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Your best Thanksgiving recipe

  • m

Hosting for the first time this year. Only thing on the menu for sure is turkey and stuffing. Looking for your most popular side dish recipes. My family is the dumpling and sauerkraut crowd, but we'll keep that at grandmas house. Thanks

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  1. The Joel Robuchon mashed potato.

    3 Replies
    1. re: wattacetti

      My family always requests the corn casserole with the Jify cornbread mix.

      1. re: lilmomma

        I love the sound of this. Care to share?

        1. re: latindancer

          I have to dig through my cookbook later. But IIRC, its
          1 can corn, drained
          1can creamed corn
          1 stick of butter, softened
          1 box of Jiffy corn bread
          8oz sourcream

          Mix and put in an 8x8 pan and bake at 350 for an hour. I usually double the recipe and put in a 13x9.

          Mix all together

    2. My stuffing is always the most sought-after dish on the table, but it sounds like you're looking for vegetable sides. I created one last year that was a big hit - a warm sauteed kale salad with chunks of roasted butternut squash, pancetta and chestnuts with a black olive vinaigrette. My husband was convinced he wouldn't like it (he's not a big kale fan) and he licked the bowl clean - he even stole my portion of the leftovers!

      7 Replies
      1. re: biondanonima

        Could you please share the recipe? It sounds like something I would like to make.

        1. re: Saluti

          Sure, here you go! Sorry the amounts are so approximate - I tend to taste and adjust and often forget to write down exact quantities.

          1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed in 1/2" pieces
          2 bunches lacinato kale, stemmed and cut into ribbons
          ½ c. chicken broth
          ½ c. oil cured black olives
          1 clove garlic
          Sherry vinegar to taste
          Olive oil to taste
          Fresh thyme to taste
          Crushed red pepper to taste
          8 oz thick cut bacon or pancetta, cut into lardons
          4 oz. roasted and peeled chestnuts, chopped

          For the dressing: Combine olives, garlic, vinegar and thyme in a food processor and process until smooth, thinning with enough oil/vinegar to achieve a fairly liquid consistency and the acid balance balance you prefer. Set aside.

          Toss the butternut squash with a bit of oil and roast at 400 until caramelized in spots. Set aside. Meanwhile, cook the bacon or pancetta until crisp, drain (reserving the grease) and set aside. Heat a tablespoon of the bacon grease in a large skillet and add the kale; sauté briefly, then add chicken broth and cook, covered, until kale is tender. Uncover and add the bacon, chestnuts and squash and cook until liquid evaporates and everything is heated through. Toss with dressing, using a couple of tablespoons at a time and tasting until you are satisfied with the flavor.

        2. re: biondanonima

          Wow... that kale dish sounds amazing!! Do you think it'd lose too much if I vegetarianize it?

          1. re: kubasd

            Actually, no - I created the recipe with bacon in it just because I love bacon, but you could definitely leave it out - there is plenty going on with the other ingredients. If you wanted a hint of smoke, you could use a little smoked paprika in the dressing or something.

            1. re: biondanonima

              The smoked paprika is what I normally use when recipe calls for bacon, so perfect! Thanks!

          2. re: biondanonima

            Biondanonima, feel like sharing the stuffing recipe? I'm looking for a make-ahead dressing. Thanks!

            1. re: Thanks4Food

              Sure, here you go:

              2 loaves French bread (approx. 24 oz. total), torn into 1-inch pieces (I make my own, but any decent artisan bread will be fine), dried at room temperature several days before using (or you can dry it in a 200 degree oven for a half hour or so right before you use it)
              1 stick butter plus additional for greasing dish
              2 c. chicken or turkey stock (more or less)
              1 oz dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 2 c. boiling-hot water (optional - I like them but you don’t need them)
              1 lb cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
              1 large bulb fennel, chopped coarsely
              10+ shallots, halved or quartered if large (you really can't have too many of these)
              2 large onions, chopped
              2 celery ribs, chopped finely (I use a food processor because I HATE chunky celery)
              2 medium carrots, chopped finely (use food processor; ditto on the chunks)
              5 garlic cloves, minced
              1 T. dried sage, ground or whole (more or less to taste)
              1 T. chopped fresh thyme or to taste
              1 T. chopped fresh sage or to taste
              1 T. chopped fresh rosemary or to taste
              ½ c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or to taste
              Salt and pepper to taste
              1 lb. sage breakfast sausage (optional)

              Arrange shallots, fennel and mushrooms on rimmed baking sheets (in a single layer), drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees until golden brown, approximately 30 mins, tossing them once halfway through cooking. Meanwhile, pour boiling-hot water over porcini and soak 20 minutes, then remove mushrooms, reserving soaking liquid. Rinse porcini under cold water to remove any grit, then squeeze out excess water and coarsely chop.

              While porcini soak, melt 1/2 stick butter in a heavy skillet over moderately high heat, then add onions and a pinch of salt and cook until translucent. Add carrots, garlic and celery and cook another 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add drained porcini and cook a moment longer. If using sausage, crumble and sauté in a separate pan until browned. Combine all vegetables, herbs and sausage with the bread, tossing to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

              Pour porcini soaking liquid and stock to taste over stuffing mixture, tossing to coat evenly. Mixture should be moist throughout but not soaking wet (I usually use around 3.5 cups of liquid total, more stock than mushroom liquid. If you’re not using the porcini, just use straight up stock).

              Butter a large, deep roasting pan and preheat oven to 375 (if you prefer more crispy pieces, use two pans for shallower layers). Spread stuffing in pan and dot the top with the remaining ½ stick of butter (use more or less as desired). Cover tightly with buttered foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until top is browned, 10 to 15 minutes more. Makes A LOT - at least two 9x13 pans full.

              If you want to make this ahead of time (as I do), the day before I cook my mirepoix, roast the vegetables, cook the sausage and dump all of that into a tupperware bowl as I finish cooking it. Stick that in the fridge. You can even reconstitute your porcinis and refrigerate them in their soaking liquid (or separately, whatever). When you're ready to bake the morning of, just butter your baking dish, dump in the bread, dump in the vegetables and such from the day before, give it all a good toss and pour in as much stock as you like. Takes all of 3 minutes to assemble if you do all the vegetable prep the day before.

          3. My family makes a pumpkin flan instead of pumpkin pie. It's been in the family for decades an is amazing. I recommend doubling the caramel though-- people fight over it!

            I don't have the recipe handy but it looks very similar to this: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/201...

            We play around with the seasonings a bit every year as well.


            1. I make candied sweet potatoes. Tried a recipe with maple syrup but I like to use brown sugar or honey, orange juice and cinnamon with a dab of butter.

              1 Reply
              1. re: classylady

                May I have the sweet potato recipe? Every year I try a different recipe and still have not found "the One!"

              2. As do not want the 'sweet' sweet potato, recipe, mine is a sweet potato dauphinoise, never breaks down and is always applauded.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  Thanks for all of the great ideas. Delucacheesemonger, could you post the dauphinoise recipe please? Thanks

                  1. re: magt



                    3 lb. large sweet potatoes, all about the same size.
                    3 tbl butter
                    12-16 ounces cave aged gruyere or 36 month comte, the idea is to have a strong cheese not just a source of fat, sliced thinly
                    4-6 ounces half and half.
                    Candied orange rind optional

                    Bake at 325 degrees large sweet potatoes until quite done, cool and slice in 3/4 inch slices unpeeled.
                    into a large oval gratin pan, place about 3 tbl of softened butter over the sides and bottom
                    Layer sweet potatoes, the gruyere and continue till all ingredients are used finishing with the cheese.
                    If using the orange rind, add on top of potatoes.
                    Pour the half and half over the dish and bake at 275 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until top is crusty.

                2. I make "holiday carrots" that my old next-door neighbor taught me. Very simple and just multiply if you need to make more. What makes MY twist on it different? Crinkle-cut carrots. Our family joke is that more flavor gets in all the extra surface area created by the crinkles. HA HA HA! Plus it makes for a pretty presentation.

                  HOLIDAY CARROTS
                  1 pound of carrots, peeled–and crinkle-cut (That's right!)
                  10 dried apricots, diced
                  1/3 cup golden raisins
                  a few pats of butter
                  2 teaspoons light brown sugar
                  a couple dashes of cinnamon

                  Combine carrots, apricots and raisins; steam till carrots are tender. Toss with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Serve and wait for compliments. :)

                  1. This PUMPKIN BREAD recipe has earned my family numerous blue ribbons in our local Community Fair. It's also great for making jumbo pumpkin muffins. If you make muffins, shorten the baking time; test muffins for doneness after 55-60 minutes.

                    Makes one loaf. Recipe may be doubled.

                    1¾ cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
                    ¼ tsp. double-acting baking powder
                    1 tsp. baking soda
                    1½ cups sugar
                    ½ tsp. salt
                    ½ tsp. ground ginger
                    ½ tsp. ground cloves
                    ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
                    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
                    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
                    ½ cup vegetable oil
                    1 cup canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
                    1/3 cup water
                    ½ cup yellow raisins (optional)

                    Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a Pyrex loaf pan, 9 by 5 by 3 inches.

                    Into a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon.

                    In another bowl beat together the eggs, oil, pumpkin puree and water. Add to the flour mixture and beat until the batter is combined. Stir in the raisins (if using). Pout the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Using the tip of a sharp knife, draw a line down the length of the surface of the batter.

                    Bake in center of preheated oven for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. (Test after 1 hour and 15 minutes.) Let the bread cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Turn it out onto a rack (if desired) and let it cool completely.

                    1. I need a good recipe for some old school dressing

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: ezelgrier

                        I have one with bacon, onion, celery and bread. It's a little different than some, but it's amazining. The receipe was my great grandmothers. Let me know if you're interested.

                          1. re: Thanks4Food

                            Sorry for the late response. I couldn't find the recipe (even though I know most of it by memory), but I have the only written copy in our family. Panic set in until figured out it was in a cookbook I used last year...

                            2 loaves white bread cubed and dried
                            3/4 lbs bacon diced
                            Turkey gizzard, heart and liver (in the bag in the bird)
                            2 onions diced
                            4-5 stalks of celery diced
                            1 stick butter
                            2 cans evaporated milk
                            3 eggs beaten

                            1 TBS Poutry Seasoning
                            1 TBS Sage
                            2 tsp salt
                            1 1/2 tsp pepper

                            Boil turkey gizzard, liver and heart about 30 mins. Put into blender with 1/4 cup of juice from boil. Blend until puréed and set aside.

                            Cook diced bacon until brown and crisp. Remove bacon and leave fat (you should have about 1/3 cup fat). Add butter to bacon fat, then add onions and celery. Cook onion and celery until translucent and soft. Let bacon and onion mixture cool.

                            Sprinkle evaporated milk over bread cubes and work into the bread with your hands. You want it very moist, but not sloppy - depending how dry the bread is, it may require another half of a can of evaporated milk. Once the milk is incorporated add beaten eggs, then the seasonings, gizzard mixture, bacon and onion mixture. Mix until well combined.

                            Cook in glass at 300° 35-45mins
                            Metal pan 325°. 35-45 mins
                            Or stuff in the bird.

                            We make this the morning before Thanksgiving. It really gets the flavors to meld.

                            Also, this freezes really well uncooked if you want to save some for stuffed pork chops or chicken.

                            1. re: FoodChic

                              FoodChick, is the evaporation milk the small cans or the large cans, please.

                              1. re: Wtg2Retire

                                Wtg2Retire, these are the large 12 oz cans.

                      2. My advise is to do the turkey on the Grill... much easier than you'd think. It also frees up the oven.

                        I've been doing mine this way for nearly 15 years and wouldn't dream of doing it in the oven.

                        See my comments on the string. You'll not regret doing it this way, I promise


                        1. i got raves from some grad school buddies one thanksgiving pot-luck, where i stuffed a butternut squash with sage & cornbread stuffing and cranberries. simple, but a very tasty and pretty presentation. could add some nuts for crunch, like candied pecans (yum). really, the stuffing is up to you. sweet, savory, crunch…those work for me as counterpoints against the squash.

                          removed seeds, made stuffing, put stuffing in seed zone, put in oven around 350 with butter on squash and a splash of wine in the pan for steamy environment. oh, don't forget salt and (use white) pepper. a touch of paprika and cayenne can add a neat twist. cook till tender, maybe ½ hour? (check by inserting knife in squash flesh).

                          i always love a dead-easy corn pudding made with jiffy cornbread mix, and sour cream and canned creamed corn (don't sniff, you snobs!). http://www.cooks.com/recipe/gk3fg0mc/... people LOVE this and, like i said, it could not be simpler.

                          i have made the "tomalita" corn pudding from that tex-mex place, chevy's, but it was only marginally better tasting and a heckuva lot more time and effort. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7141...

                          one year i kept experimenting and made a tamale-like corn casserole for a summer pot luck, but it would be good in place of stuffing at thanksgiving. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5354...


                          confetti corn! http://www.barefootcontessa.com/recip... -- gosh this is scrumptious, and not heavy like some of these other things. LOL.

                          1. Roasted carrot puree. Peeled carrots cut into chunks in a heavy pot. Add chopped onion, butter, and chicken stock (I guess one could use vegetable stock). Cover and roast in the oven for about an hour. The carrots should e fork tender and most of the stock evaporated. Puree with a food mill, stick blender,or processor. Adjust seasoning, S&P. Serve hot.

                            I am sorry I don't have measurements. I just kind of wing it according to how many I need to feed.

                            The roasting brings out the sweetness of the carrots. People are usually expecting it to be squash or sweet potatoes and are pleasantly surprised when they get their first taste.

                            I was thinking about this dish last week and was wondering how that might translate to a creamy carrot soup. I am going to give it a try.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Candy

                              I start my carrot soup in a similar way, but using olive oil instead of butter. I add curry powder and coconut milk for one version and thyme and white beans in another

                            2. Do me a favor. Just make these three recipes and don't weep at the first bite because seriously, these recipes are the best!! Will make everyone weep at your Thanksgiving table. I've tried a lot of recipes and alot of them are excellent but after discovering these recipes, I never look back. Everyone at the table literally had turkey induced orgasm. so good.



                              1. I have passed this recipe around for years and everyone loves this. You can serve it at any temperature.

                                Squash Kugel
                                16 ounce) package frozen butternut squash, cubed
                                1/2 cup margarine
                                1 cup all-purpose flour
                                3 eggs
                                3/4 cup white sugar
                                1/2 cup non-dairy creamer
                                ground cinnamon, for dusting

                                Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
                                Mash the margarine into the butternut squash in a large bowl. Whisk together the flour, eggs, sugar, and non-dairy creamer in a separate bowl. Stir flour mixture into the butternut squash. Spread mixture into a 9x13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake about 1 hour until squash is a bit jiggly but still holds together.

                                1. This recipe was recommended by someone here on CH a few years ago, and it's been a huge hit at my Thanksgivings ever since:

                                  CRANBERRY COMPOTE WITH PORT & DRIED FIGS

                                  1 2/3 cups ruby Port
                                  ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
                                  ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
                                  8 dried black Mission figs, stemmed and chopped into ¼-inch pieces
                                  1 6-inch-long sprig fresh rosemary
                                  ¼ t. ground black pepper
                                  12 ounces fresh cranberries
                                  ¾ cup granulated sugar

                                  • Combine first six ingredients in medium saucepan.
                                  • Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.
                                  • Mix in cranberries and granulated sugar.
                                  • Cook over medium heat until liquid is slightly reduced and berries burst, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.
                                  • Cool. Discard rosemary.
                                  • Transfer sauce to bowl; chill until cold.

                                  Makes 10-12 side servings.

                                  Note: Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.

                                  Adapted from Bon Appétit (November 2001).

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: aching

                                    That was probably me - that's the recipe I have used for the last 8 years or so and it is THE BEST cranberry sauce ever. I recommend it to everyone - the only suggestion I make it to reduce the amount of port to 1 1/4 cups. It's marvelous.

                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                      I think it WAS you - so thank you again! I've always done the full amount of port and I love it boozy. My change was to reduce the sugar - I can't remember for sure, but I think the original recipe called for 1 cup of granulated.

                                      1. re: aching

                                        Oh yeah, I usually reduce the sugar a bit - it really depends on the cranberries year to year. As for the port, I only reduce it because I like it a little thicker - I love the booze!!! In fact, I sometime add Grand Mariner!

                                  2. I have a great sweet potato gratin with smoked paprika and cayenne that gets rave reviews every year. Also a spiced cranberry sauce with oranges, pecans and port.

                                    1. We made this once on a whim (altered from the original to our tastes) and have been making it ever since. The actual amounts of the spices, sugar, coconut, etc. vary freely according to the phases of the moon or our moods. :)

                                      Old School/New School Sweet Potatoes
                                      (modified from???)

                                      2–2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (a mix of Garnet and Japanese is nice)
1/4 teaspoon salt 

                                      1 tablespoon brown sugar or to taste
1 tablespoon butter, more for the baking dish 

                                      1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 

                                      1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 

                                      1/2 cup coconut milk 

                                      1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut 

                                      Optional: 1 cup all-natural marshmallows, cut into small pieces if large

                                      Butter a 2-quart baking dish. 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Scrub the sweet potatoes and boil or steam until very tender. Remove from heat and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel the sweet potatoes. 

Put them in a bowl and mash with salt, brown sugar, butter, ginger, cardamom, and coconut milk until very smooth. Spoon mixture into baking dish. Top with coconut and marshmallows. Bake until marshmallows and coconut are lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.