On the Side V
by Mark R. Vogel

            It’s that time of year again:  The holiday season ushered in by the arrival of Thanksgiving, and more specifically, Thanksgiving dinner.  You know the routine.  Debate over who will host.  Argue with your kids that they’re spending it at their in-law’s and not your house.  Agonize over the menu.  Spend tortuous hours in the overcrowded supermarket the week before.  Initiate a marathon cooking session the day before to have as much done ahead of time as possible.  Get together with a parade of relatives, half of which you can’t stand.  Anxiously fret over the turkey which is going to come out dry anyway.  Spend the evening cleaning the kitchen and collapse in bed eternally thankful that the day is finally over.  The only solace I can offer is helping you plan the menu. 

On that note, welcome to “On the Side V,” my latest edition of side dish ideas to accompany the trite Thanksgiving turkey.              These recipes come from Shoprite Supermarkets Culinary Program.  If you live in the Northeastern US and would like to take a cooking class, go to Shoprite.com and click on “in our store” for information on the culinary program.  Here’s wishing your Thanksgiving is as stress-free as possible.

 

KABOCHA SQUASH SALAD

(makes 8 servings)

 

3 lbs. kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

½ cup raisins

 ½ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup almond oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon cumin

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted

 

            Place the squash in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 5 minutes, or until knife-tender.  Add raisins and cranberries during last minute of cooking.  Drain, and set aside to cool.

            For the dressing, in a large bowl whisk together the lemon juice, oil, garlic, brown sugar, salt, cumin cinnamon and cayenne.  Add the squash mixture, parsley, pine nuts, and almonds.  Toss lightly to coat.  Serve at room temperature.

 

LEMON-PISTACHIO BRUSSELS SPROUTS

(makes 4 servings)

 

1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, core end trimmed

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

½ cup chopped pistachios, toasted

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

 

            Using a steamer basket, steam the Brussels sprouts until tender, but firm, about 5-8 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt the butter and sauté the shallot.  Add the pistachios and sprouts until the sprouts begin to soften and turn golden, about 5 minutes.  Add lemon zest and juice and stir to coat.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

 

PANETTONE & AUTUMN FRUIT STUFFING

(makes 12 servings)

 

Panettone is a sweet yeast bread made with fruits and nuts.  Hailing from Milan, it is a holiday favorite.

 

2 loaves of Panettone torn into 1-inch cubes

1 stick butter

1 carrot, peeled and minced

1 parsnip, peeled and minced

3 cups diced yellow onion

1 cup minced celery

1 cup dried cranberries

1 apple, cored and minced

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried sage

¼ teaspoon coriander

½ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1-2 cups chicken or turkey broth

 

            Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place panettone cubes on sheet trays and bake until golden, about 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and place in a large bowl.  Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add the carrot and parsnip and sauté for 3 minutes.  Add onion, celery and cranberries and   sauté 2 more minutes.  Add the vegetable mixture to the panettone.  Add the remaining ingredients.  (Add the broth in increments to gauge the moisture level required). 

            Stuff the turkey or cook the stuffing separately by preheating the oven to 375, transfer the stuffing to a large, greased baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.

 

BAKED POTATO SOUP

(makes 8 servings)

 

10 slices bacon, diced

4 tablespoons butter

1 cup diced onion

½ cup diced celery

8 scallions, thinly sliced, plus extra for garnishing

1/3 cup flour

3 cups chicken broth

1 pint heavy cream

4 large, Yukon Gold potatoes, baked, peeled and roughly chopped

8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, plus extra for garnishing

Salt and pepper to taste

8 oz. sour cream

 

            Cook the bacon in a large pot until crisp.  Remove the bacon and drain.  Leave about 2-3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the pot and add the butter, onion and celery and cook until the vegetables are tender.  Add the green onions and flour and cook for another minute.  Whisk in broth and cook, covered, until the mixture has thickened and the vegetables are very soft, stirring regularly.  Stir in cream, potatoes, 8 oz. cheese, salt and pepper and cook until the cheese melts. 

            Place the soup in a blender in batches.  Blend until smooth and transfer to a clean pot, (or use a hand-held immersion blender).  Stir in the sour cream and cook until the soup is heated through.  Garnish with shredded cheddar and sliced scallions.

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