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Thanksgiving Sides

Thanksgiving is the time to be creative with sides. Throw a new tradition into the mix by reinventing some old favorites. And if you’re having a crowd, the Bacon, Cheddar Apple Bake makes a wonderful brunch side dish.

SIMPLE OYSTER STEW
8 oz. oysters, fresh, reserving juice
3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup milk
1 cup half-and-half
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika to garnish

In medium saucepan over medium heat, add butter and Worcestershire sauce. When butter is melted, add milk, half-and-half, and oyster juice, and cook until hot. Add oysters and cook until edges curl. Sprinkle with paprika and serve immediately. Serves 4.

ACORN SQUASH SOUP WITH CROUTONS
2 small acorn squash
1 onion, diced
2 parsnips, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
4 cups clear vegetable broth
2 teaspoons butter
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
2-3 teaspoons salt
1/2-1 teaspoon white pepper

Cut squash in half; peel, seed, and cut into 2-inch chunks. In medium saucepan, bring squash, vegetables, and stock to boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain soup and reserve liquid. In food processor, pureé solids with 1 cup of reserved liquid.

In medium saucepan, warm butter over low heat. Stir in spices and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in pureé and 1 cup of reserved cooking liquid. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in milk, salt, and pepper. If you prefer your soup thinner, add more of reserved liquid.

Croutons
4 slices of stale bread, cubed
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt and white pepper

Preheat oven to 300°. Combine all four ingredients in bowl and toss until butter is absorbed and spices completely coat. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes, tossing often to ensure proper browning and crispiness. Divide soup into four bowls and top with warm croutons. Serves 4.

BACON, CHEDDAR APPLE BAKE
3 medium apples, peeled and sliced
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 lb. bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
5 eggs

Preheat oven to 375°. Mix apples and sugar. Arrange in rows on ungreased 13x9x2 baking sheet. Cover apples with cheese and sprinkle with bacon. Mix next five ingredients and pour over mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Serve hot with maple syrup and powdered sugar. Serves 8.

LIGHTEN IT UP GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
1/2 stalk of leeks, julienned
1/2 lb. fresh green beans
1/2 lb. assorted fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup julienned onions
1/2 cup red bell pepper strips
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme)
2 teaspoons olive oil

Deep fry leeks in hot oil until crispy but not overly dark. Drain on paper towels. Blanche green beans in boiling water and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Sauté mushrooms, onions, and red bell pepper with olive oil until tender. Mix thyme with sautéed mushrooms and onions. Sprinkle crispy leeks over top of dish. Serves 4.

CARROTS WITH HORSERADISH CREAM
1 lb. baby carrots
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon flour
2 Tablespoons milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1-1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard

Place carrots in medium saucepan, adding enough water to cover. Bring to boil and cook carrots until tender. Drain. Melt butter in small skillet over low heat. Stir in flour and milk, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in sour cream, horseradish, pepper, and dry mustard. Warm through. Arrange carrots on serving platter and spoon sauce over carrots. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Coming Next Month: Breakfast and Brunch

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