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Nov 18, 2008 10:49 PM

Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Even though a big roasted bird is the centerpiece (and in my family, a ham too), the best parts of Thanksgiving dinner for many of us are the sides. I always make dressing (always cornbread/andouille, sometimes oyster too), cranberry sauce, some sort of green beans (usually either quickly sauteed, or slow cooked with a ham hock) and macaroni and cheese, and I frequently like to do homemade rolls, if I have time (this year I might try these from the New York Times ) and then after that, there are always some changes every year. A few questions:

No one in my family particularly likes mashed potatoes, so I try different potato dishes every year; I've experimented with a few different potato gratin recipes, and none of them have thrilled me, so this year I'm looking for a new potato dish (regular or sweet) -- any good ideas?

I have never made, had, or even seen in real life a green bean casserole, but my sister expressed some interest in it this year, so I was thinking of attempting something like this recipe: any feedback? Has anyone else done a fresh version of this dish? I'd actually prefer to do some roasted brussels sprouts instead of (or even in addition to) the green beans, but I'm the only one who loves brussels -- I might try shredded, and sauteed with bacon instead, to see if they would be more into them, we'll see.

This recipe for roasted butternut squash gratin sounds like an interesting take: does anyone have any suggestions for any fun takes on squash?

What are you all having along side the turkey? What are your family favorites?

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  1. Every year we choose a "theme" Thanksgiving - previous years have been French, Italian, Southwestern.... This year is "Southern," but we live in the South, so I think we're all just eating as many of us normally do, but just having our favorite dishes instead, since we haven't been together in a while.

    This year we're having:

    Local cheese plate for snacking while cooking

    Smoked Turkey from the local BBQ pit
    Collards with country ham and a balsamic reduction
    Creamed pearl onions (Gourmet's recipe from last Thanksgiving - soooo good)
    Angel biscuits with homemade peach jam
    Cranberry-apple relish
    Buttermilk mashed potatoes with gravy
    Sweet Potato Pie

    2 Replies
    1. re: jazzy77

      Ooh, creamed pearl onions sound interesting -- is this the recipe ?

      1. re: JasmineG

        Yes, that's it! I was looking for it on the Gourmet website and couldn't find it. I use the prefrozen onions and boil them separately for a while to avoid the "undercooked" flavor. I liked them so much last year that I went home and made another batch just to have more "leftovers."

    2. My green bean casserole is a compromise of old and new. I use fresh, whole beans, which I steam for a very short amount of time to "crisp" stage. Here is rest of recipe. This will need a 9X13 greased casserole dish.

      2 lb. "crisply" steam fresh, whole green beans
      2 cups 1/2 & 1/2 or cream
      3 T unsalted butter
      4T AP flour
      1/2 tsp nutmet
      s&p to taste
      3T dry sherry
      8 oz. sliced mushrooms, button or combination
      1 drained can sliced water chestunuts, coarsely chopped
      3 shallots, finely minced
      1 large can FF onions

      Step #1 - make cream sauce melting butter, adding flour into roux. Add liquid, stir vigorously, season with s&p, nutmeg and add sherry. Keep stirring! You should have thin bechamel sauce. In separate pan, saute mushrooms and shallots in a little EVOO or 1T butter. When nicely browned, add to sauce mixture.

      Step#2 - combine cooked beans, water chestnuts and sauce, mix thoroughly. Spread in 2 qt. greased casserole dish. Top with FF onions (we like lots, use whole can). Bake at 350 for 20-30 min, checking to make sure topping doesn't burn.

      1. for a thanksgiving class last night, we did a "tweak" on green bean casserole that was a HUGE hit. steamed gb to crisp-tender. sauteed some sliced mushrooms in butter and tossed with beans. warmed some cream and stirred in some champignon brie (i've seen it elsewhere, but i buy mine at trader joe's) to melt it, and combined with beans/mushrooms. if you want a nod to the "classic" dish, you can toss some of those cripsy onion pieces from the can on top. (tj's also has these at holiday time, and in my opinion, they are superior to the regular brand).
        my fav sweet potato dish, by far, is mashed, with a little butter and honey, a lot of goat cheese and a smidge of chipotle in adobo puree. i could eat this two meals a day for the rest of my life. when the rest of my family gets tired of it (whiners!), i add stock (and maybe bourbon) for a killer soup.
        happy thanksgiving!

        1 Reply
        1. re: chez cherie

          Did you bake the green beans after that, or was it still pretty fresh? That sounds like an interesting take. I did something similar to your whipped sweet potato dish last year, except without the goat cheese, and it was a hit (though I didn't like it, but I don't like whipped sweet potatoes) -- everyone loves goat cheese, so this might be a fun idea, thanks.

        2. We're stuffing and potato lovers on turkey day (otherwise, not carb focused!), so our choices may not jibe w/your likes, but this is the std. lineup:

          For apps. - have a piece of honeycomb that I'm going to serve w/a nice bleu cheese & some anise tortas, along w/dates, walnuts, etc. I'll also get some nice local cheeses for folks to munch. My SIL is going to bring something - likely some crudite & dip. We'll have beer, wine & cranberry martinis.
          Sage & sausage stuffing - some in bird and a lot out of bird
          Mashed potatoes - w/lots and lots of butter and cream
          Streuseled sweet potato casserole - great and not too sweet, has pecans
          Homemade cranberry relish (MIL makes)
          Homemade cranberry loaf (MIL makes)
          Green beans prepared some way - this year steamed w/a lemon butter sauce
          Green salad - this year w/fruit, cuts all the fat and heaviness!
          Pies - always homemade and always apple, pumpkin & some variation of pecan. This year my husband has requested chocolate pecan so that's what I'm making.

          I'm stuffed just thinking about it!

          2 Replies
          1. re: gansu girl


            Did you ever get the recipe for Broccoli Crunch?

            1. re: Amuzebouche

              You know, I never found anything that was quite the same - had forgotten about this! There are some recipes on the 'net for a copycat Soup Plantation broccoli salad recipe - I tried a couple but they didn't match up to the Whole Foods version from SFO . . . .

          2. Shoo fly pie, the best dessert.