It’s holiday season and the first one is right around the corner. Thanksgiving was my father’s favorite holiday. He enjoyed making the turkey, stuffing and gravy (with giblets even though I begged him not to put those in!). But what he liked most was that the whole family got together. After I moved away, I stuck with that tradition until kids started moving away and had other commitments. Some years they would be able to come, but others they couldn’t.
The menu has always remained the same in my family – turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, green beans, salad and rolls. Then for dessert (my contribution to the meal) we had apple and pumpkin pie. Since this year is again without the children, I thought about how to keep the menu smaller. Don’t need a 20 pound turkey for just my husband and me. One year I tried individual Cornish hens and stuffed them with the stuffing.
With today’s food trends, which are focusing more towards food allergies, there is a variety of recipes to which you can turn in order to create your own traditions or modernize the old menu. So, let’s look at a couple of the side dishes on just about everyone’s Thanksgiving menu.
Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
For years I’ve made my potatoes by mashing them with some added milk, salt, pepper and butter (lots). I happen to like my potatoes more chunky than runny. How about keeping it mashed potatoes but with a twist like this brown butter mashed potatoes recipe from Food and Wine. Browning the butter, adds a deep nutty flavor. Save the gravy for the stuffing!
Green beans with butter or in a casserole with cream of mushroom sauce and onion strings on top. Martha Stewart changes it up with this recipe that includes caramelized onions and tarragon. IMHO, there is nothing better than caramelized onions, both in taste and in the smell as they cook. This recipe can be served at room temperature and even made the day before, making it easier on the cook.
Another recipe from Martha Stewart is this delicious carrot spoon bread. Sounds much more delicious than the brown and serve (or as called in my house, the burn and serve) rolls that I cook every year. A little on the sweet side, it will complement the other dishes which can tend to be heavy.
This year for me, it will be a small turkey, brown butter instead of gravy, onions on the beans and no more brown and serve rolls. Happy Thanksgiving!