Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New takes on traditional Thanksgiving sides


    Looking for a new twist on some old favorites? Here are two takes on traditional Thanksgiving side dishes. They each have steps that can be done in advance to save you time.

Serves: 10; preparation time: 12 minutes;
total time: 25 minutes
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup (adjust for desired sweetness)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, discolored leaves discarded, stems trimmed, quartered
1 bag (16 ounces) frozen pearl onions, slightly thawed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them about 10 minutes or until fragrant and a few shades darker.
    Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together 1 tablespoon of the butter, the maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the maple glaze to the hot nuts and toss to coat.
    In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and saute them about 5 minutes. Add the onions to the skillet, stir, cover and continue cooking until the onions are slightly golden and the Brussels sprouts are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
    Uncover, add the black pepper and vinegar and saute, stirring about 2 minutes. Add the nuts and any glaze in the baking pan and saute, stirring 1 minute more. Serve.
Note: The nuts can be toasted and glazed a day in advance. Store them covered at room temperature. The Brussels sprouts can be quartered a day ahead and kept in a plastic bag lined with paper towels in the refrigerator.
    Adapted from Gourmet magazine, November 2003 issue.
Serves: 10; preparation time:
15 minutes; total time: 1 hour
    A simple seasoning of salt and pepper is all you need for this oven-roasted squash. You may substitute firm apple wedges for the parsnips.

2 large golden acorn squash (about 3 to 3 1/2 pounds)
3 large parsnips, peeled, end removed, cut into 2-inch lengths
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon (or to taste) freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, optional
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Microwave the squash a few minutes to soften the skin. Cut squash into 1 1/2-inch-thick wedges, leaving skin on.
    Scrape off seeds and strings and discard. Place the wedges and the parsnips on a large, rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Arrange wedges cut side down on baking sheet. Roast, carefully turning halfway through, until golden brown on both sides, about 30 minutes.
    Remove from oven, sprinkle with parsley and drizzle with balsamic vinegar if desired.
    Note: You can roast the squash several hours in advance. Rewarm before serving and sprinkle with the parsley and balsamic vinegar.
    Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine, November 2011 issue.

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