Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Side Dishes


You have the turkey.
You have the stuffing recipe.
Corn - check.
Dinner Rolls - check.
Sweet Potatoes - check.
Mashed Potatoes - check.

Seems there is more starch on a Thanksgiving table than at a Chinese Laundry. But we still need more don't we?

Herewith my family favorites as contributions to the already groaning table:

Peas with Bacon, Turnips and Dill (serves 6 - 8)

1 package frozen peas (16 ounces) cooked to package directions
6 strips bacon - fried crisp and drained on a paper towel. Reserve bacon grease.
1 small turnip, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons dill

Fry bacon, drain on paper towel and set aside.
In bacon fat, brown and saute the turnips until soft and golden - about 5 to 7 minutes.
Mix dill with softened butter in a small dish.
Cook peas according to package directions. Drain.
Toss the turnips into the peas, add dilled butter and stir to coat peas and turnips. Season with pepper. Crumble bacon over top and serve immediately.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries, Walnuts and Wilted Spinach (serves 6 to 8)

One butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnuts
2 cups fresh spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Place the butternut squash cubes in a heavy, oven proof casserole (with a lid if you have one, if not, you will use aluminum foil).

Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Add the butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Put a lid on the casserole and place in the center of the oven. Roast for 30 minutes. Uncover and stir. Toss the walnuts and cranberries in with the squash and stir to mix around. Put back in oven and roast for another 20-30 minutes until nicely browned and soft. Stir once or twice while checking for doneness.
Remove from oven and toss in spinach leaves. Cover for 5 minutes to wilt the spinach.

Cranberry Relish with Oranges and Walnuts:

1 package (16 ounces) fresh cranberries
1 cup water
2 small naval oranges, cut into eighths
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup (optional) Grand Marnier or other orange flavored liquor
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted

In a heavy saucepan combine cranberries, water, oranges, sugar and liquor. Cook over high heat until mixture reaches a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until cranberries begin to burst and liquid is slightly thickened. Remove from heat, transfer to bowl with lid and chill thoroughly. Top with chopped walnuts just before serving.

Pomegranate Spiced Apples: serves 6 to 8

4 Large Granny Smith Apples
1/3 cup Pomegranate Molasses
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
rind of 1 small orange (or clementine)
juice of 1 small orange (or clementine)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Peel and core apples, then cut into wedges about 3/4 inch thick.
Melt butter in heavy saute pan. Add pomegranate molasses, then apples, toss to coat. Sprinkle orange rind and juice over apples. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon and toss again to coat. Saute over medium heat until apples are semi soft and liquid is syrupy. Serve warm.

I chop the leftover apple mixture and add them to wild rice the next day and warm... ummm.. a yummy, sweet, nutty, side dish with leftover turkey or chicken.

Lemon Brussel Spouts with Pistachios:

One basket of brussel sprouts (about 10)
1/2 lemon, juiced and zest removed
1/4 cup shelled pistachios (unsalted if you can get them)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

Cut the bottoms off the brussel sprouts and separate all the leaves. This takes a little time but you want brussel sprout leaves, not bundles.

Heat the oil and butter in a medium saute pan. Add the brussel sprouts and saute over medium high heat. Add the lemon juice and continue to saute until sprouts are beginning to wilt. Add the lemon zest and pistachios and toss around to heat the nuts.

Season with salt and a few good grinds of pepper. (if you are using salted pistachios, omit salting or taste to test.

Serve piping hot and don't tell me you don't like brussel sprouts again.

What are you favorite side dishes?


  1. Mine are all boring. I like yours better.

  2. Great recipes! thanks for the inspirations! Especially the butternut squash one. I was wondering tho...I have a son in law who is allergic to nuts, can you think of an alternative to that, that would still add a crunch to it? I think I'd miss that....

  3. These side dishes look and sound fantastic! Love the butternut squash and brussel sprouts. Looks like you're as busy as I am, in the kitchen. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Nancy - I get in a lot of trouble with my sisters for not following protocol.. that is I keep changing the sides up.. LOL.. there's one in every family and I am it.

    Cousin B - I just love typing Cousin... try adding some granola - right at the end.. you'll get the nutty crunch without the nuts! Bare Naked brand make several types without nuts.. Or even a crunchy (crushed cereal) like Special K or oat bran... add just before putting on the table and sprinkle over the top instead of mixing in.

    Marguerite - The kind of busy I love. Cooking for a large crowd of family and friends. Is there any task more filled with love?

  5. I want to come over to your house for Thanksgiving.

  6. I hope you have some extra space at your table?!! I really need to come back here and start printing off some of these delights :0)

  7. Mami - come!! There is always enough food and extra chairs. Dinner is at 2:00.

    Eternally - I'm serving two dinners this year. One on Wednesday night - and one on Thursday afternoon. When shall I expect you?

  8. Very, very nice indeed. Do you think we go a bit overboard during these festive periods? I know I always do at Christmas, but I love it so much!

    CJ xx

  9. Where would someone find pomegranate molasses? That sounds delish but I have never seen that product. Did I miss something? I will go back and read it all again.


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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