy characters – sprouts, potatoes and shallots.
Cut the potatoes into quartered pieces that will cook easily. Trim the sprouts and peel off the outer layer that may be brown (and yucky looking) and halve them.
Look! A mini onion! For those of you self-proclaimed non-cooks, this is a shallot. It’s found in the produce section by the onions. Don’t’ be afraid of it. It’s the onion’s cousin. Or something like that.
Open a package of pancetta – Volpini is our fave! – and cook until golden brown and crisp.
Remove the pancetta from the pan and place it on a plate lined with paper towels, but don’t get rid of the drippings. That’s the best part, right?
Add the shallots/onion cousins to the pan and cook until soft.
Add the Brussels Sprouts and potatoes, and toss to combine. Season the veggies with salt and pepper, and roast until the sprouts and potatoes are cooked through and golden brown.
When the veggies are golden brown, remove them from the oven.
Stir in the butter (yum!) and lemon juice.
Transfer the sprouts and potatoes to a platter and top with your crispy pancetta. Then be prepared to fall in love with the bad boy of vegetables – Brussels sprouts.
Here’s the recipe
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound sliced pancetta, diced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
8 baby Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lemon, juiced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat oil over medium heat in a roasting pan or large skillet. Add the pancetta and cook until golden brown and crisp. Remove the pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels. Add the shallots to the pan and cook until soft. Add the Brussels sprouts and potatoes and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven until the vegetables are cooked through and golden brown. Remove the vegetables from the oven and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Transfer to a platter and top with the reserved pancetta.
Cauliflower Gratin | Ina Garten
Cindy’s the brains behind this dish, too. The only reason we ever found this recipe is because Cindy hates to throw away food and had an entire head of cauliflower in the fridge that needed to be used. When we saw the rich flavors in the dish (and, hello! the cheese!) we decided to give it a try – and we were not disappointed. We have tried this recipe several times and decided the ONLY way to do it is to follow the recipe exactly – and that would be to cook the cauliflower BEFORE assembling it in the casserole dish.
Not much color here – but the flavor is spectacular with two different cheeses and fresh nutmeg.
Melt butter and add the flour stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.
When the flour/butter mixture is blended like above, pour the hot milk into the mixture and stir until it comes to a boil.
Boil, whisking constantly for 1 minute or until thickened.
Take the mixture off the heat, and add salt, pepper, freshly grated nutmeg, and 1/2 cup of Gruyere and Parmesan.
Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of large baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top.
Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Drizzle with melted butter.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until top is browned.
Serve hot or at room temperature, and your family will be giving all their thanks to you!
Here’s the recipe:
1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.
Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing| Tyler Florence
What is Thanksgiving without some sort of stuffing? We wanted to try something different and when we saw the caramelized onions and fresh sage in this recipe we couldn’t pass it up. Not to mention, it calls for corn muffins already made – how easy is that? Oh, and the fact that this recipe was created by the delicious-looking Tyler Florence doesn’t hurt either. What we got was a deliciously sweet corn bread stuffing with a modern twist. The recipe’s simple and fresh ingredients make this a wonderful addition if you are looking for a unique stuffing dish without meat.
Jumbo sized muffins from the bakery dept make this a breeze to put together. The recipe calls for chicken stock and we always use the “Better Than Bouillon” instead of the canned – it just ups the ante.
Melt the butter, add the onions and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes or until soft and caramelized.
This is fresh sage. We used 1 tablespoon. You could use a little more if you like the flavor – it’s a pretty delicious herb!
Add sage and scrape into a large mixing bowl.
Cube the muffins into bite sized pieces.
Add the cornbread cubes to the onion and sage mixture. Season well with salt and pepper giving it a good toss until it’s well combined. Mix together the egg, cream and stock and pour it over the cornbread mixture. If you prefer a moister dressing, combine an additional 1/4 cup cream and 1/4 chicken stock in a measuring cup and add to the cornbread mixture while still in the mixing bowl until you reach your desired consistency. We don’t like a mushy dressing, so we kept ours on the drier side.
Stir the stuffing together and spoon it into a buttered baking dish. Mmmm, butter!
Bake until hot and crusty on top.
We could eat entire bowls of this sweet cornbread stuffing.
Here’s the recipe:
2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, chopped
6 large cornmeal muffins, cubed
Handful fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, or until soft and caramelized. Add sage and scrape into a large mixing bowl. Add the cornbread pieces, season well with salt and pepper, and give it a good toss until it’s well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, cream, and stock, and pour that over the cornbread. Stir the stuffing together and stuff the cavity of the turkey. You could also spoon it into a buttered baking dish and put it in the oven along with the turkey. Bake until hot and crusty on top, about 30 minutes.
Nom. nom. nom.