Go beyond green bean casserole and blow your dinner host away with
one of these updated versions of traditional sides. You’ll be invited back every year.
Go beyond green bean casserole and blow your dinner host away with one of these updated versions of traditional side dishes. You’ll be invited back every year.
by Adam Spangler and Laurel Berger
Chestnut Stuffing with Dried Cranberries and Fresh Sage
Neal Fraser, Grace/BLD restaurants, Los Angeles
Fraser puts a simple spin on stuffing with a classic fall flavor. “Chestnuts are a great complement to turkey,” he says. “The aroma alone makes this dish a favorite.”
3 oz honey • 1 lb frozen peeled chestnuts, diced • 6 oz butter • 2 white onions, diced • 2 stalks celery, diced • 2 carrots, peeled and diced • kosher salt • 4 oz dried cranberries • 1 loaf stale white bread, diced • 3 oz diced and smoked bacon • 1 oz chopped fresh sage • 2 cups chicken stock
Mix the honey, chestnuts, and 3 oz of butter, and bake at 300˚F until golden brown (20 minutes). In a sauté pan, add rest of butter, onions, celery, and carrots. Season with salt and cook over medium heat until tender. Let vegetables cool, then combine them with all other ingredients in a large bowl. Place mixture in a buttered dish, cover, and bake at 325˚ for 45 minutes. At the last minute, uncover to brown the top. (Serves 10.)
Prosciutto-Wrapped Roasted Garlic Potato Medallions
Nick Mamalis, Royals Restaurant, Richmond, Ontario (outside Ottawa)
This pork-encircled mashed-potato roll is deliciously different without scaring traditionalists. “I would never have associated it with Thanksgiving,” Mamalis admits, “but it’s a big hit. We trot out the same stuff year after year, so it’s nice to change things up.”
1 head garlic • 1 lb potatoes • 7 tbsp unsalted butter • 1 egg yolk • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano
• salt and pepper • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg • 1/2 pound prosciutto cotto, sliced • 1/4 cup flour • basil-infused olive oil • balsamic vinegar
Cut the tops off 6 cloves of garlic and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in an aluminum foil pouch at 400˚ for 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until tender, then drain, peel, and mash them in a bowl. Remove garlic from oven; peel and mash it as well. To potatoes, add garlic, 2 tbsp butter, egg yolk, grated cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Arrange slices of prosciutto side by side on top of parchment or waxed paper, and cover the prosciutto with a half-inch layer of potato mix. Roll layers into a jelly roll, making sure the potato is fully wrapped in prosciutto. Refrigerate the roll to harden (1 hour), then remove parchment and slice it into 18 medallions. Sprinkle flour on both sides. In batches, fry medallions in a pan with butter and a splash of olive oil. Remove once both sides are golden brown. Drizzle with infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar. (Serves 6–8.)
Creamed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (a.k.a. Two Dudes), owners and chefs of Caramelized Productions, Los Angeles
The Two Dudes have turned people around on brussels sprouts, making them an annual favorite for Thanksgiving clients. The recipe calls for “so much bacon, butter, and cream, you’d have to be insane not to totally get into this dish,” says Dotolo. Selected for inclusion in their new cookbook, Two Dudes, One Pan, this recipe is easy to master for even the biggest slackers.
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp kosher salt • 2 lbs brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed • 12 oz sliced bacon, halved • 2 shallots, halved and thinly sliced • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced• 3 cups heavy cream • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
In a Dutch oven, boil brussels sprouts in salted water. Cook until tender but not mushy (5 to 7 minutes). Drain sprouts and place in cold water to stop cooking. Drain again, transfer the sprouts to a cutting board, and halve lengthwise. Set aside. Place pot back on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the bacon (you can do this in two batches), and cook until both sides are browned and crisp. Drain on a paper towel–lined plate; crumble when cool. Pour off all but 1 tbsp of bacon fat and add shallots and garlic to the pot. Cook over medium-high heat until lightly browned (2 minutes), then add cream and simmer until reduced by half (5 to 7 minutes). Add remaining salt and the black pepper. Stir in brussels sprouts, gently coating in sauce. Pour them into a serving bowl, and top with crumbled bacon. (Serves 6–8.)
Deconstructed Apple Pie
Jerome Chang, co-owner of Dessert-Truck in New York City
Unless you’re a pastry chef or a food obsessive with a little too much time on your hands, chances are your dessert repertoire doesn’t include the humble apple pie. Pie-making is a fiddly business, and most novice attempts fall far short of presentable — or edible. But DessertTruck’s Chang likes to build things, and his dessert of soft ginger apples, salted caramel pecans, and near-weightless puff pastry is a miniature construction project in a glass — as neat and improbable as a ship in a bottle.
1/3 lb (roughly two thirds of a sheet) frozen puff pastry (True puff pastry contains nothing more exotic than flour, water, butter, and salt, and Chang pronounces the rest “garbage.”) • 3 tbsp butter • 6 tbsp sugar • 1-1/2 lbs apples (golden delicious, honey crisp, or gala fresh from an orchard or farmers market), peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, cut into fine julienne • 1/4 tsp cinnamon • 2 tbsp bourbon • 1 cup pecans • 4 tbsp sugar • 1/4 tsp fleur de sel • confectioners’ sugar • 8 tbsp crème fraîche Optional: Dried cranberries and grated orange rind for garnish (With its clean floral taste, last-minute grated orange peel can bring a winter dessert to life, Chang says.)
Up to four days ahead, prepare the puff pastry. Preheat the oven to 350˚. Remove the pastry from its box and thaw for 5 minutes. Cut pastry into stamp-size squares and bake on a buttered baking sheet until golden and cooked through. Set aside to cool, then store in an airtight container until ready to use. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar, stirring constantly so the mixture doesn’t burn. Chuck in the apples and the ginger, followed by the cinnamon, and stir to coat. When the apples begin to caramelize, lower the heat and cook for 9–10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is no longer raw in the center. Slosh in the bourbon (pour yourself a finger or two), and boil for 30 seconds — by now you should have a thickish toffee-colored syrup — then put the lid on the pan. Immediately turn off the heat and let the apples finish cooking. When they are soft yet still holding their shape, they are done; remove from the pan. Over low heat, coat the pecans with 4 tbsp sugar and stir until the sugar is just melted. Season the pecans with fleur de sel and spread them on a tray to cool. To assemble, reheat the apples and puff pastry in a 250˚ oven for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the pastry with a bit of confectioners’ sugar and divide among four widemouthed glasses, then follow with the apples and their syrup, the salted caramel pecans (there will be leftovers), and a dollop of briefly whisked crème fraîche. Garnish with more pecans and/or dried cranberries and orange rind for color. (Serves 4.)