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Oct 28, 2011 05:53 PM

Creative Starch Recipes for Thanksgiving/Holidays

I have wanted to share these for a long time. Now I finally have them edited.

I used them for many years in my catering co. Please add yours too!


adapted from a 1980’s Chocolatier magazine recipe

X1 X2

2 lbs // 4 lbs Peeled and seeded Butternut Squash

1 ½ C // 3 C Heavy Cream

½ C // 1 C Half & Half

2 // 4 Bay Leaves

3 sprigs // 6 sprigs Fresh Thyme


1/8 tsp // 1/4 tsp Dry Thyme

1/8 ts // 1/4 tsp Ground Mace

1 3/4 tsp // 2 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt

½ tsp // 1 tsp Pepper

3 T // 6 T Butter

1 med // 2 med Yellow Onions

1 tsp // 2 tsp Minced Garlic

1/4 C // ½ C Parmesan Cheese

Slice squash in 1/4" slices. In large heavy- bottomed sauce pan combine the squash, cream, half and half, bay leaves, thyme, mace and 1 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of the pepper. Simmer over moderate heat until squash is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid , stirring occasionally, approximately 30 minutes. Meanwhile slice the onions 3/8" thick. Melt half the butter in Large skillet and saute onions until they caramelize and turn deep golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute . Season with the remaining salt and pepper. Spread some of the onions on the bottom of a medium gratin dish or other shallow oven proof dish. Fill the gratin dish with squash, sprinkle with onions and parmesan cheese and dot with the remaining butter. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and bake for 15 minutes or until browned lightly and bubbling.

* For advance prep, can be prepared up until topping; cooled, wrapped and refrig for 3-4 days. Bring to room temp, sprinkle w/parm and dot w/butter and bake.

* Aso can chop onions and layer w/ squash if preferred.

NOTE: doing X4 and above use less liquid as will get too soupy.

X5 uses approximately 2 cups less liquid

** Freezes well. Also, leftovers can be used as a pasta sauce, optionally adding toasted hazelnuts, sliced cooked duck sausage and crumbled fried sage leaves.



X1 X2

1/3 C // 2/3 C Raw Wild Rice

2 // 4 Scallions minced

3 T // 6 T Pecans finely chopped

2 // 4 Peeled Anjou Pears in 1/4" dice

½ tsp // 1 tsp Crushed Dried Rosemary

1 T // 2 T Flat Parsley , minced

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

3 T // 6 T Unsalted Butter

1/3 C // 2/3 C AP Flour ,mix of whole wheat and white

1/3 C // 2/3 C Fine Cornmeal

1T // 2 T Baking Powder

2 T // 4 T Dark Brown Sugar

1 // 2 Large Eggs beaten

½ C // 1 C Milk or Half & Half

X1= approx. 16 3” entree size or 50 hors d’oeuvre size

Bring salted water to a boil; add rice and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender. Melt butter to sizzling but not burning, add pears and rosemary, cook over med. high heat until tender but not mushy. Add parsley and scallions and let cool. Mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, dark brown sugar. Add milk or half & half and beaten egg; add cooled pear mixture. For entree portions, form 3" mounds in skillet. For hor d'oeuvre, drop by teaspoonfuls on hot griddle. Cook on one side then flip and cook until golden brown and cooked through.

Best with sweet butter and drizzle of maple syrup, but can be garnished w/ chevre, creme fraiche, or sliced roast duck.

**If pears are ripe, saute first to remove excess liquid before adding other ingredients.



The chewy moist texture of this rice is so unique.

1 Medium Onion chopped fine

6 T unsalted butter or veg. oil

1 Bay leaf; kosher salt and pepper

3 C Basmati Rice

2 C plain yogurt

2 ½ C orange juice (frozen is fine)

Saute onion and bay leaf for 5+ minutes til golden brown. Season and add rice and saute til nutty and lightly browned . Transfer to 3 qt. oven proof dish. Meanwhile, in another sauce pan, combine yoghurt and OJ; bring to just a simmer- Do not boil. Add to rice and stir to combine. Immediately cover tightly with saran and then foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes til liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and serve.

makes 18 servings of 1/2 c.@

* depending on the dimensions of the dish used (wider is better), the rice might cook more on the edges and still be a bit soupy in the middle. If this happens, stir rice well and return to oven to finish as needed.



1 box Cous Cous Plain or wheat (I use Tr,Joe’s)

2C + Chix stock or water

½ C Scallions Minced

½ C Pistachios chopped, raw or roasted

2 tsp Orange Zest

1/4 C Dried Cranberries Chopped

Soften cranberries in hot water for a few minutes before you chop.

Make cous cous with water or chicken stock, according to directions on package. Add the pistachios, orange zest, cranberries and scallions. Mix in enough couscous vinaigrette until robustly flavored and right consistency(you don’t want pool of unabsorbed oil. I use 1- 1 1/2 c. vinaigrette) May need to season with more salt and pepper. (Couscous is really pasta; pasta and potatoes always absorb so much salt! if made way in advance, be sure to taste and adjust seasonings before serving.)

Cous Cous Vinaigrette 2 c.:

1 ½ C Vegetable Oil

6 T + Lemon juice

1 T ground toasted cumin

2 tsp Cinnamon

2 Tsps @ Kosher Salt and Pepper

Whisk all together.

For a special presentation- timbales:

Pack couscous down into large muffin tins(or other form). Cover tin with saran and place another muffin tin on top with about 6-10 lb + of canned items on top (this presses down on the couscous mixture and compresses it into a shape.)Refrigerate 3 hours to a week. Remove saran from muffin tin;place tray or platter on top of tin and flip over onto platter,holding muffin tin down while tapping platter flat on counter so timbales will slide out cleanly. For extra insurance, tap down on each tin before lifting tin off. Serve room temp. ,with spatula.

X1 makes 16 timbales of about 1/3 c. each.


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  1. your pear and rice pancakes were singing to me!

    and i love putting rice preps into timbales to shape. and that couscous trick (and recipe) looks terrific.

    1 Reply
    1. re: alkapal

      pal and mvi et al, so glad you like;hope you try them!

    2. Thanks for sharing these. They look amazing.

      1. Stuffing (dressing) made with cornbread crumbs and browned Italian sausage that has been removed from the casing as well as the usual celery, onion and seasonings.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ChiliDude

          last year I made a Poblano Chili and Buternut squash gratin from F&W magazine that was the HIT of thanksgiving.... not hot, just a smoky, creamy squash side.
          Here is the recipe link:
 toasted Pumkin seeds on top was the piece de resistance. Nice texture contrast. YUM!

          Now that I found it again, I am going to make this for dinner, and add some Chorizo sausage and have as a complete meal with a green salad.

          1. re: ChiliDude

            I'm with you Dude, converted in in-laws to cornbread, after they were skeptical first time out. Use breakfast sausage instead of Italian. Much more flavor and texture than bread (but I do add a slice or two just to lighten texture.)

            1. re: berkleybabe

              use day old cornbread for lighter texture

          2. These look amazing! Thank you for sharing....

            I don't have as many recipes, more ideas than anything:

            Mushroom bread pudding (can also make for a nice main for vegetarians)

            Roasted parsnips

            Hasselback potatoes:

            Crash hot potatoes:

            Cauliflower gratin (not really starchy, but swaps in well if potatoes are getting tiresome


            Hasselback potatoes

            1 Reply
            1. re: 4Snisl

              Others I forgot to mention!

              Barley and mushrooms, cooked risotto-style.

              And quinoa (especially red quinoa) with sauteed Granny Smith apples and toasted pecans.

            2. try that Claiborne recipe with pomegranate juice - it's fabulous.

              another wonderful Thanskgiving starch option that's oft-discussed here on CH is chipotle sweet potatoes.

              8 Replies
              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

       you mean use pom juice INSTEAD of the oj?

                @Opinionatedchef: thank you for taking the time to post these edgy recipes (edgy to ME, anyway..and I mean it in a good way)...must try them out!!!

                1. re: Val

                  you know, val, it's funny. one might think that posting those recipes wouldn't take too long, but in this case, because most all were used in my 30 yr catering business, at 'serves 100' quantities, with lots of hand written notes, it took me all day to fix and edit those recipes! so your thanks is particularly meaningful! hope you'll try them out.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    The basmati rice one will be first...I just know it. Will let you know the results!

                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  GHG, you mean sub pure pomegr juice for the oj? if so, not too tart?how fascinating.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I was just thinking of that Bobby Flay recipe. Someone on What's for Dinner (aargh, can't remember who) posted this gorgeous recipe for potato custard: and I was thinking of using sweet potatoes and Aleppo pepper in this way sometime this week.

                    1. re: onceadaylily

                      Does this seem like potatoes au gratin or scalloped? I forget which has cheese and the other doesn't . Nice.

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        gratin usually has the cheese in my experience, but wiki says they are equivalent.
                        to me, scalloped is just with the cream or milk and not the cheese. but eh, who am i to say? LOL. seems a gratin doesn't necessarily have to have cheese, though, doesn't it? i mean, only bread scrapings on top may turn something into a gratin!

                        from the wik-ster:

                        """The etymology of gratin is from the French language in which the word gratter meaning "to scrape" as of the "scrapings" of bread or cheese, and gratiné, from the transitive verb form of the word for crust or skin. The technique predates the current name which did not appear in English until 1846 (OED, s.v. "gratin").
                        In addition to the well-known potato dishes such as gratin dauphinois, cooking au gratin is a widely used cooking technique in the preparation of numerous dishes including many meat, fish, vegetable and pasta dishes, fennel, leeks, crabmeat, celeriac and aubergines (eggplant).
                        The term le gratin signifies the "upper crust" of Parisian society, and, as gratin, has since been borrowed into English.The technique is also referred to as scalloping, especially in North America as scalloped potatoes."""

                        now i have to dig out my larousse. ;-).

                        1. re: alkapal

                          i also love scalloped corn …

                          in the south, we "escallop" many things. LOL

                          here is recipe for "limas escalloped":

                          and this scalloped squash recipe is my favorite way to eat yellow crookneck squash.