Pork roast w/ fig wild rice stuffing - Sides?
My family is planning on serving a crown roast of pork with wilde rice and fig stuffing as our Christmas centerpiece.
We've always done beef, and we're serving a much larger group than usual, so we're a little lost for side dishes. We'll serve popovers, but we're wondering about vegetables. We want something crisp (green beans came up but don't seem super special/elegant) and something a little more cooked (squash puree? root veg gratin?). Let me know if you have suggestions!
The other, less major question in a fatty element for the stuffing. We want to do dried figs reconstituted in red wine, wild rice and caramelized onions. We also want a fatty/salty/pungent element in there. Gorgonzola cheese and pancetta both came up, but both got shot down as there are people who don't eat them. Any other ideas? Goat cheese seems a little too tart, but maybe some other cheese? Smoked mozz? Met me know if you have ideas.
While not "super special and end elegant" I thing green beans (haricot vert) almondine with fried shallots could be very nice. Bright green and with a nice crunch.
I also think simple roasted root veggies would be nice. Beets, yams, butternut squash. parsnips, carrots, onions and garlic tossed with olive oil and roasted until tender and caramelized. Sprinkle with fresh thyme.
Puree of squash or mashed sweet potatoes or glazed carrots would all go well with the pork.
I'd want brussels sprouts--roasted at high heat to both caramelize and retain some crunch. Asparagus are out of season, but my family would still love them. Or you could go with a fresh spinach salad.
I personally wouldn't want cheese in wild rice stuffing (yours sounds divine as is), but maybe some nuts (pistachios, pine nuts, walnuts, pecans--all sound good with the figs). Too bad you have pancetta objectors: toasty little nubs of pancetta sounds great in that mix.
What about sausage in the stuffing? I blanched the green beans and then did a zingy vinagrette. Served them chilled with toasted walnuts and a crumbling of blue cheese and it was so nice to have that crisp cold item with the heavier dishes. Also for sweetness and color maybe the glazed carrots or the sweet potato puree that nomadchowwoman suggested would be tasty.