Deck the Desk

Uninterested in the identical previous seasonal facet dishes? Attempt these new flavors to brighten your vacation feasts.

Ah, custom. It’s the shiny, gossamer internet that holds holidays collectively, connecting folks and locations and reminiscences from one yr to the following. 

Meals typically serves as the long-lasting centerpiece of Thanksgiving-through-New 12 months traditions. And much be it from us to counsel that anybody abandon Nana’s signature cornbread stuffing, Uncle Charlie’s inexperienced bean casserole or Mother’s hand-grated latkes. We all know it “simply wouldn’t be (fill-in-the-blank)” with out contemporary pumpkin pie, six totally different sorts of cookies, and sure, even canned, jellied cranberry sauce, full with ridges.

However perhaps, simply perhaps, there’s room for a little bit of shock this yr. Maintain the turkey, the prime rib or the brisket centerpiece, and definitely hold your fave facet dishes. Then, add one thing new to the rotation. Only for enjoyable. Make it a one-time frivolity, or begin a brand new custom of making an attempt out a distinct vacation dish annually.

To get you began, listed here are a number of interesting choices. Nothing to bump Nana’s stuffing off the desk, however positively dialog starters.

Brussels Sprouts Salad
6 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
2 Tbsps. butter

23 cup dried cranberries
1 small-to-medium fennel bulb, halved, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil or orange-flavored olive oil

23 cup cranberry/pear balsamic vinegar or one other kind of fruit-flavored vinegar
Salt and pepper to style
2 Tbsps. contemporary orange zest

Carry a big pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and blanch, cooking solely till the outer leaves flip vibrant inexperienced and halves will be pierced with a fork, about 3 minutes. Drain sprouts, then plunge into chilly water. Drain nicely, gently pat dry with paper towels, and place in a big bowl. 

In a skillet over medium-high warmth, soften 1 Tbsp. butter and add half the pecans. Prepare dinner, turning pecans ceaselessly, simply till pecans are aromatic and golden brown. Take away pecans to a plate lined with paper towels and repeat the toasting course of with remaining butter and pecans. 

Add cranberries, fennel and pecans to the Brussels sprouts. Whisk collectively oil and vinegar. Drizzle one-third of the dressing over the sprouts combination and toss to coat. Add extra dressing to style. 

Season with salt and pepper and garnish with orange zest. 

Might be served chilled or at room temperature. Makes 12 servings.

NOTE: Uncooked fennel has a crisp texture and a gentle licorice taste. Should you choose, celery or jicama slices will be substituted.

Sautéed Collard Greens with Pancetta and Leeks
6 kilos collard greens
2 Tbsps. olive oil 
2 Tbsps. butter
1 cup diced pancetta
1 cup sliced leeks (white half solely)
Salt and pepper to style
Tabasco or pepper vinegar

Fill a tall soup pot 3/4 full with water. Add salt and boil. 

Wash and trim collard greens, eradicating spines and chopping leaves into one-inch items. Add leaves to the boiling water and cook dinner 10 minutes. Drain collards in a strainer and, utilizing the again of a cooking spoon, press out as a lot liquid as attainable.

In a big skillet or flat-bottomed wok, warmth olive oil and butter over excessive warmth. Add pancetta and cook dinner 2 to three minutes or till the cubes of pancetta start to brown. Add leeks and proceed to cook dinner, stirring ceaselessly, for an additional 2 minutes. Add collards to the skillet and toss till components are nicely blended and collards are scorching. Season with salt and pepper to style and serve with Tabasco or pepper vinegar. Makes 12 servings.

NOTE: It is a nice dish to serve alongside cornbread stuffing and black-eyed peas. The quantity of collards specified refers to greens bought by the bunch, untrimmed. Should you purchase ready-to-use collards in a bag, determine two to 3 luggage for this recipe. Different varieties of greens—in addition to rapini—will be substituted for collards on this recipe. Nevertheless, most different greens will blanch in just some minutes, slightly than 10 minutes for collards.

Savory Bread Pudding
6 cups cubed day-old white bread
3 cups milk
3 Tbsps. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, quartered and sliced
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 five-oz. bag child spinach
1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

18 tsp. floor cumin
1/2 tsp. sea salt or to style
1/4 tsp. freshly floor pepper
1/4 tsp. blended Italian seasoning

Place three cups of bread cubes in a big bowl. Pour milk over the bread and press prime cubes into the milk. Let stand. Utilizing one Tbsp. of butter, generously coat the within of an rectangular glass baking dish or casserole. Distribute remaining bread cubes evenly over the baking dish.

In a big, deep skillet, warmth the remaining 2 Tbsps. of butter and the olive oil over excessive warmth. Add the onion slices and cook dinner, stirring, till onions start to wilt. Cut back warmth to medium and cook dinner, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or till onions start to caramelize. Add mushrooms and return warmth to excessive. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook dinner simply till leaves wilt.

Rigorously pour the contents of the skillet, together with liquid, over the bread cubes within the baking dish. Use a spoon to distribute onions, mushrooms and spinach evenly over the dish. Sprinkle sundried tomatoes over the greens and bread.

Add cumin, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to the bread and milk within the bowl. With an electrical hand mixer, beat the bread and milk collectively to type a thick liquid. Pour the liquid over the bread and greens within the baking dish. Bake at 350 levels for 40 minutes or till prime is calmly browned and a knife inserted within the middle comes out clear. Let stand 10-Quarter-hour earlier than serving. Makes 12 servings.

NOTE: This bread pudding makes an important stuffing various, significantly for cooks who historically serve two totally different stuffings at Thanksgiving. Nevertheless it’s additionally an important facet for prime rib or pot roast. In case your bread could be very smooth, go away the slices uncovered to the air for an hour or so earlier than making ready the dish.

Candy Potato Kugel​
8 medium candy potatoes
1 cup sultanas 
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 eggs
3/4 cup orange juice
Pinch of salt
1 cup matzo meal or advantageous bread crumbs
2 Tbsps. softened butter or margarine 

Peel candy potatoes and reduce into massive chunks. Utilizing a meals processor and dealing in batches, grate the potatoes. In a big bowl, mix candy potato shreds, sultanas and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk collectively eggs and orange juice. Whisk in a pinch of salt. 

Add egg combination to shredded candy potatoes. Sprinkle matzo meal or bread crumbs over the components and stir till nicely blended.

Pour kugel combination into a big, well-greased baking dish. Dot the highest of the kugel with butter or margarine. Bake at 350 levels for one hour, or till the kugel is properly browned on prime and tender within the center. Makes 12 servings.

NOTE: This dish makes a pleasant various to candy potatoes lined in marshmallows on the Thanksgiving desk, and it’s additionally an important providing for a Hanukkah or New 12 months’s Day brunch.

Wild Mushroom Ragout with Polenta
4 Tbsps. butter
4 shallots, minced
1 pound white mushrooms, quartered 
1 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered 
2 kilos mixture of chanterelle, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms, halved or quartered
4 plum tomatoes, diced
3 Tbsps. flour
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 tsp. contemporary thyme leaves
2 Tbsps. minced contemporary parsley
Salt and pepper to style

In a big, heavy skillet, soften butter over excessive warmth. Add shallots and sauté for two minutes. Add mushrooms and proceed to cook dinner, stirring ceaselessly, for five minutes. Add diced tomatoes to the pan, cut back warmth to medium-high and cook dinner till tomatoes start to launch juices. Sprinkle flour over the mushroom/tomato combination and stir to mix. 

Slowly add cream to the skillet, stirring consistently to dissolve flour. Carry combination to a boil, then cut back warmth to medium. Add brandy and simmer 10 minutes.

Take away from warmth. Stir in contemporary thyme leaves and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to style. Ladle ragout over agency polenta squares. Makes 12 servings.

NOTE: Polenta just isn’t not like grits, though it’s made with a finer grind of cornmeal. Relying on the place you purchase it and what kind you purchase, it may well take anyplace from a couple of minutes to half-hour to cook dinner. Immediate polenta is obtainable at most supermarkets. To make agency polenta, simply boil 3 cups of water for every cup of polenta. Whisk the polenta into the boiling water, then stir consistently for 5 minutes till the combination is thick and bubbly. Take away from warmth. Add salt, pepper and butter, plus a little bit of Parmesan cheese in case you like. Pour polenta right into a buttered heat-safe dish and let stand till combination is agency. Reduce into squares and serve. For this recipe, you’ll want sufficient polenta for 12 servings.

Easy, But Particular

Perhaps you’re searching for a change, however don’t have time to seek for and check out new recipes annually. Listed below are a number of fast and straightforward cheats that may add selection to your typical vacation menu.

  • Make pesto potatoes. Boil or roast quartered pink potatoes. Whereas scorching, toss in commercially ready pesto sauce. Add fresh-ground black pepper and serve.
  • Make stuffed pumpkins. Purchase small individual-serving-size pumpkins. Reduce off the tops and scoop out the seeds. Fill the pumpkins along with your favourite stuffing and bake till the pumpkins are tender. Serve one per particular person.
  • Make orzo with olives. Prepare dinner and drain the orzo, then toss along with your favourite ready olive tapenade. Serve heat or chilled.
  • Make veggies almandine. Blanch and drain complete inexperienced beans, broccoli, or one other vegetable. Warmth slivered or sliced almonds in a skillet with butter and minced garlic. Prepare dinner till browned and toss with greens.
  • Make gourmand macaroni and cheese. Simply fold shrimp, lump crabmeat and crumbled bacon into your typical recipe for baked mac and cheese. Prepare dinner as typical and take within the compliments.
  • Make a holiday-edition Caprese salad. Toss mini contemporary mozzarella balls with orange sections, dried cranberries, toasted pine nuts, slivered basil leaves and a drizzle of orange olive oil.
  • Make sweet-and-spicy cranberry relish. In a meals processor, grind collectively a 12-oz. bag of complete cranberries, one or two stemmed scorching peppers, one massive quartered and seeded orange, a handful of walnuts and a cup of sugar. Course of till finely floor and refrigerate till able to serve.
Classes: Meals & Entertaining