On the Side III

by Mark R. Vogel

            Welcome to the third edition of “On the Side,” a yearly compilation of side dish recipes aimed at sprucing up Thanksgiving.  Turkey will always be turkey:  boring, dry, insipid, and perfunctory.  But the side dishes is where your dinner can shine.  Some would even argue that it’s the side dishes that make or break the meal.  I’ve included a cake recipe which of course is not a side dish.  But it’s a wonderful cake made of seasonal ingredients and will make a welcome finale to the wretched turkey. 

 

BACON & POTATO SOUP

This recipe comes from momsmenu.com

 

6 slices bacon
Olive oil, as needed
½ cup chopped onions
½ cup chopped carrots
1 stalk celery, chopped

Salt to taste
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups potatoes, cubed
1/8  teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
½  cup grated cheddar cheese, optional

            Cook the bacon until crisp, remove and drain well on paper towels.  Set bacon aside.  Add the olive oil to 3-quart saucepan and sauté the onions, carrots, and celery with salt until the onion is soft but not brown, about 3-4 minutes.  Stir in the chicken broth, potatoes, and pepper; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in cheese, heating just until melted; do not boil.  Chop the bacon, add to the soup and serve.

 

GRATIN OF LEEKS WITH COUNTRY HAM & CHEESE


This recipe comes from theculinarycompanion.com

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

6-8 medium sized leeks, trimmed of most of the green
3 scallions
2 oz. chicken broth
2 oz. half-and-half
Salt and pepper to taste
2 oz. cured country ham, diced
2 oz. Parmesan cheese
1 oz. Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons butter, cubed

Preheat the oven to 350.  Butter a shallow 2-quart casserole and set aside.  Cut each leek in half and place in a large pot with enough water to cover.  Add the scallions to the pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to moderate, and cook until leeks are just tender (about 10 minutes), and drain.  Arrange the leeks and scallions in the prepared casserole dish.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the broth and half-and-half; pour over the leeks and scallions, and season with salt and pepper.  Scatter the ham, Parmesan cheese, and Swiss cheese over the top; dot with the cubed butter, and bake until bubbly and the top is golden, (about 30 minutes).

BUTTERNUT SQUASH CASSEROLE

This recipe comes from thatsmyhome.com

 

1/3 cup butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 can (5 oz.) evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups cooked and mashed butternut squash

 

Topping:

 

½ cup crisp rice cereal

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup pecans, chopped

2 tablespoons butter, softened

 

            Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until thoroughly incorporated.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then milk and vanilla.  Stir in the squash.  Pour the mixture into a greased 11x7x2-inch baking dish.  Bake for 45 minutes or until almost set.  Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over casserole.  Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes or until bubbly. 

 

COAST TO COAST HOLIDAY CAKE

This recipe comes from foodreference.com

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 14

Filling:
1 ½  cups (about 9 ounces) pitted dried plums
½  cup water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3  cup chopped walnuts

Batter:
¾  cup butter, softened
1 ¼  cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½  cups fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries, thawed
½  cup (3 ounces) chopped pitted dried plums

Topping:
1/3  cup chopped walnuts
¼  cup sugar
½  teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 325.  Lightly coat a 9 x 3-inch spring-form pan with cooking spray; set aside.

For the Filling: In a food processor or blender, process dried plums, water and cinnamon until almost smooth, pulsing on and off and scraping sides of container as needed.  Stir in the walnuts and set aside.

For the Batter: In a mixer bowl, beat together butter and sugar until creamy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, sour cream and vanilla until well mixed.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder; stir in cranberries and dried plums, tossing to coat.  Add to butter mixture, mixing just until dry ingredients are incorporated.  Spread half of the batter in the pan.  Cover evenly with Filling.   Spread the remaining batter over the filling and set aside.

For the Topping: In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle evenly over top of the cake.  Bake in center of oven 1 hour, 40 minutes to 1 hour, 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool the cake on a wire rack for 30 minutes.  Remove the side of the pan.  Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

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